This is the track that put the name Ferry Corsten on the map. Although Ferry had been producing under various pseudonyms prior to releasing "Punk", most notably as System F and Moonman or with others as Gouryella and Veracocha, "Punk" was the very first release with his own name on it. He must've been particularly proud of this one! Fun little side-story: Punk was actually released first under the moniker of "Funk Einsatz", a name purposely invented to sound German on 10 one-sided promotional vinyls for only the luckiest of DJs to spin. The frenzy was huge, and its later official release by Ferry Corsten was a smash hit.
Punk had a variety of different releases in various countries, each boasting its own set of remixes. For the purposes of a review, I had to select one, so I'll be checking out the first Maxi-CD from Ferry's native country, the Netherlands.
We start off with the Radio Edit, perhaps the version most happy-go-lucky clubfolk are familiar with. That leading deep sawed bassline is unparalleled in its atmospheric entry before wasting little time in switching to that electro synth that throws the zippy main melody our way. But that's not what everyone remembers about Punk. In fact, it wouldn't be half as memorable without those dark vocals repeating that same phrase over and over: "Digital punk." This voice alone skyrockets the song into wicked territory. This version of Punk launched Ferry Corsten into his successfully experimental electro period; many more tunes like it came after, but none captured the esoteric flavour of Punk.
But what is a funky tune without some remixes? First up is the Kid Vicious Remix, and I must say, once it gets going, it's pretty darn vicious! Rolling with an acid flow, this mix takes a long while to build up steam (but still being vicious along the way, don't forget), but once it reaches the apex, it combines the synths of the original with a new acid bassline for an assimilation of tones that clash just a little bit but retain a good amount of funkiness.
The Cosmic Gate Remix delivers the brash sounds they were known for back in their earlier days before later softening up. This remix sounds like standard German commercial dance music of the time, which is code for a more bland take on the source material, adding very little except a slightly different, gruffer bassline and a few extra clunky sounds here and there. Cosmic Gate's early sound was very basic and to-the-point to begin with, and this remix is an accurate reflection of that lack of innovation. (Cosmic Gate later produced another Punk remix in 2011 that was a little bit more interesting.)
Last but not least is the Duplex Remix, which does the seemingly impossible: it makes the dark original mix even darker with a deeper brooding bass than even the ol' Corsten could muster, before edging into a slightly rockier sound like a motorcycle trying to drive vertically up a well. But it's not until the second half that the mix actually gains its own personality, tossing unusual noises in the background to mess with our heads. Very odd, to say the least.
And there you have it. Classic Punk. I must admit, the remixes don't make any significant strides to alter the original formula very much; in fact, listeners are better off just testing Ferry's own version, which is a shame as it brings down the score somewhat. But don't let that final score fool you: Ferry's Punk is a good example of what made him famous. Give it a listen and learn about the precise moment when his birth name created energetic ripples in the electronic music scene.