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Apr 16

Spotify Spotlight 11: Anjunabeats

If trance is something you're interested in, consider the Anjunabeats label your holy grail.

In this week's Spotify Spotlight, we cover the label whose name has become synonymous with trance music, and for great reason. Created by members of Above & Beyond, Anjunabeats has become a breeding ground for up-and-coming producers such as Audien and Maor Levi while also providing an outlet for more established producers like Mat Zo and Arty.

This week's playlist includes a collection of several of the most recent releases on the label. Listen to the playlist on Spotify here, or in the player below.

Mar 19

‘You Got To Believe’ In Above & Beyond And Arty

Feb 26

‘Hello’ Again From Above & Beyond

Anjunabeats has reached its 300th release and the honour, of course, goes to label founders Above & Beyond. Fresh off the back of several months working on their Acoustic project, their return to full on dance music is everything you’d expect, and a little more.

Hello starts with the Above & Beyond style we've come to know of late--dirty, bouncy and stompy, big room electro trance--whatever you want to call it, it’s certainly designed with clubs in mind, and it works very well. But as the bassline fades away, there’s something quite special in store, as we're treated to some classic Above & Beyond. It’s an almost purposefully nostalgic moment, which points not just at their roots in uplifting trance, but also the roots of the genre itself. The huge chord stabs are like snapshots of the style they became famous for and along with the Café Del Mar-style muted arpeggio line, the whole break is a strong reminder that trance is still very much at the forefront of what they do. A rolling bassline, which itself has an almost ‘90s feel to it, leads into the drop--groovy, techy, and with a touch of Andrew Bayer about it--bringing things right back to the present.

Hello is out now and makes it clear that although Above & Beyond are currently the masters of big room trance, they’ll never stray too far from the uplifting style that is so strongly laced throughout their past.
Above & Beyond - Hello (Original Mix) [Anjunabeats]
Feb 07

Above & Beyond To Hit London This Summer

Jan 29

Above & Beyond Acoustic Album Released

From the initial London show announcements right through to the Jan. 24 premiere of the official film, the Above & Beyond acoustic project has been hotly anticipated for months on end. A radical departure from their usual output, the project was initially shrouded in mystery--word of what it sounded like when one of the world’s biggest EDM acts went “unplugged” was initially spread through word of mouth, exclusively from those lucky enough to see it live--and as the project was slowly revealed to the world, demand became even higher. Now, the full majesty of Above & Beyond Acoustic is available for all, as the project culminates with the release of the full live album.

Despite the fact it's been clear for some time that this isn't just Above & Beyond with a guitar and a piano, the reality is that most people, even those very familiar with the trio’s work, are stunned when they first hear the style on offer here. Backed by a 15-piece band, these versions of 12 of their greatest hits range from vaguely familiar to astoundingly different. Orchestral arrangements are nothing new for the trio, with film-soundtrack qualities running through various tracks going right back to their debut album Tri State, but you've never heard anything quite like the James Bond-esque arrangement of Alone Tonight, or the emotional and uplifting version of Good For Me.

The album hints at jazz on occasion, notably in You Got To Go, but it’s largely soaring orchestral strings, passionate guitars, simple piano lines, and soulful percussion. It’s often the small changes that have the most profound effect-- Good For Me moved people to tears during the live performances, and despite not being a massive departure from the original, it’s easy to understand why once you hear the version on offer here.

Mostly though, Above & Beyond Acoustic is subtle, careful, and meaningful musicianship from a group who always wrote “songs” before they made them into dance records, and who were clearly keen to show a hidden side to their work. It was always there, often threatening to show itself, just simply waiting for the right time. It was also clear from the off that even the group members themselves weren't sure how it would be received, but the overwhelming response means it stands out as one of their greatest achievements, and one they should be very proud of.

Above & Beyond Acoustic is out now on iTunes, already hitting the #1 spot in the US dance chart, with the full live film still streaming and a full DVD release available on Feb. 10.
Above & Beyond - Alone Tonight (Acoustic Version) [Anjunabeats]
Above & Beyond - Good For Me (Acoustic Version) [Anjunabeats]
Above & Beyond - On A Good Day (Acoustic Version) [Anjunabeats]