REVO Remastering: Visage – Fade To Grey The Singles Collection – Special Limited Edition Dance Mix Album [part 2]

[…continued from previous post]

Since there were distinct stereo panning effects in the records, it was an easy matter to determine that, yes – on side two of the “Fade To Grey” Dance Mix album, the entire side reflected having its channels reversed during production. I double checked among the two distinct CDs I also had of this title, and every one except the red banded cover was the correct stereo spread. So I worked from the corrected audio file of the second side.

From that point onward, I only had to set markers and cut/paste individual tracks into new documents and save them to have each song ready to write to CD-R. Then the next point was to design the cover art. With a straight “reissue” of a discrete title with nothing added, it is as straightforward as this sort of thing ever gets. All I had to do was to replicate the packaging and information. Which is not to say that it wasn’t work. The cover art was a little beat up [not unlike the record] with a VG, at best, cover. So I scanned the cover art and realized that the small text [much of it 6-8 points in size] was pretty badly banged up. This would require heavy reconstruction.

A highly accurate re-creation of the back cover… good thing I had the right fonts! Click for way bigger.

So I simply re-created the cover in Adobe Illustrator. Simple enough to do, but tedious, as the very persnickety typesetting [all set flush to the type’s cap line] was not easy to achieve even on a computer 34 years later. Thank goodness for paragraph styles! In cases like this, re-making the layout rather than working with scans is so worth the extra time spent. There was no need of a booklet since the original album had only a plain inner sleeve. Everything was on the front/back cover. I added liner notes on the inner gatefold to the cover insert and wow, we were done pretty quickly. I sat on this one for several months as I had other irons in the remastering fire that took precedence.

And now it’s done… yet while reviewing it for this posting this week, I found myself hemming and hawing over the sonics. It’s not that ClickRepair damaged the audio. Far from it! It removed the plethora of pops like the pro that it is. And the edited in intro to “In The Year 2525” sounds flawless. No, what nags a me now is the simple quality of the vinyl used. Are you familiar with well-played albums that have sustained stylus damage> This one sounds like it happened. The record plays without skipping, but has patches where it goes all dull and fuzzy. On “We Move” the song’s last third sounds like someone did some diabolical things with the EQ of it. No, this should not be what it ultimately is. There’s a clean, but difficult way forward that will deliver a remaster of this title that sounds entire realms better.

What I have to do is re-produce the album mix using my highest quality sources.

In effect, I will be doing what Steven Wilson of Porcupine Tree does when he remixes an album like “In The Court Of The Crimson King.” He goes back to the individual master tracks and re-mixes and balances the result to take the new masters to their utmost in generational quality. All while doing his level best to replicate the mix, EQ and balance of the original mix. Tedious? You bet! But I’m not the Post-Punk Monk for nothing! To date I’ve re-produced two 7″ mixes from CD sources using my two-track environment. JAPAN’s “The Art of Parties” 7″ mix and the UK 7″ mix of “Autobahn.” In both cases, I had trashed copies of the 7″ records to emulate, and the end result was several hours invested to match the edits that were made to the master tape originally to result in these 7″ mixes. Of course, the end result sounded fantastic.

This will be similar. I have the following tracks on CD:

  • Fade To Grey [Dance Mix]
  • Mind Of A Toy [Dance Mix]
  • Visage [Dance Mix]
  • We Move [Remix]
  • In The Year 2525 [Remix]
  • Pleasure Boys [7″ Ver.]

These are simply mixed/cross faded into the adjacent tracks. At most a few panned beat loops will need to be performed to replicate the LP flow. Then there are tracks I need to take from my clean vinyl copies.

  • Tar [7″ Ver.]
  • Damned Don’t Cry [Dance Mix]

There is the “Tar” original UK 7″ version on the “Wild Life” compilation, but that single track was brickwalled, so I will rather use my copy to work from. Things will get more complicated on these three tracks.

  • Der Amboss [4:34 edit]
  • The Anvil [5:04 Remix/Edit]
  • Night Train [6:24 Dance Mix]

I have “Der Amboss” on CD, but the mix on this album is a vastly different edit. After listening forensically last night and labeling every few bars distinctively in my two track editor, I suspect that I will also have to use the instrumental version of “Der Amboss,” which I have on CD on this album [see R] to re-create what this album had at the end of side one. Similarly, the edit of “The Anvil [Dance Mix]” as appears here will be re-edited from the 6:14 12″ mix, which I lack on CD. It’s been so long since I have played the 12″ of “Night Train” from vinyl, that I’m suspecting that this mix was edited from both the 6:07 Dance Mix and the 5:02 Dub Mix, which I have on 12″ single.

Join us again in another month [I hope] to see if I’ve cracked this case or have descended into madness. I will try to replicate “Der Amboss” first and if that doesn’t happen, I guess I have to table this notion… or buy another, better copy of the album.

…To Be Continued…

 

About postpunkmonk

graphic design | software UI design | media design • record collector • satire • non-fiction
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16 Responses to REVO Remastering: Visage – Fade To Grey The Singles Collection – Special Limited Edition Dance Mix Album [part 2]

  1. Gavin says:

    That artwork looks superb!
    I have always loved the colours and design of that album sleeve,not to mention the stunning photo of course.

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    • postpunkmonk says:

      Gavin – When I scanned the cover, I had to paint out the top right corner since I was re-typesetting the title copy. It wasn’t too difficult, though. We’ll see how re-creating the unique edits of the actual music goes. I did this for an hour last night before bed and I was so wound up considering the variables that I had trouble dropping off to sleep.

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  2. Shelf says:

    Fascinating insight into your restoration processes, both audio and visual. The original version of this excellent compilation has always been one to beat, in terms of sleeve and sound (although 2010’s “The Face” is a contender – the Michael Gray remix of “FTG” is brilliant). I’ve never come across this special edition, and while vinyl copies remains rare and pricey, the cassette may be purchased for a pittance. What are your thoughts on digital transfer of tape sources?

    Also, are you aware that the 7″ edit of “The Art Of Parties” is available on this compilation?
    https://www.discogs.com/Various-Dance-The-Alternative-2/release/364805

    Sound quality is quite good, as well – likely taken from the master, not vinyl.

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    • postpunkmonk says:

      Shelf – Tape carries several compromises that are unique to the format, but the potential can be there. The quality of commercial tapes was always lower than records. This was down to cheap, normal bias tape as well as the non-real time speed at which cassettes were duplicated. Recording your own tape at 1:1 on a home deck yields far better results.

      A record has better dynamic range. The number one achilles heel to commercial tapes is the fact that commercially duplicated tapes soon develop binder squeal when the adhesive used to bind the iron particles to the tape itself dries out with aging. Binder squeal screeches over the music on playback. Such tapes cannot be digitized without first baking them to re-set the adhesive; a dicey process I’ve yet to try. Five years ago I bought a tape of NME tape #4 [“Mighty Reel”] that was still sealed in its cellophane wrapper and that bad boy was mint and flawless in defiance of its 30 year age. Its story is on the blog if you search.

      Another, lesser problem involved foam pressure pads instead of the metallic spring kind, but this is easily remedied by placing the tape in a new shell that has them.

      Finally, some cheaper commercial tapes don’t even have a slip sheet much less one coated with graphite. Just reels placed in the shell! That can be also fixed by replacing the tape in a new, higher quality shell that has one.

      I did not know about the JAPAN track on that compilation but as I see, this Belgian delight from 2000 does not come cheaply.

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      • KeithC says:

        Fascinating indeed; I also agree that the artwork looks great. What font(s) were used?

        I can confirm the squeal / foam pad issue you note PPM. My Canadian Love Glove cassette and Fashion Fabrique are prime examples of both issues. Of course none of my remaining 60-ish cassettes suffer except for these 2 spec ed versions.

        Kudos for the last batch of posts BTW. Not enough time to reply with anything of merit but great reading nonetheless. Your lunch time posts work well with the time zone so I can look forward to my lunch break.

        Like

      • Shelf says:

        Well, you could have just said “Cassettes suck!” and there would be no debate. However, I knew I could depend on you for a detailed and well-reasoned response :-) I’m now recalling how engaging Dolby Noise Reduction on my old Walkman would reduce background tape hiss, but also dramatically muffle the sound. The switch to vinyl came after a commercial cassette broke (pressure pad popped out), although another one unraveled in the car player. And yet another in the home stereo. Cassettes really do suck.

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        • postpunkmonk says:

          Shelf – “Cassettes were the MP3 of the 80s. for the Walkman® Generation” There. You can quote me on that! I was never a part of the Walkman® Generation. While I always recorded every album onto a cassette for listening, those tapes only got played at home. I tried a Walkman® knockoff for a week or two. A) I didn’t like being cut off from my surroundings, and B) the cost of batteries would have gotten prohibitive! I would not have been able to afford more vinyl!

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      • Shelf says:

        By the way, just read your post about that old NME tape – great read. I love discovery stories like that – finding a white whale, as it were. Thanks Monk!

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  3. zoo says:

    Seeing the names “Currie / Ure / McGeoch” together in the credits makes my heart yearn for what else could have been created by those three. Not that Visage is anything to sneeze at, but it’s Strange’s vehicle, and the music fits a certain template. Given a blank slate, I wonder what they could have done. I’d even wonder what Currie and McGeoch could have done on their own, but someone needs to sing and write lyrics I suppose.

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    • postpunkmonk says:

      zoo – Hmmm. Currie/McGeoch album would have been a Post-Punk scorcher, methinks! That first Currie album with Derek Forbes guesting on just one track was superb. Imagine what he could have done with the Mighty McGeoch on board! I say forget lyrics/vocals. It would have been marvelous. Alas, all we can do is imagine at this late date.

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  4. MathManDan says:

    I have a pristine copy of this vinyl, I bought it new in 1984 and have treated it carefully ever since. I could digitize it and send you the files if that would help with your project. BTW my copy has a printed inner sleeve with some notes about Visage.

    Like

    • postpunkmonk says:

      MathManDan – That is an intriguing offer and I may take you up on it if this latest thread is inconclusive. My regular copy of this album has liner notes on the inner sleeve. Words about how Visage will continue as a live act. Is that what’s on your inner sleeve? Maybe the dealer I bought mind from substituted a plain inner sleeve.

      Like

      • MathManDan says:

        Yes that sounds like the same inner sleeve. I didn’t think to compare to my copy of the regular pressing. Perhaps that’s not original, I might have slipped it in there if I had an extra one for some reason. Those memory cells have since died!

        I have a very thorough Visage collection if there’s anything you’ve been trying to hunt down…

        Like

  5. Gavin says:

    I’m sitting here seething with jealousy-no printed inner sleeve with mine!

    Like

    • MathManDan says:

      No seething needed, I’m pretty sure the printed inner sleeve is from my regular, blue-bordered version of this album. I had put the vinyl in a poly inner sleeve instead of the inner sleeve it came with, and it looks like I slipped the (empty) printed inner sleeve into the red-bordered version instead of the blue one. My mistake!

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