Monday, February 16, 2015

In Memoriam: Steve Strange

Last week, Steve Strange died of a heart attack at the relatively young age of 55 in Egypt (I'm not sure what he was doing there either, no.)  Steve Strange, a.k.a. Steven John Harrington, is the front-man and most visible founding member of Visage, of course, which was the leading edge of the New Romantic movement in the very late 70s--although none of his music was actually released until 1980.

I've talked about it before, but I was led on a merry chase after Visage's eponymous first album on CD (only to have it appear, re-released and with bonus tracks just a few years later).  It's fairly sad; after years languishing as a former pop star, Strange got the name Visage back together again, with a few of the original musicians and a few new guys, and released the album Hearts and Knives in 2013, which has at least a few great tracks.  Actually, just two or three months ago, he released a new album, Orchestral, where he reworks a number of Visage tracks as, as you'd expect from the title, orchestral songs with vocals.  For this In Memoriam post, I thought of posting "Shameless Fasion" or "Dreamer I Know" from this more recent material.

But I won't.  Instead, I'm going to post "Fade to Grey".  You kind of have to, right?  It's by far the biggest hit and best known legacy of Visage.  The song has actually had three singles releases; the first time, as a lead-single, released at the exact same time as their debut album Visage.  This one charted in the top 10 in the UK, and #1 in some continental markets.  It was released again to support a 1993 Greatest Hits compilation.  I have this CD single, although frankly, the Bassheads remixes that it showcases are total bollocks; they're just terrible remixes.  What can you say?  It was 1993.  Club music was going through a real nadir right then.  This also featured the original version of the song (whoop-de-doo, since I also have it on the original CD, on the Greatest Hits CD, and on another 80s compilation too) but I still hold on to it because of the so-called 7" Remix.  This at least sounds like "Fade to Grey", unlike the Bassheads abominations, but with a very notable difference: it trades out the beautiful fragility of the original for a thumpy "club nazi" approach.  I quite like it, actually, but I have to admit that it absolutely does not replace the original; it's just an interesting alternative take on the concept.  It was also re-released more recently as an orchestral single to support the Orchestral album.

The version I'm going to showcase today is actually a bootleg remix by Rob Dust.  If the 7" Remix is a thumpy club nazi version, this one is even moreso, but I have to admit, I really love Rob Dust's trademark very lush and layered aggro remix style.  I discovered him a few years ago with De/Vision's Popgefahr remix albums, where he did remixes for "Ready to Die" and "Twisted Story."  His remix of the latter is possibly my favorite version of any song from that entire affair (although Renegade of Sound's "Plastic Heart" and the Melancholic Mix of "Flash of Light" are up there too.)  He's also done some great bootleg Depeche Mode remixes, and some remixes of some German bands, most of whom I haven't heard of--but because they have Rob Dust remixes, they're among my favorite clubby dance tracks right now.

No comments:

Post a Comment