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ALBUM: Above & Beyond - Acoustic II out on Anjunabeats

Above & Beyond are a phenomenon unlike any other in dance music. Grammy-nominated songwriters, they are the only British dance act to sell out Madison Square Garden as DJs, and yet are about to take an 18-piece band set up on a sold out tour of the world's most iconic concert halls: including London's Royal Albert Hall, Sydney Opera House and Hollywood Bowl to name just three. 

A show described by Billboard as “one of the finest in dance music history”, the tour - and accompanying Acoustic II studio album - represents yet another against-the-odds landmark in the unique story of Above & Beyond. Venues that normally take years of hard touring to reach are sold out on only the band's second acoustic tour - you are left wondering: just how do they do it? 

The secret is in the songs. Sung back at them by thousands at their celebratory DJ sets, Above & Beyond's tales of life, love and loss have soundtracked weddings, proposals, hikes up Everest, marathons and funerals - stories which are tweeted and emailed in to A&B HQ each week. The lyrics have been plastered on festival signs, provided solace for fans in hard times and have been tattooed with pride by thousands of fans.

Following last year's critically acclaimed electronic album, “We Are All We Need”, Above & Beyond Acoustic II revisits several of the best loved songs from that album and as well as classics from Above & Beyond’s wide back catalogue and reworks them for concert halls rather than clubs; breathing new life and context into them.

Under the supervision of musical director Bob Bradley, the legendary trio have reworked a total of 13 tracks into rich, string-laden band arrangements that reference Portishead, Angelo Badalamenti and movie soundtracks with a uniquely Above & Beyond idiosyncrasy.

Reaching back into their individual musical histories, each member of Above & Beyond performs different parts of the arrangements, including Jono on Rhodes, Tony on guitar and vocals, and Paavo on grand piano. Celebrated A&B collaborator Zoë Johnston sings on re-imagined dancefloor anthems like “We're All We Need” and “Alchemy”, and is joined by a host of other contributing vocalists from Above & Beyond's past and present. Completing the ensemble, string quartets and percussion sections provide a big room feel of a completely different kind.

Full Tracklist:
1. Hello
2. We’re All We Need
3. On My Way To Heaven
4. Save Me
5. All Over The World
6. No One On Earth
7. Black Room Boy
8. Peace Of Mind
9. Sticky Fingers
10. Alchemy
11. Counting Down The Days / Liquid Love
12. Blue Sky Action
13. Another Chance

Read here EVENT REVIEW: Above and Beyond Acoustic II at The Albert Hall, Manchester Sunday 1st May 2016

Dimitri Kechagias review: 
[review top="1"]
 [item value="10"]Acoustic II sampler 1[/item]
 [content title="Summary" label="Overall Score"]Above & Beyond decision to turn their big electronic music anthems into acoustic tracks for audiences to enjoy in music halls and iconic venues maybe is going to be their most important decision that will change their career and will place them in the hearts of many fans above and beyond the rest. In the digital age with some software and samples anyone can produce high quality music but Above & Beyond prove that there is life in electronic music tracks after their performance in clubs and festivals. Hello is the absolute catalyst to change your perception and make you aware of what is coming in the rest of the album. The moment that all singers create that chorus harmony and sing Hallo will stay in your hearts. We All We Need is another fantastic song that Zoe proves how well she can handle it in live situations and she really sounds so magical within the cinematic magical atmosphere. The production is so classy and delicate that stays in your heart for long. The beloved Justine Suissa sings the awesome Another Chance recreated as big vibrant colourful uplifting epic anthemic cinematic James Bond like song with great sound effects like the clock ticking and the xylophone melodies. This is magical to say the least! The 2nd sampler includes Blue Sky Action that particularly for the album is performed by Alex Vargas who proves that he is a superb talent that  you can rely on to deliver epic performances. Brilliant lyrics delivered with so much expression and emotion that touch you deeply without doubts and the brand new arrangement for the album adds that cinematic uplifting feel. No One Earth is performed by the beloved Zoe in a totally different sound-scape that brings Jazz elements and Angelo Badalamenti influences as well. Romantic, erotic, touching and new arrangement that elevates the track to the next level that you should listen to believe it that's  for sure, #PureGold Love It[/content]

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