Matt Noble revisits the first compilation album from the progressive/deep house label Anjunadeep.
Released in 2009, Anjunadeep:01 is the first of five compilation albums from the label Anjunadeep, with the most recent, Anjunadeep:05, having been released in Summer 2013. Founded in 2005, Anjunadeep is the sister label to Anjunabeats, both of which are owned by the trance trio Above & Beyond. Deep is the natural offshoot of the diversification of the Beats label, bringing a deeper, progressive and overall more house-oriented sound that stands in contrast to the familiar uplifting trance melodies from Beats.
Anjunadeep:01 stands apart from the other compilations however, in that it captures a special time in the label's life. Still trying to find its own voice apart from Anjunabeats, 01 is the label at its most diverse. Retaining the most "trancey" vibe of all the Anjunadeep compilations, 01 juxtaposes them alongside some distinctly deep house tunes as well. While this may sound like a recipe for some serious musical dissonance, Above & Beyond manage to weave 2 excellent and distinct mixes. Clocking in at just under 80 minutes each, both CDs are prime examples of why Above & Beyond are considered some of the best in the business. Their assured and long-mixing style lends itself perfectly to the blend of deep, progressive, and trance sounds.
It's hard to pick standout tracks from the mixes, but Jaytech's hypnotic Metro, Paul Keeley's infectiously happy Life Aquatic and Komytea's killer bassline from 9 are my personal favorites on CD1. CD2 kicks off with the deepest tunes yet, with an esoteric opening track from Komytea and a slow burning follow up from 16 Bit Lolitas. Things are firmly steered back into progressive waters as the mix plays out, with artists like Dinka, PROFF and Anjuna mainstay Michael Cassette rounding out the album.
While the label Anjunadeep would find its musical feet by the time Anjunadeep:02 was released the next year (and continue that sound through Deep:04) 01 is still an intriguing look into the development of the label. There's a promise of greatness here, and that promise is certainly delivered on.