1. Intro 2. Are You Ready 3. Fire 4. L.E.F. 5. Into The Dark 6. Galaxia 7. Beautiful 8. Possession 9. On My Mind 10. Down On Love 11. Forever 12. Watch Out 13. Junk 14. Cubikated 15. Freefalling 16. Daylight
L.E.F (Loud. Electronic. Ferocious) is the second album on Positiva from Dutch DJ/producer Ferry Corsten, sometimes known as System F. Repeating his previous efforts of slickly produced thumping house anthems, he somehow seems to have managed to miss the point that the ’90s finished more than half a decade ago.
Corsten has been a full-time producer since 1991, peddling house and trance tunes to Europe’s clubbers and the international dance scene, including a breakthrough UK hit Don’t be Afraid in 1996, released under the moniker Moonman. He’s enjoyed moderate UK success with a couple of top 20 singles (Out Of The Blue, Cry), and made a name for himself as a remixer on William Orbit‘s Adagio for Strings and U2‘s New Year’s Day among others.
With a pedigree like this – not to mention the Ministry of Sound dance compilation series Trance Nation and the 1999 Ericsson Muzik Award for Producer of the Year under his belt – it’s clear that he knows what he’s doing, but the danger in that is not feeling a desperate need to push the envelope.
Even his collaborators mark him as a throwback to another era – Simon Le Bon on Fire, which mixes the Duran Duran frontman’s vocal samples with his well-known hit Notorious, followed by Howard Jones on Into the Dark. Then there’s Cubikated – a (too?) faithful reworking of 808 State‘s Cubik. All of it sounds like Underworld‘s Born Slippy with less shouting (or lager), mixed so heavily you can hardly recognise the component parts even when you know they’re there.
Having said all that, and though it’s easy to sneer at Corsten for treading safe waters, L.E.F. is rather good – even if it is nothing you won’t have heard before in any one of a thousand house parties, especially if you happen to fall into the demographic it seems to be shamelessly aimed at i.e. those of us old enough to get excited by the prospect of Le Bon and Jones as we fondly reminisce about when we used to spend all weekend listening to music like this before staggering home at 4.00am wondering when guitars were going to come back into fashion. The way Intro creeps up on you, all beepy and quiet before the drum machine kicks in – ahh, takes me back 20 years, it does. Or about 16, anyway.
Taken as a whole, the 16 tracks have got that great trance attraction of everything merging relatively seamlessly together with no real distinction between one track and the next until, ironically, five tracks in, when along comes Howie J on Into the Dark, which starts anew with a slow, dark piano sample offering a few minutes’ respite from the dancefloor. Its particularly appealing “I thought you lost your mind, or did you just fall asleep?” vocal sample makes it the stand out track of the album. Then it’s back to yer standard trance nod-alongs.
The final ‘bonus’ track differs between regions so, if you’re a mad completist you could buy four versions, but you probably don’t want to. It’s all just sub-Oakenfold really, but then again – aren’t they all?