Ferry Corsten’s ‘Blueprint’ is innovative, gripping and a true game changer [Album Review]
Ferry Corsten is undoubtedly one of the most prominent, catalyzing forces behind the trance genre. The veteran Dutch producer seems to have been around forever, with an illustrious career spanning almost three decades – a tenure which can feel like three lifetimes in dance music years. Over time, Corsten’s evolution as a producer has been evident and fluid, with each passing album serving as a landmark in his journey. However his latest LP, Blueprint, is perhaps his most ambitious undertaking to date, as it aims to transcend the barriers of traditional trance confines and deliver a more wholesome, well-rounded package to fans.
Beyond the concept and execution, what elevates Blueprint even further is the way in which the record serves as a portal into the seasoned producer’s psyche; a true labor of love that showcases his willingness to constantly innovate despite having no compulsion to consciously push himself to such lengths.
What instantly distinguishes Corsten’s latest LP is the album’s astute usage of voiceover intros/outros for most of the tracks. Not only does this serve as a major differentiating factor with concrete marketability, but also gives the album a definite story line, making the process of listening to Blueprint a significantly more immersive and enjoyable experience.
Another highlight within the album’s complexion is the theme chosen by Corsten. A sci-fi setting for the collection’s narrative allows the author to tether humanity’s collective fascination with the final frontier to get his subliminal message across in a sophisticated, and inventive manner.
In examining the actual music, an intriguing aspect of Blueprint is how each song is anchored to a mood. A feeling is cemented within the listener by use of expertly constructed audio dialogue, courtesy of acclaimed screenwriter David H Miller. The album’s introductory track, “Reception” is the perfect illustration of this. The mysterious cinematic music is capably matched by an equally enigmatic monologue, immediately invoking a motif of suspense. This concept is a bit of a masterstroke in itself, sparking the listener’s imagination and curiosity and thus ensuring audience engagement as the album progresses.
Corsten has paid evidently close attention to nailing the album’s other-worldly sound design, perhaps best exemplified in the album’s titular track “Blueprint.” The meticulousness weaved into the drums and chord progressions is immediately apparent, making the tun supremely enjoyable and easily one of the record’s strongest offerings. Another high point across the 17-track collection is “Vee’s Theme.” Its uplifting undertones are capable of raising the energy levels of any dance floor; a sonic characteristic mirrored by “Trust” as well.
Blueprint also features its fair share of powerful, driving, instant-classics inspired by old-school sounds. A quintessential trance cut, “Wherever You Are” falls into this category, featuring a heavy bass line and quintessentially Trance, high-pitched synths, perfectly suited for large, open venues due to its infectious energy and atmospheric bass. But the most energetic track on the album is “Drum’s A Weapon,” a hard-hitting tech-trance beast with a dark, warbling bass line, vigorous 138 bpm beats and unmistakably evil synths; a throwback to a forgotten time where such music was the norm in Trance festivals worldwide.
While majority of the tracks are Trance, Ferry Corsten has strategically placed a few tasteful future bass tracks in the mix as well namely, “Here We Are,” “Piece Of You,” and “Reanimate.” Intriguingly, Blueprint also features a progressive house single, “World Beyond,” that clearly takes a leaf out of the legendary Deadmau5’s production book in both its configuration and sound design, delivering nine minutes of pure tranquility.
After listening to Blueprint, it’s apparent that the LP has a rather beautiful split personality- on one hand it can be viewed as a perfectly well produced album with serene music and well thought out, interactive dialogue and lyrics. On the other, it is a message that highlights and attempts to solve the glaring problems faced by humanity. Ferry Corsten has managed to communicate ideals of tolerance, love and peace – ergonomically packaged in the form a serene love story between Lucas and Vee.