Gunter Schwaiger’s “Ibiza Occident: 9 1/2 Music Stories” takes a diverting if not particularly deep peek behind the inebriative surface dazzle of the island of Ibiza, Europe’s longtime party capital, offering different takes on paradise as occupation, lifestyle, creative passion and big business. Colorful package should particularly appeal to programmers slanted toward dance/club culture and vacation hot-spots, with TV and download the likeliest markets.
While nothing onscreen explains what that “half” is, each subject is given a segment of his or her own; together the stories run the gamut of the location’s excesses. Testifying to the island’s decades-spanning popularity are famed DJ Alfredo, still in demand in his 60s, though he decries a scene turned “less romantic, more materialistic;” and wealthy impresario Ricardo Urgell, who’s been “selling parties and fun” via his nightclub franchise Pacha Group since 1973. Fellow island veteran Manel Aragones has seen Ibiza’s shifting cultural tides from days when it was “an escape valve from the Franco regime.”
Mike and Claire Manumission, founders-creators-performers for the long-running, now-defunct Manumission parties that aimed for new heights of orgiastic spectacle, are likewise still in Ibiza but pursuing less satiating avenues of expression. One sort of cast member they might once have hired as stage adornment is sax player Lovely Laura; ditto the team of music producer Arian Beheshti and vocalist Nuwella Love.
Spaniard Cristian Varela is atop the DJ universe, and quite aware that his globe-trotting career requires his being marketed as a brand by a personal army of managers, publicists, et al. Much farther down the monetary food chain is former Berlin busker Rico Diessner, a one-man band using a loop machine to sample himself and create clever performances at private parties.
Last up is Alvaro Sanchez Cocero, an Ibiza native who voices mixed feelings about the overwhelming impact of ever-escalating tourism and the island’s exploding resident population. More of this perspective would have been welcome, as it offers a fleeting glimpse of an Ibiza almost wholly separate from the nonstop visitors’ bacchanalia — suggesting there are documentaries crying to be made about the island’s service industries and personnel, as well as one providing a historical overview of its changing clientele from exclusive jet-set days to the cheap-ticket era of ravers barfing on the beach.
Packaging is sleek and pretty, dominated by the vivid hues of club lighting and the gorgeousness of still relatively pristine natural landscapes.