With the addition of Sander van Doorn’s From Dusk Till Doorn this year, as well as Tiesto’s upcoming new mix series A New Dawn, it’s hard to imagine a month go by without a new trance compilation release. For the most part, this year’s bevy of studio mixes have been pretty solid.
But with the increase in studio mixes released each year, it’s getting harder to stand out. As Toothless once pointed out, the overwhelming saturation of trance productions has made what was once “great” into “good.” So when trance legend Ferry Corsten decided to join this year’s party of studio mixes with his second installation of Once Upon A Night, I was really hoping to hear a trance mix that would inspire some originality.
In total, the mix is divided into two discs comprised of 26 new tracks. Like most trance compilations, it follows the conventional breakdown of deeper, more progressive material on Disc 1 and clubby, trancier sounds on Disc 2. For the most part, I think Ferry does a pretty good job with his track selection. Artists like Breakfast, Amurai, and Rafael Frost are some of the most cutting-edge producers out there, and there are plenty more artists in the mix to match their talent.
Disc 1’s dark and progressive feel worked especially well for me. Rafaël Frost, one of Ferry’s favorite minions on his Flashover label, delivers the first big punch in the mix with We Were. Frost interplays warm synth arpeggios and harsh electro dashes, creating an uplifting yet eerie effect. The track is followed by another fantastic feature, San’s Lose It All (Ibiza Sunrise Mix). San’s Ibiza Sunrise sound is clearly his forte, as his Ibiza Sunrise Mix of Kiss Of Life was one of the best tracks on In Search of Sunrise 8. That’s saying a lot for an album that gets my vote for progressive album of the year.
Ferry takes us into the club with Disc 2, the more trance-influenced portion of the mix. While this was an enjoyable part of the compilation, there are less tracks of note than in Disc 1. Regardless, there are still some great records on Disc 2. Ferry’s own Festival, released under his new Pulse moniker, has a nice big room hands-in-the-air feel to it, and Klauss Goulart’s Maximum is one of my favorite tracks on the album with its killer Warp-like electro influences and dark tech beat. Audien’s Mind Over Matter was another fantastic track. The first half features a wonderfully sophisticated deep tech groove that leads into a powerful organ melody in the second half.
In summary, a lot of the other tracks on Disc 2 did not stand out quite as much as the proggier Disc 1, but there are enough excellent tracks on the compilation for me recommend this mix. It’s a good listen, and most of all, if you’re a Ferry lover, I think you’ll be satisfied with the work he put out here. By the way, our exclusive interview with Ferry will be posted very soon, so keep an eye out!