Ferry Corsten's latest mix CD offering, Passport United States of America, will more than likely be a welcome relief for many. It deftly mixes up his current love of distilling a hybrid of more thumping progressive-house tracks with the soaring, melodic sensibilities of trance.
Corsten is generally a very thoughtful and adventurous DJ. But some of his most recent output has fallen short of the mark. His previous installment in the series, Passport Kingdom of the Netherlands, was for the most part a "safe" mix. It broke no new ground at all, mined from a very limited genre of the usual suspects in trance tracks at the moment, and largely didn't sound like a Ferry Corsten mix at all. His Creamfields mix was much more on point, but separated genres in too much of a literal fashion. The first disc was very heavy on electro, the second on trance, and they rarely mingled enough to acknowledge the other's presence. This latest U.S. installment to the Passport series finally mixes the two, in a stylistic balance more akin to what he was attempting with his more recent artist album, L.E.F.
The electro sound he is fond of doesn't come through quite as much as a lighter progressive touch. Poison Pro's "Hello" starts things off nicely with a gentle build of pulsing and plinking. This blends into the full-on trance of The Doppler Effect's "Beauty Hides In The Deep." And this is the balance Corsten seems to be striving for with this set: trance with a bit of an attitude. This is perhaps best captured in the Marc Marburg with Kyau and Albert track "Megashira", where even within the same track it alternates between euphoric and electro. This bleeds in, appropriately enough, to Ferry's track "Beautiful," from L.E.F.
Some highlights include the Deeper Sunrise Mix of Solarstone's "Late Summer Fields," which is one of their nicest tracks in recent memory. The mix definitely builds this laid-back groove into something much more club-worthy. Ferry's Flashover Mix of his System F track "Insolation" has also been updated with more of a club emphasis, but still retaining the dreamy, floating feel of the original. And for those of you hoping for some high euphoria, look no further than Ronnie Allstar's "Good Morning Sunshine." It's all in the name and will take you back to the glory days of trance.
The CD version ships with a bonus DVD chronicling Ferry's previous tour across America, the one which prompted this mix. It's interesting to watch through once, but is a very stripped down disc. That video is the only content accesible, even though the packaging indicates a music video for "Junk." Just know that what you're buying with this set is the single-CD mix, and the tour documentary is just a little bonus for playing along.
Overall, this is a highly enjoyable mix from Ferry. It seems to be fashionable as of late to extend DJ mixes out over two discs for a perceived increase of value. This would be great, except that oftentimes the mix itself seems to suffer. The tendency to pad in a lot of filler in order to stretch an idea out over two discs has seemigly become quite great. Passport United States of America shifts back to the idea that less is more, as in more concentrated and to the point. It's high on listenability, which should be the chief goal of any mix. Kudos to Ferry Corsten from the United States.