Anjunadeep:06 – Mixed By James Grant & Jody Wisternoff
Label: Anjunadeep Score: 9/10
Compilations from the Anjuna camp have blossomed into somewhat of an annual highlight, whether you’re a sucker for the bigroom trance of Anjunabeats, a lover of the Anjunadeep shade of progressive and deep house; or otherwise enjoy a bit of both. As the digits clock higher though, maintaining excellence correlates with the labels’ own challenge of staying relevant.
While Anjunabeats Vol. 11 from label bosses Above and Beyond represented the first genuinely lackluster entry for the series, Anjunadeep boss James Grant has yet to stumble; though surely his canny ability to keep evolving Anjunadeep can only last so long? With house music’s myriad twists and turns, it’s like waiting for the inevitable. Except, not this year.
‘Anjunadeep:06’ represents the first time that Grant has mixed both discs together with his offside, rather than separately, with Jody Wisternoff knuckling down with him for a team effort. And it’s evident in the final result. In terms of how cohesively curated the two discs are, it’s possibly the best Anjunadeep yet, with its sound dropping in exactly at that perfect point between deep house, progressive and melodic techno, realized even better than ever.
Both discs offer a similar journey, in terms of starting down low with a collection of deeper, more soulful cuts, before gradually taking things in a more epic direction. What’s most surprising is how much the label’s roster have really stuck their necks out to work with high-quality vocalists, and it really makes for a sumptuous build for the opening act of both discs. If Anjunadeep was traditionally known as a progressive label, there’s a pleasing amount of soul on offer here.
John Monkman’s ‘Open Frontier’ is one of the earlier examples on the first disc, and it’s sumptuous beyond belief, setting the tone for a run up until Lane 8’s twinkly, unabashed ‘rainbow-prog’ vocal anthem Diamonds. This also leads beautifully into a stunning, silky-smooth progressive and deep house fusion from 16Bit Lolitas ‘Deep In My Soul’. There’s some supreme studio talent on display here, gripping your attention as it moves towards the more powerful progressive from Dusky, Martin Roth and Journeyman in the mesmerising final act.
The second mix will be the one to potentially divide Anjunadeep fans, drawing heavily on the future garage aesthetic that blew up big with Disclosure last year. Contributions from Beckworth steer dangerously into pop-house territory; though this limited to the second act, and you can’t fault the execution. There’s another gorgeous slow build to get there, via Cubicolour ‘Got This Feeling’; it’s one of the compilation’s truly divine moments (greeted as such recently by Pete Tong). Things again steer into more euphoric territory for the final stages, before it’s rounded off beautifully with an impossibly mellow, emotional cut from Ryan Davis.
The careful attention given by Grant and Wisternoff in drawing together ‘Anjunadeep 06’ is easy to see. When so many labels choose to release bland unmixed comps, a double-mix prepared with so much care is a proper treasure. The familiar Anjunadeep names have stepped up their game, though the amount of fresh names contributing beautifully-produced tunes says a lot about the label’s A&R skills. Anjunadeep’s golden run remains intact.
Words: Angus Patterson