Gabriel & Dresden – Falling Forward (feat. Sub Teal) [Qrion’s Ambient Intro Mix]
Durante & HANA – 13 Voices
Marsh – Lost in You
Le Youth – Arizona
Jordin Post – I Know You
gardenstate – By Your Side
Super8 & Tab – Irufushi (Marsh Remix)
Spada – Part of Me
Kyau & Albert – Beehive
Tinlicker – Sleepwalker
Frost – Overtones (Proff Remix)
Jerome Isma-Ae & Milkwish – No Time to Wait (Milkwish 4am Mix)
Spencer Brown & ALPHA 9 – Ariel
gardenstate – Surreal
Above & Beyond pres. Tranquility Base – Oceanic (Jerome Isma-Ae Remix)
Mat Zo – Problems (feat. Olan)
ALPHA 9 – Time Traveller
Above & Beyond – I Saw Good
Above & Beyond – Reverie (feat. Zoë Johnston) [Above & Beyond Club Mix]
Mat Zo – Petrushka
Gabriel & Dresden – Something Bigger (feat. Sub Teal) [Elevven Remix]
ALPHA 9 & Muvy – Friend
Grum & Genix – The Light
Above & Beyond – Jam
Andrew Bayer & Genix – The Test
Oliver Smith – Sacrifice
Cosmic Gate & Andrew Bayer – The Launch
Jason Ross – The Accord
Above & Beyond – Bittersweet & Blue (feat. Richard Bedford) [Above & Beyond Club Mix]
Above & Beyond – Crash
Elysian – Water
Sunny Lax – The Fountain
Above & Beyond – Diving Out Of Love
Above & Beyond – Sun in Your Eyes (Sunny Lax Remix)
Celebrating 20 years of great music, Anjunabeats Vol 15 marks a celebratory turning point for the Anjuna label. With some excellent DJs and producers under its belt, and an equally impressive Anjunadeep line-up, Anjunabeats Vol. 15 certainly makes a case for itself as one of the best compilation mixes to come from the studio. Given the lack of live music around the world for obvious reasons, Anjunabeats 15 is a smooth, celebratory musical journey that’s sonically very impressive as it twists and turns through a variety of different musical styles.
Disk 1 is near perfection. The entire first half of the mix feels like a warm-up set, with Qrion’s Ambient Mix of “Falling Forward” a great starting point. The subsequent three tracks after that are all competently mixed and lean into that aforementioned Anjunadeep sound. It’s great to see some that here and Marsh’s “Lost In You” in particular is a dreamy, melodic track that builds nicely into “Arizona”. From here, the album takes an abrupt and surprisingly effective turn away from the ambient and atmospheric sounds into more synth-driven compositions.
“Sleepwalker” by Tinlicker works surprisingly well next to the PROFF remix of “Overtones” too, which re-edits the track to tease up to those vocal cuts much later. Of course, the original interspersed these throughout so it’s certainly an interesting take on the the original. Spencer Brown’s endless record box of tracks continues with the moody “Ariel”, a collaboration featuring ALPHA 9 that’s easily one of the highlights from the album. All of this builds up to the vocally-charged, moody “Problems” by Mat Zo which closes out for the first disk.
Disk 2 is likely to be the marmite mix of the compilation; you’ll either love it or hate it. There’s been a consistent shift with Anjunabeats over the years to branch out beyond the melodic vocal trance to start bleeding techno into track compositions. We saw it back at Group Therapy 350 with Above & Beyond’s set and the acquisition of Genix onto this label is a further sign of this diversification. Much like in previous Anjunabeat Volumes, the second disk is made up of Above & Beyond originals but interspersed with various different hands-in-the-air tracks from different artists.
Due to the overwhelming number of big anthems, sometimes the placement doesn’t always work. “Reverie” is a beautiful track that leans heavily on Zoe Johnston’s gorgeous vocals but it also takes a while to build up. This is a particular problem given it comes straight off the back of a hands-in-the-air anthem in “I Saw Good.” This pacing is a problem a lot of the disk has and while there are some notably excellent tracks dotted throughout, some of the mixing does feel quite abrupt too.
Moving from the techno delight “Something Bigger” into “Friend” for example, relies on a cymbal crash and a quick bit of mixing at the end rather than seamlessly beatmatching these together.
These moments occur numerous times throughout the mix but the actual tracks themselves more than make up for this. There are some seriously banging anthems in here and Andrew Bayer’s (can this man do no wrong?) collaboration with Genix, aptly titled “The Test”, is easily one of the strongest on the disk. The euphoric melody of the first half suddenly descends into an all-out techno stomp that’s pure Genix territory.
Oliver Smith’s “Sacrifice” is classic territory for this artist, leaning into the memorable synths to drive the tracks. By comparison, “The Launch” feels like classic 90’s trance with a twist. There’s definitely a feel of the track loosely borrowing synth elements from Faithless’ “Salva Mea” and layering on a thick melodic trance underlay.
Sunny Lax’s “The Fountain” is my personal favourite from the album and it complements the mix perfectly. It arrives toward the end and while simple, the track is no doubt effective with the way it builds up the synth sounds. All of this crescendos into “Sun In Your Eyes” which closes the disk out with another Sunny Lax remix.
Anjunabeats Vol. 15 is a wonderful celebration of this label’s historic 20 years. It’s a compilation that showcases the evolving sound of Anjunabeats and does so with two excellent disks of music. While the second mix may be polarizing for some people, it works well to highlight the more main-stage feel of the label. The first disk is undoubtedly excellent though and there’s so many great tunes to choose from across both disks. In a year where live music feels like a distant memory, Anjunabeats 15 is the perfect accompanying piece to set your Summer off right.
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Verdict - 8.5/10