Jose Padilla 1955 – 2020. The passing of Jose Padilla will mark a turning point in Ibiza, the end of an era ushered on by a global pandemic and marked by the passing of some of its most beloved protagonists. There are few figures who encapsulate the Balearic spirit of the era as Padilla has with his music. It’s fair to say he carved out a genre of his own with the legendary Cafe Del Mar compilations he curated, transporting the essence of his sunset soundtracks to millions of people the world over, he is credited as the creator of Chill Out. The compilations he curated were the biggest export of music from Ibiza in its time and his contribution was instrumental in the construct of what we know today as the Balearic sound.
1995. Jose Padilla was asked to “Define Balearic”
“Balearic is not a kind of music, it’s a way of life. It’s the freedom to play whatever you want so long as you play proficiently. People listen to a track with guitar on it and say ‘this is Balearic’ when it’s not, it’s just a track with a guitar on it. Balearic is just the spirit of Ibiza. DJs used to play here seven or eight hours a night and have the freedom to play anything they wanted from rock to house”
“This was a very emotional show to make as it was recorded only 3 days after Jose passed away but I couldn’t have done anything else . The mix includes some of Jose’s own productions and collaborations , some of his favourite music by other artists and a half hour selection from two mixes he made for me around 10 years ago . I hope it will make you smile and maybe cry a bit too . Adios Maestro”
NuNorthern Soul LIVE Ibiza Session, a tribute to Jose!https://www.mixcloud.com/…/nunorthern-soul-sessions…/Tracks and mixes from artists and labels including James Bright, Dario Aiello, HELL YEAH recordings, NuNorthern Soul, Chris Coco, Mike Salta, Private Agenda, A Man Called Adam, Idjut Boys, José Padilla, Stones Throw Records, SAULT, Andrew Ashong & Kaidi Kat Tatham, Cantoma music, Blair French, Rocksteady Disco plus more.
“Earlier in the week I was thinking about Jose and what he’s meant to me personally over the years realising just what an important figure he has been in my life both directly & in-directly through his incredible compilations and the handful of true ‘Balearic’ sonic experiences he afforded me whilst I sat listening to him with my wife Sarah on the rocks outside The Cafe, actually seeing him draw the sun from behind the clouds just in time to let it slip into the sea on more than one occasion was really something to behold. That first year we had returned from a year in India and really were at a loss as to what to do when Darren Hughes suggested we go to Ibiza and look after his business interests there. Now at the time Ibiza was the last thing on our minds as a viable option, I mean, who the fuck wants to go to such a seemingly cheesy place as Ibiza after the freedom on the beach scene in Goa?!? but then we thought what the hell, we’d always enjoyed the Cafe Del Mar compilations so there was always that to check out. A safe haven from the English rabble…or so we thought!
I don’t think that I’ve ever been as underwhelmed before or after as when I first set eyes on the Cafe Del Mar! I had it in my minds eye that it was going to be a wooden hut on a beautiful beach surrounded by chilled beauties. Not a concrete monstrosity surrounded by drug dealing idiots. Feeling a little saddened by the whole experience we decided to get a beer and watch the sunset anyway. We had another beer and started to relax into the place, the sun was still pretty high when Jose arrived. The funky house daytime soundtrack came to an abrupt end, interrupted by music from a film score I no longer remember and the next few hours slipped by in a dreamscape. We were hooked. All of a sudden Ibiza made a certain sense to us and we were able to see through our pre conceptions, relax and enjoy the company of the people we now found ourselves with every night around sunset at The Cafe Del Mar. Over the next two seasons we fell in love with the island and the people we met there (many of whom we had met in Thailand and India during the winters away from the island) and the rest, as they say, is history. We moved to Ibiza made parties for more years than I care to remember, programming the perfect soundtrack for peoples holiday experience. Always with the memory of our first introduction to the Balearic beat at The Cafe Del Mar firmly in our minds.
I am now weekly sunset resident at The Hostel La Torre and have held that residence for the past few years and although I would never consider myself an equal of The Maestro it always put a smile on my face and afforded me a rare feeling of pride when I saw my name next to his on the billing. Imagine.
So I made a little Sunset 4 Jose mix that I think captured my mood yesterday whilst paying a homage to the man himself. Have a listen. I think you’ll like it…it’s slightly melancholic with a light at the end of the tunnel. Non of the tracks featured would have been played by Jose (to my knowledge) as I’m guessing that there will be a shit load of ‘homage’ type mixes coming through in the next couple of weeks. I also know he hated people stealing his style and generally making a fucking pigs ear out of it. Lots of people play his signature tracks. Nobody else sounds like him.
Good night, God bless and thanks for the memories Maestro.”
James Horrocks (React Music Publishing)
“Jose Padilla’s legendary live soundtracking of the sunset as a DJ was perhaps his greatest gift to us. Such a simple task you might think? However, in real time, it is in fact the hardest set to emulate as Jose’s sun-set conveyed so much raw emotion and dark intensity set against the raked over embers of the sun’s final journey transmuting into the breezy balminess of an Ibizencan pre-party and the welcoming of the cool night air at the flick of a switch. Not forgetting the resounding cheer when the lazy sun finally slumbered, taking with it the heat of the day and allowing the nightlife to begin again. From classical music like Pablo Casals’ J.S. Bach to the ambient works of Brian Eno and the timeless movie soundtracks of Vangelis & Ennio Morricone; flamenco, salsa, samba, soul, reggae, trad and jazz-funk; Bowie to The Waterboys & The Cure, Penguin Cafe Orchestra to Sabres of Paradise, Frankie Knuckles to Leftfield & A Man Called Adam, acid jazz, breakbeat hip hop, house and deep techno, with so many barely-known nuggets mixed in-between, terms like chillout and Balearic found their rightful place in the lexicon of beat lovers and mindful music devotees alike. It was a pleasure to be introduced to Jose Padilla by Sheyla Aslan from Logic Records in ’92 and be able to help Jose create and establish the Cafe Del Mar series of compilation albums on our label, React Music (and subsequently Mercury Records), which to my mind are still the most inspired compilation albums since Trojan Records ‘Tighten Up’ ska, rocksteady and reggae compilations of the late 60s & 70s. Furthermore, Jose Padilla helped create and establish a movement of deejays, producers & musicians who spanned the divide between natural, analog and electronic music, whose music could accompany the sunset, dinner or a full moon party and the morning after-party, beach party and pool party. Friends once told us that Cafe Del Mar Volumen Dos was played non-stop for 72-hours at their Ibiza chill out pool party. Anyone can compile a playlist but not many people can deliver a playlist that willl be regarded as a masterpiece and a work of art. Jose lives. Viva Jose Padilla!”
If you would like to read more there is a great interview by Bill Brewster with Jose here.