Above & Beyond return with the spectacular Anjunabeats Volume 14, featuring music from a vast array of producers in the Anjunabeats and Anjunadeep universe.
At long last, the wait is over – Anjunabeats Volume 14, the latest installment in Above & Beyond‘s compilation series, is finally out everywhere. Featuring 34 tracks by producers that span the breadth and depth of the Anjunafamily, Anjunabeats Volume 14 was compiled on the road and in the trio’s London recording studio as they toured in support of their newest album, Common Ground.
The compilation brings together music from some of the best that Anjunabeats and Anjunadeep have to offer, including Andrew Bayer, Ilan Bluestone, Spencer Brown, Genix, and many more. It also includes a handful of brand new tunes from Above & Beyond themselves, which are sure to make an appearance in their sets on their upcoming tour and at the Group Therapy Weekender slated to take place at the end of July.
As devoted followers of all things Anjuna, we couldn’t wait to get our hands on the newest compilation and give you our thoughts. So, grab a good pair of headphones and press play – and read on for more opinions on the compilation below!
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The compilation begins with “Isn’t it Lovely” by the supremely talented Matt Lange.
Soft piano chords give way to the gentle beat of a drum and powerful, sweeping strings that seem to paint the colors of the sunrise across the sky. Lange deftly teases the next track before picking up the tempo and leading us through his cerebral take on Above & Beyond’s “Is It Love” from their Common Ground album. This version is so good that I like it even better than the original; something about the way Lange fuses those modulated chords and Jono Grant’s haunting, vulnerable vocal packs an emotional punch that is totally unexpected and extremely satisfying.
From there, we move into Dave DK’s remix of Andrew Bayer’s “In My Last Life” from his album of the same name, and I admit, I thought I’d heard enough remixes of this one to last me until my next life… until I heard this one. It’s beautiful, radiant, and filled with endless sunshine. We follow that ray of light to Nox Vahn and Marsh’s aptly named “Follow Me,” featuring the seraphic vocals of Mimi Page. And this track is a euphoric masterpiece – deceptively complex, layer upon brilliant layer propelling the listener ever heavenward, higher and higher into the sky.
The transition into Proff’s “For The Night” plunges us immediately into darkness for the first real vocal track on the compilation.
EKSF’s vocal is a bit pop-oriented for my taste, but the darker element is a nice transition from the first few tracks and “For The Night” has a great vibe. Spencer Brown & Qrion’s “Foggy August” continues down that shadowy path, combining an assertive piano melody with some unusual rhythmic elements for a jaunty slice of progressive that embodies everything we’ve come to expect from the pair.
The middle of the first album is where things start to get really interesting with a pair of spectacular remixes by none other than our boys Tinlicker, who have continued to assert themselves as a pair of truly outstanding producers in their own right. Their take on fan-favorite “Always” lends a shimmering, effusive quality to an original that was already full to the brim with emotion. But it’s their remix of Reflekt’s 2004 club classic “Need To Feel Loved” that is the true standout. Here, the duo masterfully recalibrates the original for maximum emotional impact, bringing that gorgeous string sample and delline bass’s incredible voice front and center, just as they were always meant to be.
Next up is “Before The Dawn,” a new one from ALPHA 9.
“Before The Dawn” features the powerful vocals of Kameron Alexander over glittering arpeggios that call to mind endless fields of stars. We remain in that dark place for “Stay,” a formidable production from Grum that’s all massive chords and huge, electrifying synths. Paired up with a sensual vocal from an as-yet-unnamed vocalist, this one is bound to be a staple in many a festival set this summer.
Kyau & Albert take a turn with “You Are All,” which is a fairly standard club track with some pretty Kyau & Albert feels. Judah’s “Misdirection” goes a shade darker, filling our ears with minor key arpeggios before kicking it into high gear for a banger of a track. They’re both perfectly fine tunes, but truthfully, neither does all that much for me.
We then transition perfectly into the darker, nighttime-oriented feel of Above & Beyond’s Club Mix of “Cold Feet” featuring Justine Suissa. The club mix is exceptionally well-rendered and adds an element of tension that the original just didn’t have, making it an exciting addition to the trio’s arsenal of club weapons that I can’t wait to hear played out live.
Sunny Lax’s “Moonlight” puts a melodic twist on things, pulling us into a gentle piano interlude midway through the track before giving us a few solid minutes of pure hands-in-the-air bliss.
But it’s Genix’s “Boom Box” that is the real surprise in these last few moments of the first disc; old-school synth chords and rolling rhythms unite for a pulse-pounding heater that sounds completely different from anything else on the compilation.
We come to the end of the first disc with the glorious, sweeping melodies of Andrew Bayer’s “Magitek,” which is arguably one of my favorite tracks on the entire compilation. Combining perfect, heart-rending melodies with driving percussion and bass, it’s representative of the very best that Bayer has to offer; he is truly in a class all his own. Not to be outdone, Maor Levi makes his return with “Disconnect,” a tune that absolutely crackles with electricity from the first chord to the last, with a solid groove that will leave you hungry for more.
In the second half, we’re treated to an abundance of new Above & Beyond tracks and updates of some of our favorite classics.
The first of these is the breathtaking Hong Kong Intro version of “Liquid Love.” “Liquid Love” has been one of my favorite Above & Beyond tracks since basically forever, and this edit is complete and absolute perfection from start to finish. They follow it up with the poignant melodies of “Long Way From Home,” their 2018 collaboration with Spencer Brown that is just magic, pure and simple.
But it’s the driving force of “Hideaway” that makes us sit up and take notice, bringing us one of the hardest-hitting new Above & Beyond tracks in recent memory. Pairing an epic synth melody with massive, open chords and a booming bassline, the trio scores a major win with this release – it may honestly be my favorite from them in several years.
We get another dose of uplift with the stunning “All In,” the collaboration between Fatum, Genix, Jaytech, and Judah.
It’s cohesive, energetic, and contains an absolutely lovely message, perfectly combining the talents of four of Anjuna’s most solid producers. And then, we’re transported to another plane of existence with the club mix of “There’s Only You,” which takes those incredible Zoë Johnston vocals and dials up the energy for one of those perfect Above & Beyond club tracks – minor key, big chords, palpable tension, and a massive payoff.
“Curiosity” is up next and provides a much-needed shot of Oliver Smith’s thoughtful production style, as well as showcasing arguably one of the best grooves on the entire compilation. And then they throw it way back with a remix of “Volume One” by none other than Sunny Lax, which, for the uninitiated, is the first track the trio released in 2000 under the moniker “Anjunabeats.” Sunny Lax’s remix gives the track a perfect update, bringing it into the modern era for a whole new generation of fans to enjoy.
As we hit the middle of the second disc, things just keep heating up.
Nowhere is that more apparent than with a set of tunes from three of Anjunabeats’ biggest stars: Jason Ross’s club mix of “IOU” from his excellent Rooms EP, Andrew Bayer’s 80’s-influenced “Eight To Sixteen,” and Ilan Bluestone’s splendid “We Are The Universe” featuring EL Waves. Once again, Bayer takes it with the rippling synths and nonstop energy – I just cannot get enough of this track.
As we delve into Above & Beyond’s Gorge Update of “Alone Tonight,” I’m immediately transported back to that cool September evening two years ago where we first gathered together in Washington State for ABGT 250. I’m thrilled that this track got an official release. It transitions smoothly into another new Above & Beyond tune, “Anjunafamily,” which is yet another trance heater representative of the trio’s signature style. After a somewhat sleepy outing on Common Ground, it’s nice to see them putting out some music that gets the blood pumping again.
i_o’s remix of “Alchemy” swept me off my feet the first time I heard it, and the effect is not at all diminished with further listening.
Its pounding rhythms and dark effects are perfectly at home here, melding with the minor key tonality that Above & Beyond have so often favored when they’re at their best. With “Prelude 2019,” we get a glowy update of the original – though, honestly, I’m not really sure this one needed it. It was perfect to start with.
As we near the end of the compilation, the boys’ massive collaboration with Armin van Buuren, “Show Me Love,” takes center stage, and although I was initially skeptical, I was wrong to be. “Show Me Love” is the perfect vehicle to showcase the sheer power of these four producers, and bringing them together was a brilliant move, indeed.
I was surprised to see a Genix track in the final two, but after listening to “Open Your Eyes,” it makes total sense as to why it’s placed here – it’s a stunner, and it carries through its soaring chord progressions and rhythmic arpeggios an emotional weight that will sneak up on you if you’re not paying attention. And in the last five minutes, we get a minor rework of the fantastic “Distorted Truth,” another recent release that illustrates Above & Beyond’s absolute mastery in the studio.
So what did we think of Anjunabeats Volume 14? It is, in a word, transcendent – a shining example of everything that makes Above & Beyond so unbelievably fucking good.
With over two dozen tracks to sink our teeth into and two expertly mixed discs of nonstop Anjuna goodness, I have no doubt that this one will be on repeat for many of us in the weeks and months ahead. After cooling it down for Common Ground, it’s nice to see the trio heat it back up in spectacular fashion on this compilation – which is probably my favorite yet.
What did you think of Anjunabeats Volume 14? Let us know in the comments!
Anjunabeats Volume 14 Tracklist:
- Matt Lange – Isn’t It Lovely
- Above & Beyond – Is It Love? (Matt Lange Remix)
- Andrew Bayer feat. Alison – May In My Last Life (Dave DK Remix)
- Nox Vahn & Marsh feat. Mimi Page – Follow Me
- PROFF & EKSF – For The Night
- Spencer Brown & Qrion – Foggy August
- Above & Beyond feat. Zoë Johnston – Always (Tinlicker Remix)
- Reflekt feat. Delline Bass – Need To Feel Loved (Tinlicker Remix)
- ALPHA 9 – Before The Dawn
- GRUM – Stay
- Kyau & Albert – You Are All
- Judah – Misdirection
- Above & Beyond & Justine Suissa – Cold Feet (Above & Beyond Club Mix)
- Sunny Lax – Moonlight
- Genix – Boom Box
- Andrew Bayer – Magitek
- Maor Levi – Disconnect
- Above & Beyond – Liquid Love (Above & Beyond’s Hong Kong Intro Mix)
- Above & Beyond and Spencer Brown feat. RBBTS – Long Way From Home
- Above & Beyond – Hideaway
- Fatum, Genix, Jaytech & Judah – All In
- Above & Beyond feat. Zoë Johnston – There’s Only You (Above & Beyond Club Mix)
- Oliver Smith – Curiosity
- Anjunabeats – Volume One (Sunny Lax Remix)
- Jason Ross feat. Emilie Brandt – IOU (Jason Ross Club Mix)
- Andrew Bayer – Eight To Sixteen
- ilan Bluestone feat. EL Waves – We Are The Universe
- Above & Beyond – Alone Tonight (Above & Beyond’s Gorge Update)
- Above & Beyond – Anjunafamily
- Above & Beyond feat. Zoë Johnston – Alchemy (i_o Remix)
- Above & Beyond – Prelude 2019
- Above & Beyond and Armin van Buuren – Show Me Love
- Genix – Open Your Eyes
- Above & Beyond – Distorted Truth (Volume 14 Outro Mix)