Visage Deluxe Week Commences With A Trio Of DLX RMs From Rubellan Remasters [pt. 6]

postpunkmonk theme week visage deluxe

[…continued from previous post]

visage frequency 7 reissue CD cover

August Day Recordings | UK | CD5 | 2015 | ADAY024

Back in 2013, to herald the second [actually, third] coming of Visage, the great B-side “Frequency 7” was dusted off and reissued as a DL and CD-R. Two new mixes accompanied it, but the experience was bittersweet. I suspect that the release was mastered from vinyl. At the time I was happy to have something other than my vinyl 7″ of it to listen to, but the mastering of the driving and intense track was severely compromised. It sounded a bit dull; as if judicious noise reduction had been applied to the results, and worse of all, it had been brickwalled. Very, very strongly. When we cite brickwalling, here’s the reason why the plug-in was called that as depicted in the waveform below.

2013 mastering of frequency 7 by visage

Ouch. This is a brutal, brutal crime perpertrated upon innocent sound. [click bigger]

Sound like this are why we can’t listen to some recordings as much as we might like the music and performances on them. As you can see, the sound has been artificially boosted to exchange dynamic range for sheer volume. Much of the waveform has been boosted to clipping range.

rubellan remasters visage frequency 7 mastering

This is sound instead of noise [click bigger]

Wow!!! Compare the listening nightmare above with the new remastering by Rubellan Remasters. The sound has been lovingly transferred from an actual master tape. Once can hear all manner of sonic detail here, and only a small percentage of the sound approaches clipping. The rest varies quite a bit in intensity. There are no details obliterated by broadband noise reduction,, and mastering engineer Scott Davies has adjusted the EQ to make for a dynamic and pleasing translation of the master tape. This CD is worth it, for me, simply with the inclusion of this track. But there are more delights to be had here.

visage night train picture disc artThe long sought “Night Train” 7″ remix had been promised countless times and only finally delivered on the “Wild Life” compilation three years ago. But not this well mastered! Then “Der Amboss” was included in the bonus tracks in a 4:37 edit [just like the original album had] that shaved about a minute from the scarce promo 12″ mix of Steve singing “The Anvil” in German. The last 25 years has seen “Der Amboss” getting a fair re-airing on compilations and the more copies of this track out in the world, the better.

various polydor dance classics british edition compilation coverThen a buried treasure that I only found out about in the last three years manifested in the flow. The 12″ of “Pleasure Boys” had the dance mix on it. The 7″ had the edit of that mix. Visage label US Polydor released a four-track dance mix EP in 1986 with cuts by Level 42 and Peter Godwin rubbing shoulders with the “Pleasure Boys [bonus beats];” a 5:50 aggressively percussive dub mix  that was well named. DJs could probably cut a 20 minute version of “Pleasure Boys” in the turntablism era armed with this EP and the original UK 12″ single. I had yet to actually buy this record yet, so this CD was a real treat for the ears.

Finally,  the last track from the “Night Train” 12″ single made its digital debut here, being “Night Train [dub mix].” The brash sax work of Gary Barnacle had helped to make this single the one dose of swagger on the largely dour and matte black “Anvil” album. The dub mix pumps up the energy levels even further with a great Rusty Egan drum solo lasting about a half a minute as he mutates and pushed the rhythm of the track into newer, jazzier, places. The three split second sax samples to release the tension at the end of the solo were pure excitement.

When Rubellan Remsasters released the “Visage” DLX RM in 2018, there was a clamor for more. The disc has sold out two pressings and a third [limited] pressing is on the way to be available again any day now. The idea was to also give “The Anvil” the love that it needed, and that arrived a little over a month ago with the still unbelievable release of “Fade To Grey: The Singles Collection – Special Dance Mix Album” right on its heels. These CDs are selling fast. Rubellan Remasters is a one-man operation who has to finance the licensing to make these CDs on his own. This means that these releases are not available in large numbers to begin with, but as the label experiences successful sales as it assuredly has with the Visage reissue program, the notion that many thousands more of these CDs might reach their audience in the future is not a pipe dream.

The market has spoken and Visage fans are now asking for new and improved copies of “Beat Boy” and of course, the “Beat Boy Special Cassette Remix” version. Then there was also the “Strange Cruise” album. The 2014 Cherry Red CD of this title is still on my want list, but I’ve heard people who do have it claim that it might be sourced from vinyl. Cherry Red does have this “problem,” but Rubellan Remasters could take a reissue of this to new heights I’m sure. So keep an eye peeled in their direction. They have had a busy 2020 in a tumultuous time to be reissuing CDs thus far and it is not slowing down yet. If you have any desire to own this special dance mix album, then buy in haste and toss any future regrets in the dumper.

communist purchase button

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About postpunkmonk

graphic design | software UI design | remastering vinyl • record collector • satire • non-fiction
This entry was posted in Buried Treasures, Core Collection, Designed By Peter Saville, New Romantic, Record Review, Scots Rock and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to Visage Deluxe Week Commences With A Trio Of DLX RMs From Rubellan Remasters [pt. 6]

  1. I find it curious that I still hear Ultravox name-dropped from time to time, but rarely do I ever hear about Visage anymore (your excellent blog notwithstanding). Of the two, I thought Visage was an overall more interesting and enjoyable project.


    • postpunkmonk says:

      desertcurmudgeon – We are all about The Visage @ PPM! The fact that they had what I consider to be a very successful final act form 2013-2015 while Ultravox, flailed [in my opinion] might have a bearing on my feelings. But I love synthrock in all of its forms. Both Ultravox and Visage contributed much vitality to the style thanks to their players and the guiding hands at the wheel. How did Midge Ure find time to sleep back in ’79-’82?!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Richard Anvil says:

    I have a copy of the Cherry Red release of ‘Strange Cruise’ and can confirm 100% that it is from the master tapes and not from vinyl. The reason I can say this is because on the CD release most of the tracks include the drummers count in before the other performers join in, and these were edited out on the vinyl album, so they must have come from the masters. I also must say that the mastering of it was very good indeed. So no need for Rubellan to do that one.


    • postpunkmonk says:

      Rchard Anvil – Good to know that because to this day I only have the “Rebel Blue Rocker” 12″ and “The Beat Goes On” 7″ by Strange Cruise. Even the LP is hard to find. Speaking of count-in, one of the pleasures of the dub mix of “Night Train” was [presumably Rusty’s] exhortation ad-lib at the very last second. Presumably following that drum solo take! But there is still room for a more definitive “Beat Boy/cassette version” that’s very palpable.


  3. Vlad says:

    >make this single the one dose of swagger on the largely dour and matte black “Anvil” album

    The one dose? So no love for “Wild life” as a surprisingly unsung piece of action? I always felt it was quite euphoric (though my definition of “euphoric” may differ from the conventional :) ).


    • postpunkmonk says:

      Vlad – You’e so right. “Wild Life” definitely swaggers if nothing else. But it’s almost an instrumental where “Night Train” is a tight single. At least the last compilation used the title.


      • Vlad says:

        Yes, it was about time this song was highlighted (though yeah, it wouldn’t work as a single). I remember being completely taken by surprise by it: so unlike anything on side B of The Anvil – and leading right into the beautiful Whispers! A very eclectic side B, I think I prefer it to the A-side.


  4. I’m pleased to report that I got my copy of the expanded Visage album last time around, but have now secured the Anvil and Dance Mix Rubellans on order as well!


    • postpunkmonk says:

      chasinvictoria – Smart man, but reading your comments makes it difficult to shop for your birthday gifts!! On the other hand, I guess it’s better to definitively know when you’ve bought something I’ve blogged about. So… thanks. Sort of.


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