Review: Anjunadeep 04 (Mixed by James Grant & Jaytech)
Life is full of ups and downs. By the end of Anjunadeep 04, however, it’s clear that the best moments are the ones you wait for. If you really believe that the journey is the destination, then this is the album for you.
Listening to the record, which comprises two 14-track mixes, is an exercise in patience. You spend most of your time sitting around, twiddling your thumbs, waiting for each unhurried break to finally express itself. This takes a while, but if you have some free time on your hands, it’s a pleasure — the musical equivalent of the Rainbow Road course on Mario Kart for N64 (if you couldn’t fall off the track, and the colors were comforting instead of nauseating).
CD1 is mixed by James Grant, the Anjunadeep A&R chief and brother of Above & Beyond’s Jono. Grant’s track selection is immaculate — each song is a fine example of evocative deep house at its languid, unhurried best. These tracks are elaborate journeys; trailing in and out of nothingness before returning with the necessary rumble. As a result, every track stands up remarkably well even when you play it on its own, outside of the context provided by the entire mix.
Parker & Hanson – Afterthought (Soundprank’s Deep 04 Mix)
Paronater – No Gravity (Tom Middleton Liquatech Mix)
The album’s greatest delights come when Grant teams up with Andrew Bayer, Anjunadeep’s answer to Anjunabeats’ Arty and Mat Zo. We’re not sure why Bayer isn’t more famous, but he should be. He’s been blessed with dance music’s greatest gifts — the ability to make deeply groovy music, and the artistic intuition to create profoundly affecting songs. Andrew Bayer makes it easy to dance. He makes it easy to feel. He makes music worthy of your friends and deserving of your lover.
Full Tilt – Take Me Away (Andrew Bayer & James Grant Mix)
P.O.S – Gravity (Andrew Bayer & James Grant Mix)
But in order to truly make sense of Disc 1, you shouldn’t approach it as a collection of songs arranged in a chronological order. Instead, think of it as a series of different sound waves that frequently intertwine and occasionally intersect. When these waves come together, the drops are so intensely natural that you feel like you’ve been waiting for them for years. There’s genuine catharsis in these breaks — you find yourself letting go of stress you didn’t know you had. Nowhere is this more apparent than in Bayer and Grant’s remarkable remix of Above & Beyond’s elegant “Prelude.” Here, “Prelude” is stripped down to its barest components, and we’re left with pure beauty.
Above & Beyond – Prelude (Andrew Bayer & James Grant Mix)
On CD2, Jaytech leaves the moodiness behind for more funky, dancefloor-oriented tunes. Sure, there’s plenty of introspective dreaminess, but the breaks here are more geared towards rocking a crowd than releasing undiluted emotion. It’s a little less sentimental journey, a little more guiltless fun. Music for a night out, not a night in.
Solarity – Primordial
Jaytech – Synergy
Jaytech’s mix flows from one track to the next with the practiced ease you’d expect from an established veteran. As the mix draws to a close, it kicks up a gear. The beats grow harder and more driving, and you’re swept up by their authoritative energy. These are songs that get better the louder you pump them because the low ends are perfectly assembled. We’ve moved from deep house to big room progressive — from rumble to thump.
Levente Márton – There’s Always A Way Out
Kaskade – Sorry (Dirty South Remix)
As a whole, Anjunadeep 04 is like a reliable old friend — there when you need it, waiting patiently when you don’t. Unless you’re a devout fan, you probably don’t need to buy both mixes. But there are some genuine gems in here. The key is to spend a little timing searching for the tracks that move you. There’s a tendency in dance music to assume that louder is always better. What Anjunadeep 04 shows us that sometimes, a little silence goes a long way.