Anjunadeep has been at the forefront of the deeper side of dance music since its inception in 2005, but rarely releases LPs, having only previously released four total. Therefore, when Anjunadeep announced the release of a new LP on December 1st, the world took notice, and Vincenzo's The Vanishing Years exceeds all previous expectations. Having been in the music scene since the 90's, Vincenzo is not new to dance music, having previously released three full-length albums to much acclaim.
Opening with "The Tree" and "What Are You?" it becomes very clear that album is different from most dance music produced today. The opening tracks, and the album as a whole, have a very organic feel that has been missing from dance music lately. With their subdued melancholy and minimal feel, these tracks are the perfect way to entice the listener and start the journey of this LP. As we enter the exploration of his first artist album, we were also able to chat with Vincenzo to get some perspective on it creation.
"Just Like Heaven" is Vincenzo's take on The Cure's 1987 classic, turning the track into a duet, with the female vocalist taking the forefront. The track has an undeniable energetic flow, with some beautiful pad and string work giving it an optimistic vibe.
"New Time," a track that has been around for 12 years, gives light to a downtempo hip-hop beat with a funk organ sample from Weldon Irvine. A tribute to his earlier days, "New Time" is a fantastic addition to the album.
"If He Runs" and "All About You" are collaborations with Florian Kruse, a producer out of Berlin. With stronger beats, these tracks will keep you grooving all night. The vocalists on these tracks, Raquel Rivera and Lisa Shaw respectfully, meld their lyrics perfectly with each track, building upon the groundwork. "If He Runs" showcases some of the nature sounds that are present all throughout the album and give it that incredible, organic feel. "All About You" spawned three Anjunadeep remixes. You can check out my post on them here.
The title track, "The Vanishing Years," adds a cinematic quality to the album through its ambient and contemplative feel. One, truly, can get lost in this track for hours.
If any two tracks were meant for the dance floor, it is definitely "In The Dark" and "Into My Heart," with the first one being a pretty subtly suggestive track. The bass in both tracks will keep you moving all night without overpowering the inherent beauty of both tracks.
"Walk Home John Boy" is a downtempto track that gives off a certain depressed vibe, with the outro being a voice recording from a deceased friend of Vincenzo's. The emotion here is palpable and impossible to fake.
"Into My Heart" is anchored with some emotive pad work and piano chords that will keep you coming back for more. It is definitely a standout track on the album.
Another track with a downtempo hip-hop beat, "Today" brings forth a content vibe with its repeated use of the vocal loop, "Today was a good day" and is a great transition into the next track, "Around The Sun."
With a strong beat, "Around The Sun" will be making its rounds on the dance floor. Cari Golden's voice is at the forefront of the track without overpowering what is below, and with lyrics surrounding the finite time we each have here on Earth and how one chooses to spend it, this track flawlessly encompasses the Anjunadeep sound. This is another standout track on the album.
A fitting end to the album, "Rewind," a track about self awareness, will get the listener thinking about their own life and their own journey.
One listen of The Vanishing Years is not nearly enough to get its full value; with each listen, one discovers more of the complexity of the LP, both with each track individually and the listening experience throughout. This LP is about so much more than dance music, don't miss out. You can pick up a copy at Beatport now. We were able to get ahold of Vincenzo for an interview this past weekend. Check it out below!
EARMILK: With a thriving career going all the way back into the 90's house scene, how did you first get into dance music and what made you want to produce your own music?
Vincenzo: I was probably exposed to some incredible music in my mother's belly because my father is a full-blood blues rock musician of Italian nationality. I remember when Captain Future came up on the television I just jumped up and started dancing to the title theme, produced by German composer Christian Bruhn. I was about 12 when I started writing lyrics for imaginary bands that might happen when I became a grown up. When I was about 15 years old, I saved up some money and bought the Roland QY10 with a friend of mine and we started making our own music.
EM: In this day and age, where it is increasingly rare for producers to release full LPs, what motivated you to release a full album?
V: In times of acceleration, when the corridor of artistic freedom gets narrower, it's important to me to slow down and reflect on the incredible experiences and emotions that I have touring as a DJ on a global scale. Touching base every once in a while to write new music gives me the drive to go out there again to make it happen on the dance floor.
EM: The Vanishing Years is the first album to be released on Anjunadeep this year and it is only the fifth LP ever released on Anjunadeep. How does it feel to be releasing the only Anjunadeep album this year?
V: I am really excited about the new relationship with Anjunadeep. They already have a strong following, and offer a very professional and experienced background. I am curious about the fact that I am moving away from underground German labels and very much looking forward to continuing my work with Anjunadeep.
EM: This is your fourth studio album, how does it differ from the first three that you released?
V: I had the opportunity for extensive collaboration in various areas--artistically and professionally.
EM: Do you have a favorite track on the album? If so, what makes it so special to you?
V: I really love all the tracks and the variety of music that I was able to present, but there is actually a rather personal story about one of them. I had lived in Australia for a while, and when I returned to Berlin and was releasing my third album I heard about the death of a true friend I had met down under. Back at the studio in Berlin I listened to some of the voice recordings on my mobile phone he had left when I missed out on a party with him. You can hear his voice on the outro of "Walk Home Johnboy."
EM: One of the most striking features of this album, at least to me, is the way you seamlessly melded the vocals into the tracks. Can you describe your process for finding those vocalists that best fit each track?
V: I tend to build long lasting relationships with artists that I meet when I'm on the road. For example, some of them last as long as my relationship with Lisa Shaw. I met Lisa around 2002 at a Naked Music Party in Barcelona and we instantly connected both musically and on a friendship level. Since then, I have featured her voice on various productions. I met Minako in Singapore when she was touring with a producer friend of ours on one of his showcases. We came up with the idea of doing some work together as we discovered a mutual appreciation for early songs by The Cure. I have many stories like that...
EM: "Just Like Heaven" is your own take on The Cure's 1987 classic. What made you choose that rock song to remake? And what inspired you to turn it into a duet?
V: I actually woke up one morning in a hotel room with the haunting melody of the song and immediately started a remake. I just contacted my new friend Minako around that time to come up with the vocals and the whole thing was born. It actually happened via e-mail. We never had a real studio session together. Just using the possibilities of modern communications as a collaboration tool is perfect, as it enables me to work with so many talents all around the world.
EM: In both "New Time" and "Today" you showed your incredible range with the downtempo tracks, with "New Time" being one of the more interesting tracks on the entire album. What prompted its inclusion in the release?
V: "New Time" is actually the "old time". The track has been around since 12 years ago when I used to live in Barcelona. It contains a sample from American jazz and funk composer, and organist, Weldon Irvine. During that time I was rather enjoying producing downtempo hip-hop music just for the fun of it and as an exercise to keep me motivated on the simplicity of house music--which I truly love. To keep a long story short, I thought it was the right thing and more authentic way for the The Vanishing Years to reflect on my history as a producer and musician, rather than presenting solely new music.
EM: The two standout tracks on this album to me are "If He Runs" and "All About You," both collaborations with Florian Kruse. What prompted this collaboration and what was it like to work with him?
V: What inspired me most for "If He Runs" was the voice of Raquel Rivera. When I heard her for the first time, I started composing "If He Runs" on my guitar in my bedroom studio. Once I was happy with the arrangements, I approached my half-brother Florian and he was immediately switched on by the idea. In the end, Florian contributed his engineering skills and studio space, and we both finalized the track. Living in Berlin at the same time, we used to hang out a lot in each other's studio space coming up with all sorts of ideas. One day Florian started some beats that I really liked and I immediately improvised some additional keys and harmonies on top. I thought a vocal was missing, so I presented Lisa the instrumental and she came up with just what the track needed.
EM: "The Vanishing Years," an ambient and contemplative track, adds this cinematic quality to the album. What made you decide on it being the title track?
V: It best reflects the full time scale that exists between an idea, production, and actual release. It's actually a live take I did spontaneously in a state of melancholic memories at a backyard garden studio in Melbourne back in December of 2011.
EM: From the subdued melancholy of the opening tracks, to the downtempo numbers, to the more energetic tracks, and the more ambient tracks, The Vanishing Years truly does take each listener on a journey. Can you describe the kind of journey you wanted to take us on?
V: I like to leave that question to the listener. Feel free to share your personal perceptions on the Anjunadeep Facebook page, or my artist page.
EM: The final track is "Rewind," which seems a fitting name, as this is an LP that deserves a multiple of plays, what made you end the journey on this specific track?
V: There actually is a deeper meaning behind it. The track is a reminiscence to Hybrid's track, "I Know." It's a late 90s UK rave kinda thing, you know? When I first heard the track on its first release, I instantly shouted "Rewind!"
EM: Now that The Vanishing Years is out, what can we expect from you next?
V: I just started a new label with some friends called Circumtrax, where we go back to the roots of dance music. The label will actually follow a very strict dogma in production and aesthetics, purely dedicated to today's dance floors. And of course I will continue working with Anjunadeep.
The Vanishing Years