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High standards have slipped a little...
on 17 November 2011
Well this is different; to criticise an Anjunabeats release doesn't feel right, but having listened to volume 9 a few times now, I have to be honest. In my opinion, it simply isn't as good as the previous volumes. Obviously, A&B can only include what is out there, and as usual the standard of mixing is second to none. They are still the best at this, in my opinion. But song selection leaves a little to be desired. Tracks 2 and 3 on the first CD, for example, are not great; Afterthought is aptly named and Median is well below the average standard. I love Cramp's RU116 though, so at this point I was feeling more positive about the rest of the album. However, overall I was left disappointed. We seem to have an influx of what I would describe as 'electro' songs on the album. I'm not sure it is electro by definition, but to me it's not trance and it's not Anjunadeep-type house either. The smooth quality and elation of tracks on previous albums is nowhere near as prevalent in volume 9. Anyone who had the (mis?)fortune of listening to Andrew Bayer's latest album, well, whilst volume 9 isn't that eclectic, it is slightly veering in that direction.
Don't get me totally wrong, it's not a terrible album by any means, but Anjunabeats' releases have set such high standards that I can't help being disappointed. The best tracks, in my opinion, are those that are more 'traditional' Anjunabeats, such as Cramp's RU116 and all of Oliver Smith's tracks. Perhaps, given this, I just don't like change, but I do believe it's more that I don't like the style as much. Maybe this is the way 'trance' music is going, or perhaps A&B are diversifying. Having said that, those songs that are more traditional Anjunabeats aren't quite as uplifting as others in previous albums, in my opinion.
But A&B are still the best in this field - buy it and see what you think.