Once a composer for daytime television, Ramm was nominated for an Emmy Award in 1992 for a song he wrote for Lauryn Hill's character on "As the World Turns." Euphoria was born about a year later, around the same time that industry-savvy musicians began using the Internet to promote their work. The Internet Underground Music Archive (IUMA) was Euphoria's first online home, and by 1996, the cyber venue had gained such momentum it became the subject of a Time magazine article, which noted Euphoria as one of IUMA's early loyalists.
That same year, Ramm inked a deal with Six Degrees records, and his debut, Euphoria, was released in 1999. A second album, Beautiful My Child, was released in 2001, once again garnering attention from the film and television worlds. The single, "Little Gem," has been used on the hit TV series, "CSI," making its way onto the show's soundtrack, while Apple's Steve Jobs used the track "Sweet Rain" to launch MacWorld 2002.
With its third release, Precious Time, Euphoria takes its sound to new levels, partnering with internationally acclaimed vocalists and producers who make a unique mark on the album's tracks and help create full-length vocal tracks, which will no doubt enjoy radio play in the U.S. and abroad. The most noticeable thumbprint on the album is likely that of drummer/producer Steve Sidelnyk, a fixture in the U.K. music scene who has collaborated with such artists as Madonna, David Gray and Massive Attack. Though Sidelnyk and Ramm collaborated on Euphoria's second album, helping to give it a noticeably modern sound, Ramm says Sidelnyk's influence is much stronger on the latest release. "The major energy of the project did come from [Steve] Sidelnyk," says Ramm. "He really did help me take it to another level. There's no doubt about it."
Tracks like "The Getaway," which Ramm names as one of his favorites on the new release, will have any Massive Attack fan conjuring memories of dark and dreamy electronic hits like "Angel." Also noticeable on Precious Time is the influence of co-producer Sean Spuehler (Madonna, William Orbit, No Doubt), a longtime Sidelnyk collaborator. And Donal Hodgson (engineer for Sting) makes his third Euphoria album appearance as co-producer on the latest release. But just as Sidelnyk lends a very Bristol-influenced electronic edge to the album, harmonica player Howard Levy (Bela Fleck and the Flecktones, Paul Simon) gives it an undertone of Chicago blues, like the distorted sound of Paul Butterfield.
Probably the biggest departure on this album is the inclusion of full-length vocal tracks by singers Tina Dico and Tracy Bonham, whose fourth album, blink the brightest, was released on Zo/Rounder Records in 2005. Dico, highly regarded for her stunning vocal contribution to Zero 7's most recent album, When It Falls, recently released her international debut, In the Red, which was produced by Chris Potter (The Verve). Potter and several other influential industry figures suggested the collaboration between Dico and Ramm, who had both, coincidentally, previously been recording at Metropolis in West London. "I had heard her stuff," Ramm says of Dico. "I just had a feeling."
My music is a 'fusion of forms'...
- Ken Ramm
Going with that feeling led to the inclusion of two vocal tracks, "Blue," a ballad that perfectly balances acoustic and electro components, and the more aggressive, rock influenced "Sinners and Saints," where Dico meanders from deep, sultry tones to high-pitched wails for emotional choral components. The first track on which Bonham contributes, "Precious Time," is heavily influenced compositionally by Brazilian music in terms of its harmony and chord structure, Ramm notes. But the track also marks a distinct shift in the flow of the album, he adds, transitioning it from rock influenced to more of a sensual, dreamy mood. And Bonham, who many know as a critically-acclaimed singer-songwriter and electric-violin-wielding rocker, shows a softer, gentler vocal side with both "Precious Time" and "Anyone Can Lose."
While listeners could easily imagine any of these vocal tracks being featured in an indie film or serving as background music for a television show, Ramm says he was conscious of those mediums favoring strictly instrumental tracks. So additional tracks were mixed without the vocals. Rounding out the album is a 10-plus-minute extended track that mixes 12-string guitar ambiance with Philip Glass-like rhythms and progressive rock influences. Though Ramm's aspirations for Euphoria and for this third release very much include continued work in the worlds of film and television, he is cautious not to create his music solely with any one market in mind. "I am open to all kinds of creativity with Euphoria," says Ramm. "It's not a work of hire. It's a work of heart."