[…continued from last post]
Visage released their 1st compilation album in 1983. After the group seemed to have hit a brick wall with the losses of both Midge Ure and Billy Currie, it made a certain kind of sense to release a singles collection. This happened in 1983 with “Fade To Grey: The Singles Collection.” I was surprised to see this pop up in the US marketplace and I bought a copy, of course. Visage were a potent force for my ears; the next best thing to an Ultravox record, by my reckoning. Sure sure. Steve Strange would never out sing Midge Ure, but Midge could not take a frontman role in the project, by design [and mostly by contract]. So this meant that Steve was the lead face here. The bait at the time was the 1978 demo of the band’s early effort; a cover of Zager + Evans’ late 60s hit “In The Year 2525.” The US LP had credits that several tracks were remixed for the inclusion there, but it was hard to tell with those green ears I had at the time. I always suspected that the US mastering lacked these mixes referenced by the liner notes. I never found the UK LP of this title, but bought a German CD as soon as it became available in 1991.
For a group who were as attuned to the club floor as Visage, a greatest hits album seemed almost perfunctory. With clearer thinking prevailing, this album was revisited, remixed, and issued in Dance Mix format on cassette, but a few copies were also pressed up on a limited edition album with the distinctive red border. After all, was that not what the prevailing aesthetic of the day demanded? The “band” had many of their singles touched by the hand of proto dj/remixer John Luongo, and he was given the brief to make this compilation more club worthy. The dead air between tracks was deemed superfluous. Then most of the 7” versions that predominated on the earlier version of the album were ejected. 12″ mixes, for the most part, were in. Luongo took even these established commercial mixes to different places by re-editing them to create a flow. The segues and cross fades Luongo built into the mix now resembled a night in a club.
A club that only played Visage!
When I wrote the liner notes to my handmade CD of this title, I wrote the following words as my conclusion:
“As Universal seem to have no interest in exploiting this Visage curio, it has fallen to us to do something with it.” – REVO | 2017
And just three years later I was pleasantly shocked to see that I could now eat those words…gladly!
Visage: Fade To Grey The Singles Collection – Special Dance Mix Album US CD 
- Fade To Grey [dance mix] 6:22
- Mind Of A Toy [dance mix] 5:11
- Visage [dance mix] 5:33
- We Move [7″ remix] 3:34
- Tar [original 7″ ver.] 3:28
- In The Year 2525 [original mix] 3:40
- The Anvil [dance mix edit] 4:57
- Night Train [dance/dub edit] 6:24
- Pleasure Boys [7″ ver.] 3:27
- The Damned Don’t Cry [dance mix] 5:37
- Frequency 7 3:05
- Night Train (7″ Remix) 3:42
- Der Amboss 4:37
- Pleasure Boys (Bonus Beats) 5:50
- Night Train (Dub Mix) 5:03
I had not even heard of this dance mix version of the “Fade To Grey: The Single Collection” until the late 90s. Possibly in the pages of “Extreme Voice,” the Ultravox fanzine. Just getting the trashed LP version of this album in the early noughts was difficult. I think I paid >$30 on eBay after getting outbid several times over the course of a few years. It was possibly a dozen years later when I finally played and digitized my copy to CD-R in 2017. The record sounded like it had seen better days. The results I got made me almost consider re-editing the entire album out of higher quality rips of the same 7″/12″ source material that Luongo used to edit the album, but a few hours spent down that rabbit hole convinced me that I had much better uses for my scant time.
Thank goodness I’m lazy because the completely unexpected Rubellan Remasters CD not only has the proper album from a master tape source, but five godlike bonus tracks that were worth the price of the disc alone. Not 100% of the album consisted of the dance mixes from 12″ single. In order to have something that would fit on a cassette or LP, there were a few timing considerations. The short remix of “We Move” was happily used instead of the dance mix. On my LP of this title the recording of “We Move” sounded so poor, that I thought that I had a record with some severe stylus damage on that track. About three quarters the way through the cut, the top end frequencies completely dropped out for the remainder of the song. See the frequency analysis below.It was that occurrence that gnawed at me and made me think of recreating the album from re-edits of rips of my Visage singles instead. The revelation with this CD was that the master tape did the same thing. It was as if two tapes of the song with vastly different EQ applied were spliced together to make the master used. In other words, there was no damage to my record. It had been meant to sound like that. Mastering engineer Scott Davies [who is Rubellan Remasters] confirms this elsewhere.
The original 7″ version of “Tar” was used on this version since there was no dance mix to be had. I finally bought the “Tar” 7″ in the early 90s from a catalog and waited ages to actually play it, and unless you are listening critically, there are only subtle differences between the 7″/LP versions. Probably down to the 1979 single being on WEA/Radar Records and everything else happening after the band signed to Polydor. The band assiduously re-recorded for the album but the key to discerning the differences is that the 7″ fades on a sax solo by McGeoch where the LP version has a piano solo on the fade.
Rubellan Remsaters have made a slight change in removing “Der Amboss” from its track six position [at the end of side one of the LP of this title]. This was down to “The Anvil” being in track eight position. Without the side break, Mr. Davies felt that they were a little close for comfort, and included “Der Amboss” after the album in the bonus tracks. For the most part, slight re-edits of commercial 12″ singles made up this album, but the “Night Train” mix here was a re-edit of the 12″ and dub mixes of this track. As good as it is to have this version of the album on CD [and I never saw it coming] it’s the bonus tracks on this CD that are must buy criteria for the discerning Visage fan.
Next: …Listen To The Frequencies Shift