Ajunabeats has been busy signing new talent lately. That talent has certaintly delivered. On the heels of massive releases such as “Elements“, “Atlas“, and “Cairo”, Jason Ross vs. Jenaux gives us “Solaris”. Honestly, this track doesn’t catch my attention right away, but I become extremely interested around 2:00. This is a beautiful and atmospheric stretch filled with primal vocals. From this point on the track really matures and becomes quite rich and full. 2:59 is the drop, and it is worth the wait. I don’t think that this track is on the same level as his previous releases, but it is still very enjoyable and worth adding to your collection.
Lets follow that fresh Anjunabeats talent with something new from the old guard. Ilan Bluestone released a few new tracks of his own on the Anjunabeats Worldwide compilation that he mixed. I particularly liked “Cloudchaser”. 2:29 is the first drop in this rather lengthy track.
As a bonus, here is a track that Maor Levi and Ilan Bluestone remixed together. I have often referenced what I simply call that “Bluestone bassline”, and I wanted to give you a good example of what that sounds like. Listen to 1:00 for Bluestone and then 3:13 for Maor Levi’s flavor.
The newest member of Anjunabeats skews very progressive. I discussed my thoughts on the subgenre in a previous post, so read up to fully appreciate how well Grum produces the style.
This is one of the best remixes of an Above & Beyond track. Ever. The original track is one of my top 3 favorite A&B tracks ever, so I was ecstatic to hear it get the Ilan Bluestone treatment. He has a knack for remixing A&B’s work. See below for his remix of “Satellite”.
Let’s not waste anymore time! Turn your speakers or headphones up and let me guide you through the high points of this epic track. This version is taken from a compilation album, so there is an unnecessary intro for the first minute.
1:00- That characteristic Bluestone bassline. It is so massive and powerful, but it is just a taste of what is to come.
2:15- This stretch isolates Zoe’s amazing vocals.
3:45- I told you there was bigger and better bass to come. Oh and lets fold in those beautiful vocals at 4:15.
Here is Bluestone’s previous remix of “Satellite”. No intro here so be prepared to be have your mind blown from the outset. It is all excellent, but 2:46 onward might be some of the best trance that could ever tickle your tympanic membrane.
I wrote an earlier blog post about how Soundprank is classically trained and describes himself as a “musical storyteller”. That is on full display in his new track called “Legion”. Take a listen starting at 2:15. It is amazing how powerful a few sparse and echoing piano notes can be. Let’s not forget those haunting female vocals. I really like this very specific sound (akin to wailing), and it has been put to good use in dramatic film soundtracks. The soundtracks to “Munich“, “Gladiator” and “Troy” come to mind. It elicits a primal and emotional response, and I think it works well in an EDM track. Sometimes the synths and bass can sound emotionally sterile and void of a human element. Soundprank brilliantly solved that problem in this track.
That Ilan Bluestone is so hot right now. He recently guest-mixed on ABGT, and his set featured some new material as well as a mind-blowing remix of “We’re All We Need”. Below are some of the highlights from ABGT and his new single, “43”.
1:35:50- This is an amazing remix of Big Ben (Ilan Bluestone) and Black Room Boy (Above & Beyond).
1:50:13- I didn’t think that “We’re All We Need” could get any better. I love its original simplicity, and I haven’t really liked many of the official remixes until now. I think some of Ilan’s best work is when he is remixing Above & Beyond. Take a listen to OceanLab’s (an Above & Beyond alias) “Satellite” remixed by Ilan to see what I am talking about.
Now to his newly released single, “43”. Why is the track called 43? It is because this track was debuted in Ilan’s ABGT100 set at the 43 minute mark. The opening is a bit long, so let’s skip to 1:00. There are no words for the glorious richness and fullness of this track, but I will settle with an unsatisfactory adjective. Massive. 2:15 is pretty incredible as well. By now, you know that I love the middle of tracks where the song is deconstructed and rebuilt layer by layer.
What else can I say? Ilan has yet another hit. His tracks are always solid (at a minimum), but “43” separates itself from recent releases such as “Snapdragon” and joins likes of “Sinai” and “Big Ben” as an Ilan classic.
Now that I’ve gotten my fill of quirky saxophone EDM, lets switch gears. Here are two new Anjunabeats releases, and they hit the spot.
First is a new track by Jason Ross. Later in this post I compare the new release from Fatum to Andrew Bayer productions. If Fatum is Bayer 2.0 then Ross is Bluestone 2.0. Anyway, his new track “Cairo” is amazing. I’d break it down for you, but I love every second so there is really no point. Just give the whole thing a thorough listen.
The second is a track with a slightly industrial and grungy sound that is reminiscent of Andrew Bayer productions. I have included “The District” and “Bullet Catch” below for comparison. In fact, it shares musical characteristics with some new A&B tracks such as “All Over the World”, which makes sense since Bayer contributed his talents to much of their new album.
0:45- That big in you face “WHOOOMP” sets the tone.
1:15- This is what I was talking about earlier when I referenced an “Andrew Bayer” sound that is a bit industrial sounding. I imagine this would be the soundtrack to a robot factory in the future. Where robots make more robots.
3:00- What a wonderful breakdown.
4:21- This stretch integrates the previous theme from 3:00 but imbues it with a bit more energy courtesy of a driving bass line.
Andrew Bayer comparisons.
Above & Beyond Comparison
Ilan Bluestone is at it again. “Snapdragon”, his newest release from his upcoming EP, does not disappoint and has already earned a place alongside the likes of “Big Ben” and “Spheres” in my mind. I try not to take audio of prereleased tracks from the Group Therapy show due to the inclusion of introductions, but I couldn’t resist. This track needs to get out there and publicized ASAP.
This track is nothing like the delicate flower that I played with as a child. For those of you that don’t know, if you squeeze a snapdragon flower at the right point its “mouth” will open and shut. If you haven’t done this then you’ve been missing out. Go buy some for your kids…or yourself. Before I talk about the track let me note that you should skip ahead to 0:40 to avoid the introduction.
I would summarize this track as intricately woven. Its fast but precise at the same time in the way that complex military aerial maneuvers are.The track starts out with some pretty complex percussive aspects and at 1:00 Ilan includes some foreshadowing of the melody to come. It then folds open to reveal a beautiful stretch at 2:00, and the layers are slowly and flawlessly added back in as the track builds to its apex at 3:24.
Oh my… 3:24. The most epic stretch of trance/progressive that I have heard recently. I especially like the lonely echoing piano layered in there. It elevates this hard driving track and gives it a sense of lightness.
I posted a snippet of “Tension” in my post discussing the importance of silence in a track, but I think that the full official version of this track deserves to be posted.
As its name implies, this song is all about tension. Honestly, this entire song works toward one drop, and it is totally worth it. When I first heard “Tension” I was skeptical. I felt that it was a bit of a gimmicky track relying on one effect, but the more that I listen the more that it grows on me. Most tracks that simply rely on building tension followed by a big release fall flat. The release just doesn’t live up to the expectations and anticipation created by the build up. However, Ilan Bluestone and Jerome Isma-Ae manage to pull it off here, and its impressive.
They hook the listener with a solid beat at 0:15 then they transition into an extremely long build up. However, the teaser at 0:15 is enough to remind you of what is likely to come after the drop, so you keep listening. The build up itself is actually enjoyable unlike many build ups in EDM songs can turn out to be grating and downright irritating. Not the case here. I am not sure that I have ever heard a track that creates such an overwhelming feeling of a coming storm, a rising wave, or a gathering avalanche. Finally, the track rises to its apex at 2:15 and releases an incredible amount of stored energy.
“Gravity” by Parker & Hanson was a favorite of mine from the Anjunabeats Vol. 11 compilation. I have talked about this album in articles featuring the tracks “Anjunabeach“, “Spheres“, “The Dark”, “Tension“, “Hindsight“, and “The District“. If you haven’t taken a listen to the full album you definitely should.
Anyway, “Gravity” in its original form is a tranquil, beautiful, and thought provoking piano piece. It is a nearly perfect track but even the best tracks can be reimagined and made more fitting for certain environments. Many EDM songs have acoustic or minimalistic deep versions, but the opposite happened here. It was made danceable.
Jason Ross, a new member of Anjunabeats, earns his stripes with this remix. 0:45 is where the differences became very apparent, but 1:15 is where this track takes on a life of its on. A life and personality very distinct from “Gravity”. The driving bass gives no relief and the beats seem to sound like they are dropping in from and returning to a constant thrumming background level of bass.