In November, the incomparable Anjunadeep imprint announced they’d be heading back to the Ionian shores of Albania for the second year in 2020. After much anticipation, the bulk of the lineup is here and, unsurprisingly, phase one is dripping in lush deep house, tech, and electronica muscle.
Deep house authority, Yotto, progressive duo Tinlicker, and melodic house up-and-comer 16BL are given this year’s honors of performing sunrise sets. Anjunadeep’s label manager Dom Donelly and founder James Grant snag the two five-hour sets. More multifarious label stalwarts like cinematic electronic twosome Eli & Fur and technicolor house titan, Ben Böhmer are also set to make maximum potency returns to the festival. This year’s edition is set to explore June 18-23 in scenic Dhërmi, Albania.
Early bird tickets to Explorations 2020 sold out, but more ticket packages will be available starting 1/17 at 11 am GMT (6 am EST). Get on the waitlist here.
Luttrell is slowly but surely establishing himself as a steady force with Anjunadeep. Following his 2019 LP Into Clouds, the melodic house producer’s 2020 release entitled Lucky Ones is due out March 13. Luttrell heads out on a lengthy North American tour supporting the album shortly after Lucky Ones’ release, starting in Salt Lake City before finishing at Hangout Fest in the ever-rowdy Gulf Shores.
In addition to his latest track, “My Friend The Sun,” Luttrell revealed that his tropical track “Albanian Summer” secured a spot on the LP. Read Dancing Astronaut’s 2019 interview with Luttrell here.
April 2 – Urban Lounge, Salt Lake City, Utah April 3 – Effex Night Club, Albuquerque, New Mexico April 4 – Bluebird Theater, Denver, Colorado April 9 – 45 East, Portland, Oregon April 10 – The Showbox, Seattle, Washington April 11 – Celebrities Nightclub, Vancouver, British Columbia April 12 – Coachella, Indio Polo Fields, California April 16 – The Mohawk, Austin, Texas April 17 – Stereo Live Houston, Houston, Texas April 18 – Stereo Live Dallas, Dallas, Texas April 19 – Coachella, Indio Polo Fields, California April 23 – Miramar Theatre, Milwaukee, Wisconsin April 24 – Concord Music Hall, Chicago, Illinois April 25 – Exchange Nightclub, Minneapolis, Minnesota May 1 – 1015 Folsom, San Francisco, California May 2 – Shady Park, Tempe, AZ May 7 – Magic Stick, Detroit, Michigan May 8 – L’Astral, Montreal, Quebec May 9 – CODA, Toronto, Ontario May 14 – The Sinclair, Cambridge, Massachusetts May 15 – Music Hall of Williamsburg, Brooklyn, New York May 16 – 9:30 Club, Washington, District of Columbia May 17 – Hangout Fest, Gulf Shores, Alabama
With less than a week remaining in the year, beloved Above & Beyond imprint Anjunadeep has gifted the world with a belated but sure to be treasured Christmas present: a nine-hour “Best of 2019” mix.
The lengthy mix looks back on some of the label’s most esteemed tunes of the past 12 months via a compilation of mixes from the course of the year. It kicks off with a March mix from Marsh, which comprises the first 12 or so tracks. Over the next several hours, fans are treated to mixes from James Grant, Luttrell, Simon Doty, and Lane 8.
While listeners may recall some of the mixes from past Anjunadeep editions, this extensive mix pulls countless tracks into one gargantuan episode to sum up the wildly successful year the imprint has enjoyed. Stream it in its entirety below.
Yotto began the year as one of the brightest acts on one of the electronic ether’s most revered label destinations, Anjunadeep. But by mid-2019, Yotto left his longtime label housing, taking the precarious plunge of setting up his own imprint, Odd One Out (OOO), which also serves as the title of one of his most popular Hyperfall singles from last year.
He got the OOO release train chugging this past August, with the pumping progressive delivery, “Nova,” which received a prompt remix treatment from Anjunadeep label mate, Cassian. The 32-year-old Finnish producer’s reputation as a multitalented performer has grown so steadily over the years, with his colorful catalog of original tracks swelling all the time.
It’s an audacious play to bid adieu to such a well-aligned organization, but one that’s also redolent of self-courage and earnest resolve. Since then, he’s released a steady stream of singles through OOO alongside the very first installment in the label’s new mix series, which he plans to use as an outlet for artists to test drive sounds outside their expected sonic spaces. Dancing Astronaut caught up with Yotto on the tail end of his Odd One Out world tour to talk about climbing the fierce learning curve he’s been managing in the last year, his life outside of music, and his plans to keep the label in front of convention.
You’ve spent most of the second half of 2019 on world tour, how has it been? Have there been any highlights or lowlights? What’s it been like?
I think it’s been a great tour. Obviously it’s a little tiring, but being able to play bigger and bigger venues, you know, moving from only club shows into doing a bunch of more theater-like venues as well has been a cool little change. Overall it’s been a really good tour so far. And then I’m just [finding myself] continuing to say, “Thank you, fans.”
Are there any types of specific venues you enjoy playing more than others?
I think I’m still, at the core, I’m a club DJ, there’s something about that dark sweaty room with a lot of people in it, well not that many people in it. It’s pleasing.
During that time, you’ve also been running Odd One Out. Are you enjoying being in charge?
Yeah, I’m enjoying it a lot, it’s a new experience, running a label, and being responsible for everything. I find it refreshing. And, you know, I have worked with Anjuna for a while and they’re such a great company to learn from and to see how they run things is a very good learning experience. Of course I’m not operating on the same scale as they do, as a label. But there’s always some takeaway from seeing them succeed and do a great job with everything.
Is there anything in particular you learned from Anjuna that’s been helpful for you?
I think schedules matter. I’m not very good at keeping up with deadlines and stuff usually, or I prefer very free-flowing, like “Oh I have a track let’s just put it out tomorrow and that will be fine.” kind of approach. But that doesn’t necessarily always work, so it’s good to have some sort of a plan so you know what’s gonna happen and when.
What else have you learned over the last few months running a label while touring the world?
It’s hard work, but it’s great to see that people have actually been engaging with the label and coming to the shows knowing that it’s part of the Odd One Out tour, which is basically a launch tour for the label, in a way. I learned that there’s so much you can probably say when it comes to data. We can see who our listeners are, where they are listening to music from, but it’s just kind of mind blowing that you pretty much know who’s listening to your music instead of just seeing numbers on paper.
You recently released your first Odd One Out mixtape, what do you have planned for the series?
I wanted to start the series with a mix that represents what I’m playing at my shows right now and the music that I’m relating to in a club environment. But also, as the name of the label kind of suggests, I want to do something a bit different every now and then so I’m gonna get guest mixes from some people, where they would play something else than what they normally play. So having like a house DJ play a set of whatever he’s into, whether it be instrumental hip-hop or anything… Give people a different look into their own personal taste.
Are there any artists in particular you’re dying to work with on Odd One Out?
I will always work with Sasha, but that’s also a bit of a reach, but I don’t know. I did a remix for him on his label, so maybe one day I can gather some cash or bribe him or whatever to make a remix for me. That would be a good one, because I’ve always just felt love for what he does, and he always has a really cool catalog. He never does useless records.
I heard that you ran a couple marathons this year, is that true?
Yeah I did, I did five of them. I used to run a lot more, I’ve done a few marathons before, they’ve always been very easy marathons, on concrete and in cities. But this time I did one on the Faroe Islands, which is between Iceland and UK in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, It’s part of Denmark. It’s just a small mountain, a small island, and there was a mountain trail marathon that I did that I really enjoyed. It was awful, it hurt. I’m not gonna do that one again, or maybe I will as long as my toenails grow back some from losing them during that one.
That sounds so hard, I could never.
Yea, it was really interesting, it ended up being so steep at most places that it was more like a very long, extreme hike instead of a running marathon. Most of the terrain was so difficult that you just could not run, just climb. But yeah it was cool, as part of that you kind of have a goal, or if I sign up for a race like that then I have to consistently train and force myself to hitting the treadmill when I’m on tour, so it kinda plays into that puzzle. When I started touring it was all about enjoying the free alcohol that was everywhere and partying, but it gets a bit tired. So I find that when I sign up for a race, I’m not doing anything stupid on tour, I’m just laying real low and training every day. It’s a good balance I think.
Switching topics quick, DJ Carnage just tweeted out that “openers should always bang it out” and you responded, “impressively bad advice.” What advice do you have for openers?
Yeah, well I think it’s just a very bad generalization from someone that big to say something like that. You know, if it’s a party where it’s a bunch of people who are into very aggressive heavy bass music, that’s all they want to hear then sure I think you should play that. But I think the opener’s role is, you know, to open the night, set the mood for what’s to come. So I don’t think it necessarily always works to mash it out. I think the opener should always do their best, and that’s the way you can impress people. You play to the room, you play to the night, you play to the DJ who’s playing next. It doesn’t matter that much at a festival where people might move between stages, so the musical arc of the night isn’t as important as in a club, but when you’re just in one room all night it becomes quite important to have a flow to the night.
Do you approach your club sets differently than your festival sets when you’re preparing?
…Yeah (at a festival) you might only have 90 minutes to do the best you can, usually that means mixing a bit more frequently or faster or just trying to get more up-tempo from the beginning, where at a club show if you have four hours you can take your time, get into it.
[Voice in background] Sorry, that’s my son
How old is he?
One-and-a-half years. Tiny little monster.
How do you have time to go on a world tour and start a label and raise a son?
That’s a good question, I think my wife would be better at answering it [laughs]. Yeah, I fly home pretty much every week, even if I’m touring on the other side of the world just to get a few days of family time in. It’s not as fun to be away on the weekends anymore as it was before he was born. But you know, people have to travel for their jobs, so it’s not an unlikely scenario to fly sometimes, but sometimes I leave him for a while, so there’s that. But he has come with me, my wife and the baby we all went to LA for a couple months just now. When I was touring in the US it made it a lot easier because it didn’t take me twenty hours to get home, just more like two hours.
Can you tell at all if he has a knack for music like you?
He does dance a lot whenever I play something, so maybe. And he loves smashing the keys on the piano, but he also loves smashing whatever makes a sound, so, you know, maybe.
2020 is around the corner, are you making any resolutions?
Release more music than 2019. And get another marathon in.
Where do you see yourself and Odd One Out in five to 10 years? Do you have any long term goals right now?
Yeah, definitely the goals that I have are more long term… In five years hopefully Odd One Out will be a label that actually has a published roster of artists under it and have put out a few… I’d like to start a compilation series where it’s not a million tracks just put together, just a few really cool tracks that fit each other. And then I would like find new artists that I could publish as part of the team. And then, some kinds of events so I could bring the guys from the labels do shows.
For years, Eli & Fur have worked towards crafting their consistent sound, developing and improving it along the way. Their ethereal vocals overlay deep melodic house instrumentals to create a sound that is distinctly their own.
The UK duo’s latest track, “Wall to Wall,” continues on their top-notch trajectory by building on what they know best. The track’s expertly produced vocals melt into the atmospheric synths, while a four-on-the-floor rhythm keeps the momentum moving forward.
“Wall to Wall” arrives following the heels of their third EP with Anjunadeep, Into The Night. Currently, Eli & Fur are nearing the conclusion of their 2019 tour, and they’ll close out the decade with a New Year’s Eve performance in Chicago.
The latest addition to Anjunadeep‘s album collection has arrived: Ben Böhmer‘s Breathing. After months of anticipation spurred by singles like the Jonah-assisted “Hunting,” the German producer reaffirms his excellence in emotive production through his first-ever album offering.
Breathing offers a personal look into Böhmer’s life and growth. It was insired largely by the passing of a close family member and the path toward moving on and healing, a concept manifested through emotive melodies and soothing instrumentation. With a bittersweet “In Memoriam” opening the LP, listeners are taken on an adventure that gradually moves into cheerier, hopeful tones—emblematic of the producer’s path out of the darkness. Tracks like “Cloud 21,” with its delicately layered strings, or the buzzing “Decade” with Jan Blomqvist, succeed in brightening the rooms they’re played in.
Ben will be supporting Breathing through an extensive North American tour spanning from Vancouver to New York.
Ben Böhmer ‘Breathing’ North American Tour Dates
2/14 – Grasshopper – Detroit, MI
2/15 – Spybar – Chicago, IL
2/16 – REV – Minneapolis, MN
2/21 – Soundcheck – Washington, DC
2/22 – Analog – Brooklyn, NY
2/28 – Coda – Toronto, ON
2/29 – Fairmount Theatre – Montreal, QC
3/6 – Cedar Street Courtyard – Austin, TX
3/7 – Moroccan Room – Houston, TX
4/3 – Audio – San Francisco, CA
4/9 – Q – Seattle, WA
4/10 – Celebs Underground – Vancouver, BC
4/11 – Club Vinyl – Denver, CO
Deft texturing of an electronic soundscape; that’s a stylistic strong suit of the three-piece outfit, Cubicolor, and “Points Beyond” surfaces as the latest solidifying example of Cubicolor’s technique. The sleek anticipatory effort hails from Hardly A Day, Hardly A Night. The titularly equivocal LP is Cubicolor’s second studio album.
As “Points Beyond” evidences, Cubicolor won’t break their meticulously layered tradition on Hardly A Day, Hardly A Night. The single works like a well-oiled machine, all of its sonic constituents functioning in harmonious fashion to create an aural listening experience. Cubicolor stitch crisp chords, which melodically mount as time unfurls, with distorted, choral vocals. Metallic synths provide a shrill but not displeasing contrast to the smoothness that these two elements effect.
Hardly A Day, Hardly A Night is Cubicolor’s second stab at a sophomore album. In 2018, the group produced a full-length LP, complete with a title, artwork, a 12-song track list, and a formal release date. Then, the band abruptly abandoned the project.
We got home and listened to it, then called each other and decided to drop the whole thing. The next week, we went back into the studio and started again.
We loved the record we made but for some reason, it didn’t feel right, so we didn’t keep anything. We shut ourselves on the boat in Amsterdam where we work and didn’t stop until we’d written a new album.
Hardly A Day, Hardly A Night will merge motifs of love, hope, and acceptance in one cohesive, 12-cut production. The album is slated to release via Anjunadeep on Feb. 21.
Anjunadeep has announced the dates and pre-sale details for the second edition of Anjunadeep Explorations. Marked for June 18-23, Explorations will return to Dhërmi, Albania, expanding its festivities to encompass an even more diverse lineup and range of wellness activities. An Anjunadeep representative confirmed the label will reveal the Explorations lineup on November 21.
The inaugural Explorations this past June brought 2000 fans from over 50 countries for five nights of curated music from the fan-favorite house label and associated acts. Explorations 2019 saw artists like Lane 8, Jody Wisternoff, Eli & Fur, Ben Böhmer, Moon Boots, and many more perform. The multi-day beachside congregation hosted over 60 artists across five stages.
“Our first year in Dhërmi was overwhelmingly joyous. A beautiful host country, an incredible crowd, and our unrivalled atmosphere. We can’t wait to do it all again!” said Anjunadeep founder James Grant.
Tucked away on the shores of the Ionian sea, Explorations offers a deep, immersive experience—encouraging attendees to indulge in its warm-weather trove of amenities, which include swimming with dolphins, dining, and a wealth of wellness programs. Tickets for the festival will only be available as part of an accommodation package.
Pre-sale begins on Tuesday, November 26, available for returning attendees. Early bird sale begins on Thursday, November 28 for pre-registered customers. Access sign-up here.
Berlin-based Ben Böhmer and Anjunadeep mainstay has released the third and final single from his debut album, “Haunting,” with German neo-folk duo Jonah. Tender vocals ride Böhmer’s dreamlike arrangement through delicate piano chords and stabilizing percussion toward a space that keeps that serene voice at center stage while melodic elements flutter and flow like passers-by.
Böhmer’s two other tracks from the LP include the title track, “Breathing,” and the second single, “Black Hole,” which he performed a haunting live rendition of for Above & Beyond‘s deep house imprint. Breathing is set to drop Nov. 22.
The live performer is gearing up for his Breathing North America Tour, and tickets are on sale now. He’s set to headline live shows across the US and Canada from February 2020, with more worldwide dates to be announced at a later date.
San Francisco producer Luttrell has delivered a serene deep house track, “Albanian Summer,” from Above & Beyond’s deep house imprint, Anjunadeep. The ocean atmosphere and dissident seagulls intro the feel-good song reminiscent of the artist’s set in Dhermi, Albania, where he watched everyone dance like crazy to the unreleased version. After that experience, he knew he had to name the song “Albanian Summer.”
After the oceanic intro, arpeggiated plucks and heavenly sustained vocal elements serenade the house percussion elements with a veil of harmonious paradise. A trance build escalates towards a pristine and non threatening release of elements, stripping some of the song’s melodies back while allowing other melodies to shine. Overall, the relaxing deep house and trance exercise curate an environment without worry, harmonically sound to the tune of the surrounding waters.