Trance titan keeps the purists happy on third studio album.
Alex Forster 2009-01-16
If the title suggests Ferry Corsten doesn't do things by halves, this is also true of the company he keeps. Operating on the same arena-swelling stratum as Dutch trance titan Tiesto – who last year DJ'd to over 250,000 revellers in Brazil - in these post-super club days, Corsten is one of a handful still wearing the global DJ megastar tag with aplomb.
Trance has always been the unfashionable cousin of house and techno. Neither as cold as techno nor as cool as house, its heart-on-sleeve abandon and predilection for the vulnerability of soaring, synthy melodies has found a global audience since it escaped techno's icy grip in the early 90s.
Corsten's third studio album represents something of a return to the roots of the music, at least in comparison to 2006's L.E.F which incorporated electro, techno and rapper GURU into the fold. For anyone who remembers P.Diddy's disastrous attempts to 'break' Ibiza in 2004 - booed off the stage at club Space for rapping along to his own track - rest assured that all vocal duties on Twice… are adept harmonic productions. The vocodered intonation of We Belong for example (which follows a heavily Depeche Mode-influenced intro) completes a track that looks as strong a bet as giving Corsten his 11th U.K top 40 hit (the most by any trance producer) as assuring his continued residency on DJ Magazine's top ten DJs of the year poll.
Lead single, Radio Crash, is as uplifting (I knew I'd squeeze that adjective in there somewhere) as any trance-by-numbers banger, justifiably working its way into sets by Paul Van Dyk, Above and Beyond and Armin Van Buuren this year. Through Twice… runs a studied momentum, pitching the aforementioned euphoric club-track against Feel You, another vocalled cut, which bounces like tech-house before easing into a lighter version of Trentmoeller's Moan.
Kraftwerk's lead singer Ralf Hutter once mused, in his best Sarah Connor impression: ''the machines produce an absolutely perfect trance… trance always belongs to repetition''. Corsten manages to transcend the prejudice of trance as monotonous, hi-NRG dance muzak and produces a record that demands repeated listens rather than promotes repeated ideas.