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‘Cream Ibiza’ mixed by Above & Beyond (album review)

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The Cream brand has come a long way from the original club nights at Liverpool’s Nation. Today, Cream is synonymous with electronic excellence, its reputation built on a commitment to booking the biggest dance acts of the day. The Creamfields UK festival is overflowing with superstar DJs, and so are the Thursday night Cream parties at Amnesia in Ibiza. To celebrate the 2012 season on the White Isle, Cream has released a 2-CD compilation, mixed by Dancing Astronaut favorites Above & Beyond.

Cream Ibiza,” mixed by Above & Beyond is essentially an amalgamation of three important milestones from A&B’s past twelve months: their timelessly elegant Essential Mix from July 2nd of last year (which was voted Essential Mix of the year by Radio 1 listeners); Anjunabeats Vol. 9, which was released last November; and the recently-concluded North American Group Therapy tour. If you’re a die-hard Anjunabeats fan, then you’ve heard both of the aforementioned mixes and seen them play recently. If you’ve also heard Arty’s Essential Mix, then you’ve heard most, if not all, of these tracks before.

Cream Ibiza, therefore, functions as a time capsule. It’s a snapshot of Above & Beyond as they are in the summer of 2012. It’s a little slice of trance 2.0, preserved forever. If you’re like me and you simply you can’t get enough Anjuna, then Cream Ibiza is everything you want it to be –a brilliant portrait of the label’s recent successes.

It’s all here: Andrew Bayer’s poignant, aching beauty. Arty’s no-holds-barred big-room fun. Mat Zo’s genre-defying exuberance. Norin & Rad’s massive, devastating synths. Parker & Hanson’s striking melodies. Above & Beyond’s epic original productions — songs that can make 20,000 people close their eyes, throw their hands in the air, and sing their collective hearts out. Yes, I’ve heard all of these tracks before. No, I’m not sick of them — not yet, at least.

Cream Ibiza features two new remixes. The first, from German Jerome Isma-Ae, is a slower tempo interpretation of Tranquility Base’s driving “Razorfish.” Ismae-Ae stays true to the endlessly hypnotic original, but grounds us with a housier beat. This song feels like it lasts forever.

Above & Beyond pres. Tranquility Base – “Razorfish” (Jerome Isma-Ae Remix)

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The second new remix comes Southern California’s finest, the Silver Surfer-inspired Norin & Rad. Their take on A&B and Andy Moor’s 2005 classic “Air For Life” demonstrates why A&B picked the duo as their breakthrough artists of 2011. Norin & Rad have reimagined “Air For Life” as a thudding, shuddering 2011 trance banger, and it works. While I do wish the breakdown was as long and blissful as the original’s, there’s an emotional, haunting purity to “Air for Life” that will always make my heart skip a beat.

Above & Beyond vs. Andy Moor – “Air For Life” (Norin & Rad Remix)

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You might say that Tony, Jono, and Paavo are at a crossroads — their sound has certainly evolved since the early days, and it will probably mature as their careers progress. Every day, new fans open their ears to the Anjunabeats phenomenon — the music’s just that good — with little understanding or appreciation for its history. At EDC Vegas, for example, a group of fans in front of me turned to ask “Who are these guys? Do you know what this song is called, it’s awesome!” as the club mix of “Thing Called Love” roared through the Group Therapy Arena. I gleefully filled them in. While it can be frustrating when some of your fellow ravers don’t know the songs, or even who the DJ is, Group Therapy has never been about complaining or personal ownership of the scene. It’s about welcoming newcomers to the Anjuna family, to the magical, surreal, frankly indescribable feeling that is and will always be Above & Beyond.

Purchase: iTunes

“Cream Ibiza,” Mixed by Above & Beyond: Tracklist

CD 1

1. Cosmic Gate & Andrew Bayer – “Nothing Ever Lasts”
2. Above & Beyond pres. Tranquility Base – “Razorfish” (Jerome Isma-Ae Remix)
3. Arty – “Kate”
4. Jaytech – “Overdrive” (2012 Remix)
5. Super8 – “Alba” (Maor Levi Remix)
6. Mat Zo – “Loop”
7. Dirty South & Those Usual Suspects feat. Erik Hecht – “Walking Alone” (Arty Remix)
8. Mat Zo feat. Linnea Schossow- “The Sky” (Club Mix)
9. Marc Marberg with Kyau & Albert – “Megashira” (Ronski Speed Remix)
10. Ferry Corsten – “Punk” (Arty Rock-n-Rolla Mix)
11. Andrew Bayer feat. Molly Bancroft – “Keep Your Secrets” (Myon & Shane 54 Summer Of Love Remix)
12. Norin & Rad – “Zion”
13. Bluestone – “Namaste”
14. Genix – “Aura”
15. Parker & Hanson – “Afterthought” (Heatbeat Remix)
16. Above & Beyond feat. Richard Bedford “Thing Called Love” (Above & Beyond 2011 Club Mix)

CD 2

1. Above & Beyond feat. Richard Bedford – “Stealing Time” (Above & Beyond 2012 Intro Mix)
2. Andrew Bayer & Matt Lange feat. Kerry Leva – “In And Out Of Phase” (Norin & Rad Remix)
3. M83 – “Midnight City” (Eric Prydz Private Remix)
4. Mat Zo & Arty – “Mozart”
5. Jerome Isma-Ae – “Speed” (Original Mix)
6. Audien – “Eventide”
7. Norin & Rad – “Pistol Whip”
8. Above & Beyond feat. Richard Bedford – “On My Way To Heaven” (Above & Beyond Club Mix)
9. Genix – “Nytra”
10. Markus Schulz pres. Dakota – “Gypsy Room” (Duderstadt Remix)
11. Arty – “Open Space”
12. Depeche Mode – “Personal Jesus” (Eric Prydz Remix)
13. Above & Beyond feat. Zoë Johnston – “Love Is Not Enough” (Above & Beyond Club Mix)
14. Above & Beyond vs. Andy Moor – “Air For Life” (Norin & Rad Remix)
15. Above & Beyond pres. OceanLab vs. Norin & Rad – “Secret Bloom”
16. Above & Beyond feat. Richard Bedford – “Sun & Moon” (Club Mix)

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