Friday, 19 November 2010

"Full Circle" Delux

I'm currently revisiting one of my old mix CDs and remastering it from scratch so I can make a "10th Anniversary" Edition of it (though it's now technically a "10th Anniversary plus four months" edition!

Some thoughts on this little project:

  • The sound-quality of the original CD is bloody awful! At the time, I didn't know any better and so, several of the tracks were mastered from low-quality 128kps MP3* files (probably from a pre-legal Napster) - and I did such terrible work on raising volumes, boosting treble/bass/etc. throughout that, the whole album has digital clipping galore in it. A sonic nightmare!

    * one track was actually transported from my workplace in London to home on 4 floppy discs as there was no other way of getting hold of it at the time...

  • I've chosen to lose the "Volume 6" moniker and just keep the "Full Circle" title (some of my early "volumes" are so cringeworthingly badly mixed that I'd rather they just faded into the mists of time..)

  • I intend to improve the original artwork (that had a "bubble wrap" theme) that was created at such a low resolution, you couldn't even tell what it was supposed to be. Oh, and while I'm at it, I want to somehow utilise the mountain of *real* bubble wrap I have taking up room upstairs and create a limited edition first run of either 50 or 100 pressings. Dunno how yet. Just an inkling on an idea...

  • I still treasure the memory of going to a friends' 21st Birthday party a couple of months after the release of the album in 2001 (in the local town of Wooton Bassett) and being delighted to hear the opening track from the CD being played. That feeling was followed by complete and utter gobsmackdness when I realised from the next track onwards that it was actually a copy of this very CD being played (and it was getting a packed dancefloor too!) The jaw then went through the floor when I saw the CD being played and it was a bootleg copy that someone else had taken the time to create alternative artwork for (featuring a fake-topless picture of Britney Spears on the cover! FAR more pleasing to the eye than my admittedly-pretty-boring original artwork!! ;)

  • Back in 2001, blank CDR's could only hold 74 minutes of music. You can now fit 6 minutes more so I want to use that additional space and add a couple more contemporary tracks from the period that I wanted to include at the time but obviously couldn't...

  • There's a tiny little bit on the original CD where you can hear my voice on it. A little self-indulgence from more, erm, volatile times. It's now getting snipped.

  • Despite all the above flaws, I'm very proud of the original album! It literally works like a 'full circle' in that you can play it on a cyclical loop and there's no pause in it. Though I didn't realise it when I first recorded it, it's very inspired by Pink Floyds' "The Wall" album that starts and ends at an exact same point.

  • Am I being too much of a George Lucas here? Will there be any people who hate my revisiting this album and prefer the original? We'll see... :)

Saturday, 24 April 2010

DPI55 is finished!!!

OK, the CD is finished!


01. Ultravox - Vienna
02. Kim Wilde - Kids In America
03. Devo - Whip It
04. Spandau Ballet - To Cut A Long Story Short
05. Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark - Enola Gay
06. Soft Cell - Tainted Dust
07. Bronski Beat - Smalltown Boy
08. Duran Duran - Planet Earth
09. Phil Oakey & Giorgio Moroder - Together In Electric Dreams
10. New Order - Blue Monday
11. Gary Numan - Cars
12. Simple Minds - New Gold Dream (81-82-83-84)
13. Pet Shop Boys - West End Girls
14. Visage - Fade To Grey
15. Thompson Twins - Love On Your Side
16. Blancmange - Living On The Ceiling
17. Paul Hardcastle - 19
18. Tears For Fears - Mad World
19. Yazoo - Situation (US 12" Mix)


All the tracks were taken directly from the Ministry Of Sound (hereafter referred as MOS) album except for the following...

Track 02. Restored Kim Wilde's "Kids In America" back to its full length [source: the newly remastered Kim Wilde CD that came out last year on Cherry Pop].

Track 06. Rather than using the horrifically mastered version of Soft Cell's "Tainted Love / Where Did Our Love Go" from the MOS CD, I used my own "Tainted Dust" version that I've been playing for the last couple of years - this is taken from the CD single that came out in 1991 but has had a minute carefully trimmed off the end as the song really does start to drag at the end...

Track 10. Restored "Blue Monday back to its full uncut length. [Source: the "Singles" compilation that came out in 2005. This version is pretty poorly mastered (look up "loudness war" on Google) but it fit volume-wise with the rest of the MOS album and was the best version to use in the limited time I had].

Track 13. Used the full album version of "West End Girls" from the Pet Shop Boys debut album "Please". There was nothing wrong with the 7" version that was used on the MOS album but I had the extra space so made the most of it! [Source: the re-issued version from 2001].

Track 15. As above, I used the album version of "Love On Your Side" rather than the 7" version. [Source: the remstered version from 2008].

Track 19. Restored Yazoo's "Situation" back to the full U.S. 12" version as lovingly remixed by the legendary Francois Kevorkian. [Source: the "Only Yazoo" compilation from 1999].

Finally, at the end of Track 18 ("Mad World" by Tears For Fears) I looped the tambourine a few times so it didn't fade out as suddenly and fit in better with the final track. I also put "Mad World" with "19" as, well, they kinda fit thematically, don'tcha think? ;)


The Eighties night was last night and was a huge success. I pressed up exactly 150 copies of the CD and they all went like hot cakes!! Hope people are enjoying it today. If you've not got one and want one, contact me and I'll post one to you..

p.s. there's an Easter Egg on the CD too. Can you find it? :)

Friday, 16 April 2010

Ministry Of Sound vs DJ Dust :)

I was in HMV last week and spotted the recent Ministry Of Sound Electronic 80s album going for a mere 7 quid so thought I'd snap it up. I've held off purchasing it until now as I had pretty much all the tracks on it in one form or another already so didn't really need it. However, at that price, I figured it was worth a punt and would be handy to have in the DJ box. Plus, I was also curious to know how the album had been compiled/mixed as Ministry Of Sound is a label that you'd expect to be associated with a) quality and b) actual mix CDs.

On playing the album though, I was surprised to discover that it wasn't quite as impressive as I was expecting. Reasons? Well firstly, the album isn't sequenced or mixed in any way whatseover. It's just a load of tracks seemingly randomly thrown together with no thought whatsoever put into how it flows as an album. What's worse is that some of the tracks have had some strange things done to them...

(...before I go any further, I should point out that I'm one of those annoying people who is obsessively nitpicky and anal about little details that would pass by most people (specifically, the casual punters whom Ministry Of Sound is presumably marketing this album at). If that kinda thing bores you, skip the section below and go to the one that starts "Re-making the album Dustie-style!" :) )

Ok, individual track notes...

Disc 1, Track 3
The glorious 12" version of Soft Cell's classic "Tainted Love / Where Did Our Love Go" medley.. On this album it's too slow. You what? Well, having played the track at an awful lot of parties myself I know it pretty well by now and, it just *sounded* wrong to me. Of course, I figured it might just be my hangover-addled brain getting it wrong so I checked side by side with the original and, yep, it's 2% s l o w e r than what it's supposed to be!! For a track that some people (myself included) think goes on far too long anyway, to slow it down and make the experience last even longer seems a very bizarre thing to do!!

Disc 1, Track 13
Kim Wilde's classic "Kids In America". Whoever mastered this decided to chop off 20 seconds from the end and fade it out early. Not sure why as there's plenty of space on the CD. Not massively jarring but curious.

Disc 1, Track 19
Tubeway Army's "Are 'Friends' Electric?" has had a full minute chopped off the end. It quite literally fades out while poor Gary Numan is in the middle of the final verse!? How wude!

Disc 3, Track 3
New Order's "Blue Monday". Butchered beyond belief. They've taken a seven-and-a-half minute song and compressed it into just under five minutes. Yet, there's plenty of space left on the CD to fit in the full version so, why didn't they just leave it alone? Listening to the song, it's actually not so bad for the first four minutes but then, in the last minute you can almost hear the mad panic to end the song as quickly as possible, thus a large section of the song has been snipped out and then, the final slow fade out from the original version has been replaced by a far more rapid fade-out. End end end, quick!!!

And finally, this one is admittedly not *that* big a deal but I'll include it for completeness' sake...

Disc 3, Track 6
The 12" Remix of Yazoo's "Situation" is actually a heavily trimmed version of the legendary *U.S.* 12" remix by Francois Kevorkian. I'd love to hear on CD the proper version that is only available on the old 12" of the "Only You" single but, today is not that day. Ah well.

Is it too picky also to point out that 4 of the tracks on this album aren't even technically 80s records but were released as early as May 1979? It is? Ok, I'll move swiftly on... :)

Re-making the album Dustie-style!

So, anyway, halfway through listening to the first disc of this album when I got it last week, I was rolling my eyes and thinking "I could do better than this myself". So, I'm going to put my money where my mouth is and do it too. I've set myself a deadline of exactly one week today to cook up a single CD that'll have a selection of tracks taken from the same album but do a *better* job with them and create a seamless 80-minute mix. I'm gonna press up exactly 100 copies with artwork and give them away FREE to the first 100 punters through the door at my 80's night at The 12 Bar next Friday, the 23rd April.

Stay tuned for more updates on how it's going!!! :)

Dustie xx