Album Review: Anjunadeep 06

*written by Shimmy for Electronica Life

In this day and age of artists more concerned with releasing their next single, to be able to sit down and listen (actually more like groove) to an entire album where each track has been carefully selected and purposefully mixed was quite enjoyable. While I can’t say I can truly make a decision whether or not I love an album after listening to it for just one week, my knee jerk reaction to the recently released Anjunadeep 06 is that it may be my favorite compilation from the Anjunabeats sub-label.

Similar to Anjunadeep 05, the same two artists teams up to mix Anjunadeep 06; except rather than doing a portion of the album apiece, they team up to do magically mix it all. And it works. Although James Grant also manages his brother’s trance group Above & Beyond and Jody Wisternoff is busy working on his new album with Way Out West, they both spent the time to meticulously join together the compilation in a way that takes the listener through a musical journey that is soulful, deep, and somewhat progressive.

The two cd album has already hit #1 on the iTunes dance chart and rightfully so. The more I listen to each of the 31 tracks, the more I find myself wishing that summer wasn’t ending. Soaking up the sun with the rythmic basslines and intoxicating melodies of Anjunadeep 06 sounds like every house head’s dream.

The 1st cd of the album starts off with Croquet Club’s “Only You Can Tell.” A bit slow and ambient, but not uncommon from an opener. It could have been placed later in the mix just as well since I tend to prefer more instrumentals in intros. However, the vocals in the next track “Open Frontier” are catchy and work well. I just wish it ONLY had female vocals in it, but overall, it does start to get my feet tapping. “Soul Chords” is a transitional track for me, but more from Cubicolor later in this review. Steve Huerta does it right with “Say It Wasn’t.” Gorgeous track with subtle vocals. Very vibey.  Wisternoff’s first contribution is his remix of Danalog’s “Click, Search” which is organic and beautiful. It has a chill tempo and for some reason just makes me want to smile. “If He Runs” might grow on me in the future, but I do find the vocals to be a little unnecessary on this somewhat generic deep house track. The production quality for Cubicolor’s second track in the compilation “Still Linger In My Dreams” is just quality. It’s melodic, cinematic, and infectious. Vocals from Gladys Knight make up a portion of Lane 8’s “Without You” which don’t work as well as the vocals in his subsequent track “Diamonds.” Powerful basslines complemented by intoxicating percussions make this one for the dancefloor. Infectious, repetitive vocals make 16 Bit Lolitas song “Deep In My Soul” one of my favorites. I catch myself humming the lyrics to myself all the time! Progressive, bassy, and deep make “I Wanna Know” a very dirty, dirty track. Dusky’s contribution “4T4” is groovy but for some reason for me, slightly forgettable. Martin Roth resurrects himself with “Maya,” a dark techno journey that I’m happy to take. “Crash Reel” brings back more vocals, but I’m not sure if they properly piece together the bells and bassline. Despite the abrupt transition, “Premium Emo” works well as the finale on the 1st cd. Positive & vibey, this chill, melodic track is a success.

Disc 2 definitely has a better flow to it, but is a mixed bag. Starts off with Croquet Club again, but his remix of Aquilo’s “Part Of Your Life.” Definitely groovy at times, but I hear slight undertones of indie rock as well. Three producers got in the studio to remix the next track “Hollow Talk” by Choir of Young Believers. The original is the theme song for a Scandivanian drama, but Wisternoff, Grant and Lane 8 upgraded this version with warm and infectious beats. Pete Tong has called Cubicolor’s 3rd installment on this compilation, “Got This Feeling” the “song of the summer.” It is very deep and I completely agree that is gives off a summer vibe. With catchy lyrics, “Feel The Fire,” by the female duo Eli & Fur, takes you through an edgier journey over a techy melody. I was a fan of the way Dave Angel’s “Quartz” started with it’s bass heavy beginning, but then the repetitive female slow burp halfway through the track ruined it for me. “Take Me Home” features a garage and funk sound with vocals that compliment well. I’m still undecided on this song, but it may be a grower. “Givin’ It Up” has gotten an edit with retro and funky beats, but definitely sounds like a live recording. I found nothing special with Stimming’s remix of HVOB’s “Lion.” I wouldn’t say I don’t like it, but I’m somewhat disinterested. Jody and James add their own deep tweaks to the originally progressive track “Another Tone.” It’s quite refreshing after several slower tunes. However, “My Love” by Shur-i-kan gives the ears a vintage vibe, but just like the title, not much uniqueness in this one. The piano in “Rebound” is highlight of the track, unfortunately, there is not much else. Conversely, there is a lot going on in Meramek & Tropixx’ “Only You.” Between the vocal hook and the beautiful melody, not much negative can be said about this dance floor hit. Lots of layers to be found in Jody’s track “Paramour,” with when combined with his 2 minute breakdown gives the listener an old school ride that lasts just a tad too long. There is a definite classic sound to Leftwing & Kody’s “Tell Me.” A little progressive and surging bassline make this vocal track memorable to me. The sexiest track of the compilation goes to Universal Solution’s “Bandur.” May your ears take you on a sultry ride. If I was to close my ears and imagine what outro I would close this album with it would have to be this beautiful version of “Only The Winds.” It takes me to my happy place.

I enjoyed the journey of Anjunadeep 06 and do not see the label or compilation series slowing down anytime soon. Besides deep house growing in popularity year after year and gaining momentum in more than just transformational festivals, the genre itself is becoming more prevalent. At TomorrowWorld at the end of the month, Anjunadeep will be hosting it’s own stage where you’ll be able to catch several label favorites. More companies are opening up their own “deep” sub-label as an answer to the number of artists the genre continues to produce, and from all of us in the electronic music community, we are more than happy to listen.

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