Part mixtape, part label showcase and upcoming releases taster, the Anjunabeats compilation series has become one of the most eagerly anticipated compilations of the year. Well, it would, wouldn't it? Anjunabeats itself is one of the most exciting and inspiring labels dedicated to trance, almost single-handedly resuscitating the genre's flagging reputation and fortunes. The label has scoured the scene for only the highest caliber producers, artists, and DJs, creating an international stable of talent hailing from the U.S., the U.K., Western and Eastern Europe, and even Israel. Once again, the red hot Above & Beyond do the mixing honors for Anjunabeats, Vol. 4, although their own "Can't Sleep," a sweeping single featuring Luminary vocalist Ashley Tomberlin, gets a melt-down remix from Maori. Maori appears elsewhere on the set in his other guise, Maor Levi, with the gloriously gorgeous and driving "Illumina" a taster from his forthcoming album.
Luminary, too, put in an appearance with "Amsterdam," here given a further kick and a tougher sound by Smith & Pledger's superb remix. That duo's own new single, "White," debuts here, an exuberant number guaranteed to chase away even the darkest doldrums with its irrepressible rhythm and cheery melody. Super8's "Get Off" is similarly happiness-enhancing, with an irresistible bounce and infectious melody; it's another great new number. Super8's collaboration with DJ Tab, "Helsinki Scorchin'," in contrast, is much grittier, and already firing up dancefloors far beyond Miika Eloranta's Finnish home. Eloranta and Above & Beyond's Paavo Siljamaki together are Aalto, and their fifth single is rather unimaginatively titled "5," the song itself is far more inspired, tinged with techno and fueled by a phat bassline and swooping synths.
Elsewhere, Signalrunners' "Aria Epica" has a ringing melody line that sounds like a chiming guitar, giving this bold and bright number real crossover appeal. Basic Perspective take the concept even further with their track which rips a page from the New Order songbook. But melodies seem to rain from the sky on this set, with Nitrous Oxide arguably offering the most exhilarating tune. As with the best mix sets, the album flows smoothly across the grooves, yet each track magnificently stands out on its own. And so they should, there's not a dud or less than top-notch song within this set. Even Above & Beyond don't want it to end, and so the set goes out on a high, leaving listeners wanting more. Easy solution: just hit replay.