ALBUMS: Above & Beyond Debut at #1 with New Album “Acoustic II”

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Above & Beyond, the renowned Grammy-nominated electronic act, have released their “Acoustic II” album on Anjunabeats/Ultra Records. The highly-anticipated release, which made its debut at #1 on the iTunes Dance album chart, contains acoustic reinterpretations of numerous hits from the band’s storied history, including We’re All We Need, On My Way To Heaven, No One On Earth and Blue Sky Action.

As the album hits release day, the band are preparing for two sold-out shows at the Sydney Opera House, the final gigs in a tour brimming with accomplishments. Across 19 shows, and with over 65,000 tickets sold, Above & Beyond to support “Acoustic II” created a first for dance music by bringing an 18-piece band to the world’s most famous concert venues including the Royal Albert Hall, The Chicago Theatre and Greek Theatre. The climax of the tour was a performance at the Hollywood Bowl during which Jono Grant, Tony McGuinness, and Paavo Siljamaki played various instruments including rhodes, guitar and piano alongside a 32-piece orchestra.

The recording process for “Acoustic II” began in late summer 2015 as Jono, Tony and Paavo once again got together with Leeds-based musical director Bob Bradley, who’d worked on 2014 release “Acoustic”, to assemble a new selection of songs with a view to reinventing and re-recording them.

Collaborators from the past decade returned for “Acoustic II”, including three of the electronic world’s most powerful vocalists: Zoë Johnston, Justine Suissa and Richard Bedford. The policy of featuring the original vocalists for each song also means appearances on the album for Gemma Hayes and Alex Vargas.

“With the first acoustic album, it was guitars, piano, strings and vocals that were the bare bones of what we were working with,” adds band member Paavo. “This time around we thought: ‘what other kinds of things can we do?’ So brass is a really big player on “Acoustic II”. We added a lot of John Barry-esque brass horns. And we wondered what interesting things we could do with the voices, so there are a lot of choral and bigger vocal arrangements than on the first one. Really, this album is standing on the shoulders of the first one. If we’d have tried this then, it would have been overwhelming and too much for us to do.”

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