Wow… tough one.
See here’s the thing; being a reformed and recovering trance abuser, I’m not much of a Ferry Corsten fan. Thus my expectations for his newest artist album, Twice In A Blue Moon, were a little low, to say the least. Actually, I was pleasantly surprised at points throughout this listen, and therein lies the problem. It can be difficult, when reviewing an album like this, to differentiate between “I actually enjoy this” and “I’m pleasantly surprised.” If I’m honest with myself though, the bottom line is this: I kinda liked it and I kinda hated it. Allow me to elaborate.
While I hate to get feelings of “pleasantly surprised” and “enjoy” all mixed up, I kind of have to in this case because I did actually like some tracks on the Dutch superstar’s latest album, and that surprised me. None may have pleased and surprised me more than the albums opener, “Shelter Me.” One of the warmer, more engaging tracks on this latest title, “Shelter Me” is certainly a highlight.
Then there are a few other sparks of brilliance sprinkled throughout the album, some that reminded me why I originally got into progressive trance in the first place. Even though I’ve since moved on, it’s still nice to see the attractive side of my former love. For instance, “Made of Love” and “Feel You” both feature the beautiful, airy vocals of New York’s Betsie Larkin, and definitely held their own on the album. Despite how much I enjoyed these tracks, they (and the rest of the album) do fall victim to the typical trance trappings that I was afraid of.
Some of the same reasons I moved on from trance are the exact reasons I dislike part of this album. With a few exceptions, the music can sound so dated (not in a good way), and overall, Twice In A Blue Moon was not exempt. Of course, the mastering and sound quality are much better, but many of the songs still sound like they could have been written anytime in the history of trance; they haven’t evolved.
Case in point, “Brain Box” is a disappointing little number that’s so freakily reminiscent of the oft overplayed “Kernkraft 400” by Zombie Nation that it’s a little scary. The difference though? 10 years! As much as I love nostalgia, this unintentional shout-out did more harm than good. Paired with a variety of other tracks (i.e. “We Belong”, “Radio Crash” and the title track “Twice In A Blue Moon”) that showcase the overall static state of the trance sound, it’s fair to say that I disliked as much (or more) as I liked.
I hate to say it, but while pleasantly surprised several times throughout, Corsten’s Twice In A Blue Moon, did little to change my current feelings for his music or that of trance in general. However, it’s obviously working for someone, as he is regarded by many as one of the top DJ’s in the world. So, I say give it a listen and judge for yourself.
Twice In A Blue Moon is out now on Ultra Records.