Visage’s “The Wild Life” Collection – Deluxe, Delightful…And Definitive [disc 3]

Steve Strange Collective | UK | CD | 2016 | SSC004

Steve Strange Collective | UK | CD | 2016 | SSC004

Disc 3 – Visage: The Wild Life [The Best of Extended Versions + Remixes 1978-2015] UK CD [2016]

  1. Fade To Grey (Extended Version)
  2. Mind Of A Toy (Extended Version)
  3. Visage (Extended Version)
  4. The Damned Don’t Cry (Extended Version)
  5. The Anvil (Extended Version)
  6. Pleasure Boys (Extended Version)
  7. Tar (Extended Dub)
  8. Frequency 7 (Dance Version)
  9. Shameless Fashion (Extended Version)
  10. On We Go (Extended Version)
  11. Hidden Sign (Extended Version)

When I first wrote about this CD I had no idea at the time that tracks 1-8 were remixed and extended, new recordings made in 2013-2014. Since I had the original 12″ mixes of tracks 1-3, 6, 8 on CD, I didn’t think that this disc was going to have much to offer me! Mea culpa! Let me say that if you had to buy just one of the discs that the Steve Strange Collective released in “The Wild Life” CDX edition, then this CD is the one that’s the minimal must-buy for the cash-strapped.

It opened with a new 8:38 extended remix of “Fade To Grey,” and since that song was the most exacting duplicate of the re-records the band cut, what this seems like is a vintage remix using the multitrack masters from 1980 that had been lost in the mists of time until now. In other words, the true worth of this CD is revealed to be much like the recent Blank + Jones ZTT project; modern remixes using old school remix aesthetics to make new, vintage sounding remixes of much beloved material. Fortunately, for us, the end results range from good to spectacular. The new mix for “Fade To Grey” was more straightforward and less dubby than the familiar US extended dance version from the labs of John Luongo. It doesn’t displace the earlier mix, but stands as a good complement to it. The slow buildup in the intro stands as a delicate contrast to the bolder aspects of the song, which were introduced a bit later.

For “Mind of A Toy,” please erase all memories of the particularly tepid 1981 12″ mix in deference to the superior 6:28 remix here. The buildup was seamlessly integrated into the song as opposed to the less adroit mix elements that never seemed to cohere this strongly on the original 12″ mix.

Since “Visage” was my favorite song from the 1980 album, it surprises even me that I didn’t own the 12″ remix of same until some time in the late 80s when a catalog revealed its existence to my bewildered eyes. Once I mail ordered it, I was left with the best 12″ remix of this period of Visage’s career. The percussion sequencers on the re-recorded version don’t quite cut it for me, so the mix here will not be displacing the original 12″ version, but given that I love the song so much, it’s still exciting for me to have an alternate mix where I can revel in the differences that make this mix so different to the earlier one. One can never have too many mixes of a favorite song! The middle eight here has great parity between Steve Barnacle’s bass and the synths. Speaking of which, I love the foghorn synths just before the drum breakdown in the outro.

Then it was time for the ridiculous overkill winning mix in this whole project. If the rest of this CD had been dog meat, I’d still have considered it a win just for the new 12″ extended remix of “The Damned Don’t Cry.” This has long been my favorite song from “The Anvil,” but the original 5:45 12″ version of this song was always inferior to the LP mix to these ears. I especially disliked the clumsy minor key middle eight stitched into the mix like a third arm. No such problems here as this “Damned” is filled with an unerring drive and direction. The train rhythms here sound tighter and crisper than the original mix; bringing the song closer to some sort of ideal between Kraftwerk and Giorgio Moroder. The 7:43 mix has ample time to flaunt its superiority and I love the drop in the final third where the motorik pulse overlaid with heartbreaking melody brings it edging closer to Japan’s “European Son” territory. This song has always been amazing but it’s been mixed so delightfully here that the song’s flame burns brighter than ever before.


There’s so much here to discuss, we’ll have to return later for round two.

About postpunkmonk

graphic design | software UI design | remastering vinyl • record collector • satire • non-fiction
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2 Responses to Visage’s “The Wild Life” Collection – Deluxe, Delightful…And Definitive [disc 3]

  1. Echorich says:

    This CD just floors me!
    Fade To Grey Extended Version just transports me back to that time when songs like this just sparked my imagination.
    I agree that the new Mind Of A Toy Extended Remix is now the only remix to concern myself with! There’s such a deftness of hand in the creation of this remix. It is “Vienna worthy.”
    The New Mix of Visage has wonderful synth percussion. Robin Simon’s very mannered guitar gives the song some new muscle. Bryan and Havilcek give the song the production it always deserved.
    Damned Don’t Cry is everything you said Monk. Moroder – check, Kraftwerk – check, Japan – check, check, check!! But the keyboards!!!! They give the song new life!


  2. tim says:

    Fun read, thanks. I am not interested in buying this set but I had fun reading this installment of your review.


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