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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Long-lost gem gets a deserved reissue
They'll always be best remembered for "Dare", but I still think the Human League were at their best as a 3-piece experimental outfit before their acrimonious split in late 1980. No conventional instruments were used; this album proudly announces in the credits "Contains vocals and synthesisers only". This was released at a time when Gary Numan led the way in electronic...
Published on 1 Feb 2003

versus
0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars good for collection
i like human league so i got this to help build up my collection. its okay but not as good as dare or unlimited orchestra
Published 8 months ago by jason


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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Long-lost gem gets a deserved reissue, 1 Feb 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: Travelogue (Audio CD)
They'll always be best remembered for "Dare", but I still think the Human League were at their best as a 3-piece experimental outfit before their acrimonious split in late 1980. No conventional instruments were used; this album proudly announces in the credits "Contains vocals and synthesisers only". This was released at a time when Gary Numan led the way in electronic music, with John Foxx releasing his first solo LP since splitting up Ultravox (who themselves were finishing off their comeback album with Midge Ure) and OMD delivered their debut, which owed so much to the sounds the Human League had already created.
Recorded at their own cut-price Monumental Pictures facility in Sheffield, the sound of "Travelogue" is much clearer and more epic than on their debut LP "Reproduction", but again with a Kraftwerk influence present throughout. The pulse beat and white noise of "The Black Hit Of Space", with Phil's narrative of a number 1 record that consumes the universe, gives way to the brilliant cover of Mick Ronson's "Only After Dark" (featuring a tremendous vocal performance by Phil Oakey and Martyn Ware).
The album progresses through the epitome of wage slavery in "Life Kills" and the desperation of fleeing from oppression "Dreams Of Leaving" before the League return to their roots with an edited mono mix of "Toyota City", from their Fast Product days.
The second side (the LP was originally only 10 tracks long) kicks off with the rumbling stage favourite "Crow And A Baby" (still can't see what this one was about) and "The Touchables" before an impressive version of the Gordon's Gin TV ad theme. A mighty re-working of the "Being Boiled" debut single comes next, with a vicious electronic handclapping beat and the addition of the "Boys Of Buddha" horn synthesiser. Then the best track (and probably my favourite Human League song of all): "WXJL Tonight", about the plight of a fully-automated radio station threatened with closure due to falling ratings as its soul (i.e. the staff) has been lost. The intro to this song still makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand up; a salutary tale of the perils of allowing technology to take over.
The CD also includes both sides of their disco non-hit as The Men, "I Don't Depend On You" from a year before (complete with female backing vocals - a sign of things to come?) The rest of the "Holiday '80" double single is also here; the "Rock 'N' Roll"/"Nightclubbing" medley which gave them a minor hit, "Marianne" (whose rhythm track resurfaced on the "We're Going To Live For A Very Long Time" on Heaven 17's debut album) and "Dancevision", an instrumental from Ian & Martyn's pre-League days in The Future. There's also the first post-split League single "Boys And Girls" and its b-side "Tom Baker", neither of which are historically relevant to this LP but (despite the first appearances of Joanne & Susanne) sound more like "Travelogue" than "Dare", particularly the latter with its similarity to "The Black Hit Of Space". Not bad, considering the League by this time consisted of Oakey, a synthesiser and the two girls (Adrian Wright hadn't started to play and compose until "Dare").
The electronic bands that followed and had success a year later would definitely have taken this as their template and you really cannot blame them. Great tunes, mostly thoughtful lyrics and a good base to build on; such a shame it all went so wrong for them later in the year when personal differences caused the break-up, but at least it all turned out well in the end...eventually.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars New Moderns, 8 Nov 2012
This review is from: Travelogue (Audio CD)
Just good!
A time capsule of past futures, old futures can sometimes be the right futures.
The Dr who's of modern music. New Moderns!
79's a good year for timetravelling to the future.
Travelogue-ing the synth to bright warm and new colourful sound hues, simply wonderful.

Points of clarification.

Being boiled was eventually a huge hit single in early 82, No.6 uk charts.

Dare is Not the first fully sequenced album (as another reviewer here erroneously states) nor was it the first to feature the linn drum, donna summer used it on the 'Grand illusion' track september 1980 when it was recorded.

There are quite a few albums prior to dare to use all that kind of drum and sequencing techology! And to the fullest.
Reproduction, remains a bastion, of analogue electronic imagery.
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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It had a futuristic cover, lifted straight from Buck Rogers, 15 April 2003
This review is from: Travelogue (Audio CD)
This is the greatest electronic album ever made; The 'Pet Sounds' of the 80s, the analogue equivalent of the Ark of the Covenant... Why? Okay, ready? Let's do it...
Travelogue runs the gamut of emotional lyricism; steeped in comedy (Black Hit of Space), love (The Touchables) & paranoia (Life Kills, Dreams Of Leaving, WXJL Tonight) - more so than what you'd expect from other electronic outfits of the time. And if that's not enough the music is still fresh now; The Black Hit of Space and the re-vamped Being Boiled are laden with rhythms that today would be classed as Hip-Hop and Electro/Techno respectively.
Dreams of Leaving is Oakey as a businessman/politician living in fear at his place of work - trying to escape to a new life to the sound of possibly 4-5 early instrumentals sequenced together. What you get is the most breathtaking track on the album.
The album finishes (on the vinyl version) with WXJL Tonight -where Oakey is the last human DJ in a future society of automatic radio stations. Towards the end as Oakey starts shouting, pleading with the audience not to leave him, you'll feel a chill run down your spine. Listen to the voice of Buddha...
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Seminal classic, 16 Nov 2007
By 
Mr. Warren M. Fisher (East Grinstead, West Sussex United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Travelogue (Audio CD)
The League's finest hour is also a key work in the canon of '70s/'80s electronica and fit to rank alongside Bowie's 'Low'. Worth owning if only for the supercharged reworked of 'Being Boiled', the defiantly bleak 'Life Kills', and the hilariously doomy version of 'Rock 'n Roll. Dark, compelling and endlessly inventive.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great album - good value remaster/reissue....., 1 Mar 2007
By 
M. B. Wilson "crushtrash" (Bristol) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Travelogue (Audio CD)
This is my favourite all-time League album, after risking it on cassette shortly after Dare surfaced and won me over. Unlike the more obtuse Reproduction this album has an eye on commercial success as well as it's tongue in cheek! Maybe a few too many covers for everyone's taste at the time, the sounds created here wrap themselves around Phil's odd yet intriguing lyrics. Practically any League fan knows both versions of Being Boiled, and this album features the proper Stereo re-recorded one (not the stereo-reverbed revamp of the classic mono Fast Version).

This remaster is very welcome, and generally brings the tracks to life compared to the 1990 CD issue. It does occasionally reveal flaws in the source ofcourse (some nasty distortion on chimes in "Toyota City", the odd click or two in "Black Hit") but these are minor. Most of the bonus tracks have remastered brilliantly, including extra hihats in Rock-n-Roll that I'd not really picked up on before. Interestingly the remaster has removed the high-pitched (earth?) noise evident in intro to "Black Hit", which makes you wonder what else may have been cleaned off that track as a result! Why 4 stars? The artwork is not as good as the original CD, seems slightly faded with white edge on the black frame, and worst of all the inner tray lining has adverts for the back catalogue (whilst Reproduction reissue doesn't resort to this tacky insert). This slightly spoils the overall presentation, but hey, it's a bargain and a classic!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Travel - League...., 20 May 2014
By 
Phil C (Nuneaton, Warwickshire) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Travelogue (Audio CD)
If your only exposure to Phil Oakey and Co is the likes of "Don't You Want Me" then their pre - "Dare" material may come as a bit of a surprise: It's more J G Ballard than Giorgio Moroder, as though they're playing with the idea of commercialism rather than being a part of it. Sheffield's answer to Kraftwerk? Yes, but there's a lot more going on here.
I find this and "Reproduction" (their first venture) much more imaginative than their later releases, science fiction meets existentialism via a bloke with a lop-sided haircut - approach with the knowledge that it's hugely camp and tongue-in-cheek and take it from there!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars His mother bought a synthesizer, got The Human League in to advise her..., 11 May 2009
This review is from: Travelogue (Audio CD)
Both epic, in terms of scope and ambition, and personal, Phil Oakey's lyrics often dealt with issues and opinions on the world; this is a quiet masterpiece from the Sheffield-based pioneers of electronica. Different from their later more commercal synth-pop, this was recorded by the band's first incarnation: Oakey, Martyn Ware and Ian Craig Marsh, and is more experimental, more futuristic and utterly thrilling on its first release. The sounds still stand up today, and it's easy to see how the League have influenced a host of modern electro bands.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 9/10, 1 Mar 2013
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J. D. Ruddick - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Travelogue (Audio CD)
the second album by the Human League - still all the original members in the band - a good cd but not quite as good as the first I feel but still worth having - 9/10
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unbelievable progressive for it's time, 10 Dec 2011
This review is from: Travelogue (Audio CD)
Before selling out to commercialism, The Human League produced this astonishing album with tracks establishing themselves as benchmarks in their own right for progressive sound with a dexterity not heard in many other albums at the time or even after. Try sampling "The Black Hit of Space" and "Dreams of Leaving" and you will understand.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must Have., 3 July 2011
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Mr. A. Mehta (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Travelogue (Audio CD)
As a fan of the Human League i only knew them when they released the album Dare onwards I had no idea they were an all male group in the late seventies until i saw the BBC4 documentary Synth Britannia then i decided to buy this album, this is quite different to the material they released in the 80s as this album is more synthersizer music than it is of pop.I would strongly recommend this album to anyone who likes the Human League.
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Travelogue
Travelogue by The Human League
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