Shame is something I rarely experience because I think before I act or speak. As such, I have no reason for regrets. But in the case of “Right of Way” by Ferry Corsten, I can’t help but hang my head in shame. After first listening to this CD, I realised just how much of a progressive snob I had become and how elitist in nature my attitude had developed. Enjoying music is the most basic aspect of human nature. You either like a particular grouping of notes or you don’t. It’s that simple. Lately I’ve discovered that such a simple task is left behind when you become involved in the intricacies and multi-layered sounds of progressive house. While progressive is a beautiful and thought provoking concept, I yearn for the unabridged innocence that once captured trance as a sound. The politics of dance have a lot to answer for and sometimes leave a bad taste in my mouth. With that in mind, I scoffed at the thought of listening to a CD of Ferry Corsten productions. Silly me.
“Right of Way” isn’t perfect by any stretch of the imagination but it’s more brilliant than it is imperfect. It is certainly far better than what I had expected and certainly far more interesting than anything I could have hoped for. Above all, it made me pay attention. As such, I found myself intrigued with almost every track that I heard. The best of the lot swept me away and made me forget where I was. There are more hits than there are misses on this collection of tracks but even the numbers that lack real lustre still have certain attributes which I found interesting.
Yes, there are tracks on this CD that fall under the trance genre but they are produced in such a way that relegates them to a superior quality of trance. You only have to listen to the wonderfully melodic “Sublime”, the tougher sounding “Right of Way” and the emotive beats of “Kyoto” to feel those characteristics. While something like “Sweet Sorrow” can take you up to the highest peaks, there are the darker harmonies of “Star Traveller” that guide you into the shadowy depths that can sometimes be found in trance but without ever heading into harder territory. This is trance produced in a style that only Ferry Corsten can create. This is trance WITH style. Aboveall, this is trance for the 21st Century.
There are instances of electro cool such as “Whatever!” and “It’s Time”, which add a different funk to the overall feel of this CD. It’s these moments that I didn’t expect which ultimately left a smile on my face. And of course there is the underlying beauty of something like “Skindeep”, the gentle “Holding On” and the chilled breakbeats of “In My Dreams”. Once again, it’s not what I expected to hear. Even the tracks that I think are the weakest on this CD, that being “Rock Your Body Rock” with its typical electro trance beat, the now overplayed “Punk” and the insipid “Hearts Connected”, still have a certain element that will appeal to a particular audience. It is a element that I can happily tolerate.
As an added bonus, “Right of Way” comes with a second CD containing various remixes of “Punk” and “Rock Your Body Rock”. For me, bonus CDs such as this are purely aimed at die-hard fans of the selected tracks. While I feel that both these tracks are two of the weakest when compared to the others, I have to point out that the DJ Dan and Moby remixes of “Rock Your Body Rock” are class acts. DJ Dan reinvents the track as an urgent house number while Moby’s retake is quirky without losing its fun. Even if you don’t like the originals, these two reinterpretations are quite exceptional.
Overall, this was a wonderfully satisfying CD to hear and I realised how much I actually miss quality trance. I realised how much I missed the fun that used to be heard in music. As such, I’m reminded of the not too distant days when music was a simple longing, when there were no complexities and music was the priority. There were no egos and no attitudes. The unadulterated pleasure of enjoying music in an effort to experience new sounds is an art that has been lost for some time now. Why? Because as we’ve become more and more spoiled for choice, we’ve all turned into cynics and genre bashers. Maybe one day we’ll be able to reprise the ability to respect music for what it is, regardless of whether it is perfect or imperfect.
The true beginnings of my fascination with dance music began in 1999. It was the year of trance. It was the year of “Out of the Blue”, “Carte Blanche” and “Gouryella”. Each had the Ferry Corsten stamp all over them. While I had dabbled with electronica for a good part of five years prior to that year, I had never fully evolved into dance music until that time. Ferry Corsten was one of the reasons I completed my transition. For dance music addicts around the world, 1999 has become a warm and fond memory. It is a year that symbolised quality releases. There really has been no other year that has produced as many instant classics as that year. Its influence in the history of electronic dance music, as it were, can only be described as such:
“1999 was a massive year for electronic music. It was a year where boundaries were torn down and legends created. No longer confining itself underneath to a niche market, electronica began to spread like a wildfire across the planet. A whole new era of music lovers exploring and experiencing new sensations with the help of the most gifted DJs and magical producers painting lush chords and melodies for the soundtrack to your life.”Many DJs and producers received their fifteen minutes of fame during that nurturing year yet only those that had real talent are still around today. Ferry Corsten is definitely one of those few. It’s a strange yet wonderful thing when I find myself feeling like a schmuck but as I’ve said previously, I scoffed when I first held “Right of Way” in my hand. What could a trance DJ possibly offer me in the way of dance music when I can listen to the demigods that are James Holden, Luke Chable or Matthew Dekay. (Please note another heavy dose of sarcasm)
- Written by: Pisces in a recent review on RA.
Wasn’t I wrong...
1. Rock Your Body Rock
2. Right of Way
4. Holding On Featuring Shelley Harland
5. Sweet Sorrow
6. Hearts Connected
8. It’s Time
9. Show Your Style Featuring Birgit
10. Star Traveller
11. Skindeep Featuring Shelley Harland
12. In My Dreams
1. Punk (Live at Spundae)
2. Punk (DJ Icey Remix)
3. Rock Your Body Rock (DJ Dan Remix)
4. Rock Your Body Rock (Poxy Music & Kid Kenobi Remix)
5. Rock Your Body Rock (F Massif Remix)
6. Rock Your Body Rock (Moby Remix)