Visage’s “The Wild Life” Collection – Deluxe, Delightful…And Definitive [disc 7]

Steve Strange Collective | UK | Ltd. CD | 2016 | SSC008

Steve Strange Collective | UK | Ltd. CD | 2016 | SSC008

Disc 7 – Visage: The Wild Life Instrumentals UK CD [2016]

  1. Never Enough (Richard Stone & John Bryan In Prague Instrumental Version)
  2. Seven Deadly Sins Part Two (Instrumental)
  3. Hidden Sign (Tiger Face Flame Remix Instrumental)
  4. Dreamer I Know (Sare Havlicek Remix Instrumental)
  5. On We Go (Extended Instrumental)
  6. Digital Age (Instrumental)
  7. Tightrope (Instrumental)
  8. Your Skin Is My Sin (Antidote Version Instrumental)
  9. Fade To Grey (Tilt’s Nu-Romancer Remix)
  10. The Silence (Original Instrumental)

“Fierce Verve” was the final disc in the 6/7 CD editions which are now sold out. How I love that title – did they ask me for it and then hypnotize me to forget it ever happened? It encapsulates my idea of the image of this band. This 58 minute disc was something of a catch-all for various and sundry items that wee deemed too important to slip through the cracks entirely.

visage---demons-to-diamonds-bonus-AThe Richard Stone + John Bryan In Prague Instrumental Version of “Never Enough” that begins the disc, had reached ears twice before on the bonus CD-Rs bundled with “Orchestral” and “Demons To Diamonds.” I have the latter EP and can vouch for that. The mix is radically different; incorporating both a very “Die Roboter ’91” mix of the track as well as the Prague Philharmonic on strings. It make me wish that Kraftwerk could see beyond their hubris to incorporate an orchestra for some of the lush melody that has been absent from their increasingly sterile music of the last 30-40 years.

visage - lostinstaticUK12AThe second track here was the dancefloor monster of “Seven Deadly Sins Part Two Instrumental Version.” How in the hell was this simply amazing track relegated to the 12″/DL of the “Lost In Fashion” single? It’s one of the killa Visage tracks of all time as previously expounded on here. Thank your lucky stars that at least the instrumental version is on an actual CD. Given that Steve’s vocal presence and lyrics on this song are deliberately minimal, and what is here is all about the riffage, we’re in good hands. Glorious interlocking, propulsive, riffage by The Very Gods of Riff. I challenge anyone to hear this track without moving. It’s impossible!!

The Tiger Face Flame Remix Instrumental of “Hidden Sign” was an instro of one of the new mixes on “The Wild Life.” More instrumentals of remixed followed with Sare Havlicek’s brilliant Vince Clarke styled “Dreamer I Know [Dreaming Of Me]” mix. Then the new “On We Go” extended mix appeared in instrumental form.

Even a Visage B-side got the nod here with “Digital Age,” appearing in instro form. This was perhaps the one new Visage song that sounded the least like my idea of a Visage song. It’s a very conventional late 70s R+B vibe with minimal synth activity, but the bass is compelling and quite funky, so having it without vocals gives it a new life.  Another rarity was “Tightrope [Instrumental].” The song only figured on the DL version of “The Wild Life,” [and disc 2 of this set] so having the song on real CD as an instrumental here does me favors. Especially since just like with “Seven Deadly Sins Part Two,” the song here in question has only the scantest of vocal content. As usual, Robin Simon’s guitar is its own reward. That man went far in making so much of this set worthwhile to my grateful ears.

The Antidote Version of “Your Skin Is My Sin” appeared only on the 2xLP of “The Wild Life/Extended Versions” but it also figured here in instrumental form. I can’t say it sounds radically different from the album version, but undoubtedly I’ll have to invest in that vinyl sooner than later. Far more intriguing was the Tilt’s Nu-Romancer Remix of “Fade To Grey.” First of all, it breaks format by not being an instrumental on this CD! It’s a post-modern remix of the venerable warhorse, “Fade To Grey” with a twist. This minimal electro confection has taken the unique artistic choice of emphasizing the French, female backing vocals of the song and relegating Steve Strange’s presence to his backing vocals on the chorus. I enjoyed the dropout of the beat at the song’s midway point, and the Eurosynth vibe here makes me want to listen to Laid Back’s “White Horse.”

Fittingly, the last track here was the instrumental of “The Silence.” It’s still hard to believe that “Demons To Diamonds” did not feature this song, but at least it’s the last track on the single disc of “The Wild Life” while also being reprised instrumentally here. It marks the end of an era where Visage could become fully reinvigorated to the point of releasing three albums in three years and they were all warm, emotional recordings that were most welcome for a band of their age. The arrangements, production, and playing were a successful bid to get to the roots of the “Visage” sound while taking it to new places and showing evidence of growth. I’ve really become very fond of the final phase of the band and this closet-cleaning set of seven CDs has sufficed to sate my Visage jones nine ways to Sunday… for now. To hear the stories, there isn’t anything else left to release, except for that Steve Strange solo album reputed to be out there in some shape or form.

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About postpunkmonk

graphic design | software UI design | remastering vinyl • record collector • satire • non-fiction
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