Ferry Corsten - WKND
Thu 1st Mar, 2012 Music Reviewsin
The career of DJ/Producer Ferry Corsten has been a prolific and varied one. No matter which kind of EDM takes your fancy, it’s safe to say there is something for you among his three studio albums and numerous other releases. At the peak of his powers, 2008’s Twice in a Blue Moon was heralded as a jewel in the crown of a revival year for trance, but the scene has changed dramatically since then. Stand in any packed festival crowd or bulging dance floor of an inner city club, and chances are there is an electro house beat washing over you. David Guetta and Swedish House Mafia now rule the roost, and trance once again struggles to resonate outside of its European stronghold. This goes some way to explaining why Ferry’s latest offering; WKND, has been released amidst little fanfare despite the almost 4 year wait.
It has been the turbulent 12 months for the Dutch maestro so, as an unabashed fan of his music, I was hoping any superlatives conjured up by his old albums would just as easily be applied to the new. It begins with the very soulful A Day Without Rain, the angelic vocals of Ellie Lawson are supported by the beautifully mild, euphoric tune which reminds you of the best that Ferry’s sound can be. Shifting gears, we move straight into the previously released Feel It, which is the first in a series of high energy tracks that divert from the overall trance theme. The next up is Ain’t no Stoppin’, which delivers a tight and grainy beat beneath the retro sounding vocals of Ben Hague. Once momentum is created he unleashes the homage to his Moon Man heritage; Don’t Be Afraid. This progressive house track makes use of a hypnotic piano over a heavy flowing bassline and haunting beats to make it the track of the album.
Corsten has reunited with Betsie Larkin and the result is the emotionally melodic Not Coming Down; the song is a journey in itself and a worthy follow up to their previous collaboration Made of Love. After this lofty vocal he dives straight back into an instrumental, teaming with Armin Van Buuren to create Brute. Featuring a deep swinging beat which ensures its place as a dance floor favourite, it is perhaps out of place amongst the lighter, ‘poppier’ tracks that surround it. Or perhaps, I am just not a fan of the song. Ferry then creates a fun, ‘sun drenched’ feeling with the next couple of tracks. Aruna’s vocals work well in this format to produce Live Forever, while Let You Go featuring Sarah Bettens maintains the feeling, but at the same time adds a bit more depth. You then descend into the heavier bassline and ‘big room’ feel of Check It Out. I’ll admit I was critical of this release last year, but within the context of the album the track has merit and builds well on the overall flow. After this we head old school with Love Will, which features Duane Harden vocals as well as a playful, 90’s House piano riff and funky bass which makes for a pleasing result.
Two of the surprise packets follow on from there, returning us to the more traditional euphoric trance sound. In Your Eyes accompanied by vocal mainstay Jes, is a punchy little gem that is just begging to be remixed, while Walk On Air has all the bells and whistles (and a piano) of pop infused trance. Bringing the album to a close are a couple of huge instrumentals, the first of which is Take Me. This track inserts late energy with a lovely hands-in-the-air drop, while at the same time allowing the album to begin the wind down. Finally, the title track WKND has a lovely serene quality but also has a series of piercing beats throughout that send it to a big techy trance climax that rounds out the album nicely.
While the theme remains true to its trance tag, like most of his work it’s easy to sight many influences that have made it complete. It flows easily, building you up and taking you down throughout. The scattering of instrumental and vocal tracks are generally well placed, and there should be enough ready-made classics to guarantee this will be a hit. What has always drawn me to Ferry’s music is the uniqueness of his work that seemed destined to shy him away from the mega stardom of other DJs. Some will argue that this album is the first sign of Corsten finally being washed ashore by the wave of pop music after so long fighting the current; retiring from his post of dance pioneer. And they may be right; it isn’t ground breaking and it isn’t really a new sound. But for those of us who don’t take music that seriously, it is another from the production line of quality releases from Ferry that will ensure you are there the next time he graces the decks near you.
WKND is out now on Flashover Records.