Ferry Corsten - Right Of Way
Amongst the best examples of dance music are those tracks when, having discovered what the Roland TR-303 bass synth was capable of, fledgling dance artists grasped for influences and looking back to 1977/78, brought a riotous punk/post-punk ethic to their music. Whether The Aphex Twin, Phuture, Spiral Tribe or Bomb The Bass, the mix of dancefloor euphoria and the spit'n'sawdust clubland of punk created a clutch of classic tracks, most of which have worn well, if sounding a little battered by advances in technology.
Ferry Corsten, having already demonstrated his abilities with a series of trance sets in the late-nineties, leading eventually to being voted one of the DJ magazine's top 100 poll but with this album, his mixing of house, trance and punk is often exhilarating has taken Corsten out of the pages of specialist dance magazimes into the mainstream press.
The album's opening track, Sublime, has all the makings of a trance classic - gentle beats fluttering about an ascending keyboard pattern - but second track, Whatever!, spins a delicate female vocal against a churning synth and shows the nature of the album that will follow - Right Of Way has its roots in mainstream dance but is prepared to toss the strict set of dance rules aside.
Despite the Euro-rock title of Rock Your Body Rock, rising Dutch star Ferry Corsten has created a song to stand alongside Phuture's Acid Trax, with a fat analogue synth bubbling behind a late-eighties demand to, "Rock your body!" Despite featuring a chiming melody through its centre that's passed from 1988 to 2004 without stopping, the song should provide an answer to anyone wondering what The Prodigy would sound like should they ever collaborate with Gary Numan.
Elsewhere, Right Of Way follows Sublime with further examples of rich trance, including Kyoto and Star Traveller but with the tender vocals of Skindeep and Holding On supplied by Shelley Harland, Corsten shows that short, sweet pop is not beyond him. Lastly, the richly ambient sound of In My Dreams is the perfect, sun-kissed closer to this album, much as The Pixies' Bossanova was rounded off with the tender Havalina.
On the downside, Right Of Way does feel more than a little excessive with 77 minutes being far too long a running time for an album without significant growth across it. Where, for example, The Orb's Adventures Beyond The Ultraworld needs its long running time to develop a concept, there is no such single theme running through Right Of Way and, as the hour mark passes, it's possible for the listener to feel lost. Backing this up is the feeling that, by Holding On or Sweet Sorrow, you'll be convinced that more than six or seven songs have passed.
Yet, when Right Of Way works, as it does on Sublime, Holding On and Punk, it sounds like a great mix tape of dance tracks, mixing the dancefloor highs of the opening track with the gritty bass thump of Rock Your Body Rock. Despite it inducing the occasional thought that Right Of Way couldn't be any more cheesy, it is full of the thick sounds of the first flush of warehouse parties that it rarely sounds less than glorious. Had Ferry Corsten just trimmed the fat a little, Right Of Way could have been great but, in moments, this is a terrific album.