Any fan of trance music and dance music in general should now by know the name Above & Beyond, especially this year, with such hits like "Can't Sleep" which happens to have an awesome remix by my favorite DJ, ATB. Above & Beyond also garnered six nominations at this year's International Dance Music Awards in Miami while their original album release this past year has been considered one of the standout electronic albums of 2006. Jona Grant, Tony McGuiness, and Paavo Siljmaki are also known for their amazing skills at mixing and recognizing new talent, so it only made sense for them to create their own label which is called Anjuna. The past few years they have put out a series of mix compilations including Anjuna labelmates not only to promote established acts but to introduce the bright new stars that show potential. Their latest release in this series is Anjunabeats Volume 4.
Anjunabeats Volume 4 is the latest edition of the Anjunabeats popular compilation series and an illustration of the depth of talent on the label. The mix features new tracks from established Anjuna artists such as Smith & Pledger, Super8 + DJ Tab, and Mike Koglin, as well as Above & Beyond themselves. There is also a chance to hear some of the label's newest artists, including Luminary, Basic Perspective, and the genre-defying Boom Jinx. Tracks like the grungy and industrial 'Helsinki Scorching' from Super 8 + DJ Tab, Luminary's sublime 'Amsterdam', Nitrous Oxide 'North Pole,' and the new Above & Beyond single 'Can't Sleep,' are already well on the way to establishing themselves as club anthems. The compilation also offers a glimpse of Anjuna's future releases including brand-new singles from Smith & Pledger, Super8, Maor Levi, Signalrunners, Daniel Kandi and the massive, electro-tinged '5' from Aalto.
My favorite tracks on this series are "Helsinki Scorching" from Super 8 + DJ Tab, "Can't Sleep" by Above & Beyond, and "Illumina" from Maor Levi. "Helsinki Scorching" and "Illumina" conjures up images of dancing in the cool enchanted areas of Scandinavia with their intoxicating sounds and crunching beats, while "Can't Sleep" is like a pure shot of adrenaline that keeps you tearing up the dance floor with Maori providing a brilliant driving trance remix. Ashley Tomberlin, who does the vocals for "Can't Sleep," also does the vocals for Luminary including the track "Amsterdam" on this compilation which is another great vocal trance track.
There really isn't a bad track on this compilation but the weakest one happens to be the beginning track, "Small Step on the Other Side" by Basic Perspective. While this track is a nice classy prog-driven opener with its rolling beats and gentle floating melody, it seems a bit out of place among the other tracks that are offered like "5" by Super8 & P.O.S presented as Aalto. "5" is a throbbing techno trance affair with a massive electro bassline. The ending though definitely doesn't lack anything since the compilation finishes up with three massive up lifters including the Super8 production, "Get Off" which is definitely a club pounder.
Anjunabeats Volume 4 is definitely a great listen with its great song selection and how well it is paced and perfectly mixed. While it tends to be straightforward mostly in its theme, it's still a great representation of excellent trance and the art of trance today. Not only does this compilation prove the capabilities of Above & Beyond providing a great mix but it also shows the amazing talent that is located on the Anjuna label. Definitely make sure and go out and get this cd if you haven't already . . . you will be glad that you did.