Euphoria. n. A Feeling of intense joy, often with religious or spiritual overtones’.
– Original Euphoria compilation circa 1999.
So why bother basing my final project around something so targeted and niche? Well in order to answer this question effectively I need to go back 10 years and talk a little about my past:
In 1999 I was 17 years old, and at that age I was fascinated by the rising dominance of trance and house music. I was glued to the radio weekend after weekend desperate for my next fix of new music, soaking up every track, DJ set and radio show with an insatiable hunger, and the Euphoria compilations were launched around this time.
The original Euphoria album was the only album I had ever heard which managed to perfectly capture the essence and character of what I heard on the radio week after week, and it quickly became a mainstay in my CD player and on my cassette player.
At 17 and new to the dance and DJ scene the mix was awe-inspiring.
Over the next couple of years the album became a soundtrack of sorts to various aspects of my life, I would listen to it on bus journeys to Sixth Form and on my way to work, it was the first CD that I played when I moved away from home, and I would dig the album out to play through the work stereo system whilst working for various fashion stores, passionate about sharing the music with customers.
The compilation soon became one of those albums that didn’t grow on me it grew with me; no matter what was going on in my life at the time, it always seemed to attach itself to a current part of my life.
Now it is 2009, and looking back at my enthusiasm and familiarity with the original album, I feel that by taking something I feel so strongly about and remaking it in the way I believe it should be, I will be coming full circle on my education, as the album was what got me into the dance music scene in the first place, and it was the reason I started my 7 year stint in music production education.
One of the main reasons I am focusing on the idea of remaking the album, is that the original album in my opinion had various flaws that I feel I can repair after studying for so long in music and production.
The original Euphoria album has always been held in high regard with a tight-knit community of dance music fans, it was the first in a long line of at the time cutting edge compilations, and in my opinion the series has lost its identity of late and I think that this would be the perfect time to revisit the franchise by creating a ’10th Anniversary Edition’ of the initial release.
I believe that not only will this project be an interesting experience for fans and non fans alike, it also gives me chance to show how far I’ve come over my years in education.
My goal for the project is to take the pure energy and passion I had for the series when I was younger and add that to all the skills I have developed over the years to create a definitive anniversary edition, a project which would be a way of showing where I came from and my inspiration.
I believe that this would provide a form of therapy and at the same time be my most accomplished piece of work to date, I want to be able to prove to myself that I have come so far in my education that I can in effect rewrite my own inspiration.
WHAT I’M DOING IN A NUTSHELL
To be able to complete this project and validate actually partaking in the idea as uni work (and not some self-indulgent nostalgia fest which I’m sure some of you are thinking at this point), I came up with a number of goals or ‘selling points’ that I feel would help stretch my skills and give credence to the idea that the CD was a special ’10th Anniversary Edition’:
- I would take the first Euphoria compilation, which was a 36 track, 2 disc DJ mix, and totally overhaul it, remix and master it, and improve the entire mix from the ground up.
- Original CD or 12″ Vinyl copies of all 36 tracks would be purchased for the album, hunted down from charity shops, online auctions and record stores. Special attention will be paid to match the exact record label and year release stated in the sleeve notes (this was based around a crazy idea of wanting to get ‘under the skin’ of the original compilation).
- All the tracks would be imported to my hard drive as high quality WAV files for the highest possible audio quality.
- All tracks would be beat mapped and warped in Ableton for perfect beat matching purposes within the DJ mix.
- All tracks would be rearranged and re edited by myself to enable each track to showcase it’s main selling points across the limited time available on the mix, giving the listener a true as possible experience of the original 12″ mix, something I feel is sorely lacking from many compilations.
- The mix would be remastered and processed using high quality VST EQ and mastering emulations to create superior sound to the original release, with particular focus on DJ filtering and EQ and the overall CD mastering.
- I would complete the artwork myself for the CD, and get professionally printed discs. I’m no graphic designer by any stretch of the imagination, but I wanted to give my opinions on how artwork contributes to the overall character of an album.
- Edit the mix so that although the CD is a flowing DJ mix, each track marker is perfectly edited so that the mix can be enjoyed by ‘dipping in’ at various points, with each track having the ability of being listened to in a similar fashion to a radio edit, but at the same time also be enjoyed as a contributor to the DJ mix as a whole.
- Using my knowledge of music theory and composition I would restructure the mix and track listing to flow harmonically, paying attention to keep the mix as musical as possible, whilst still keeping enough respect to Moussa Clarke’s (PF Project) original set to warrant having both mixes exist.