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3.7 out of 5 stars10
3.7 out of 5 stars
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on 3 September 2012
At last we have another comprehensively expanded release of cult disco gems on Disco Recharge. As with the preceding release Voyage, I was so looking forward to listening to these after hearing the great sound on the 2009 Discharge releases from Demon Music Group's sub-label, Harmless Records. Included on this new release, amongst other rarities, is the second of rare 1978 special instrumental albums of tracks from this album Fly Away and Voyage, given to DJ's for promotional play.

Again it was to my utter disbelief and my heart sank, when on playing this expanded release I found the recordings have again been ruined by someone after master tape transfer, having destructively altered loudness and EQ levels. After a minute of listening at normal volume level to each track it hurts my ears, gives me a headache and listener fatigue is experienced due to overwhelming loud frequencies. I notice the extremities of frequencies have been clipped and the girls vocals and the base noticeably begin to break apart at times and distorted due to levels made too loud by the mastering. When I turn the volume control down to low background music level, I am unable to turn down the loudness. The levels of the vocals are still 'shouting' and base booming, each of which the sound begins to break up at times.

I then spin the 1978 vinyl pressing and 1993 U.S. CD pressing of Fly Away and my ears no longer hurt, I don't get fatigued. I enjoy hearing the dynamics of the original recordings which can be heard in the 1978 and 1993 pressings, but this has been blasted away in the mastering of the 2012 release. I'm frustrated I can't enjoy listening to any of the tracks on this 2012 release. But I'm not a moaning audiophile. I know when my ears hurt and when I get a headache. I found the same problem with the preceding Harmless expanded release of Voyage - Voyage. I simply can't listen to these CD's without experiencing headache and fatigue. The MP3's of this 2012 release also use the same painful mastering.

I have a volume control on my hi-fi and computer and I like to decide for myself when I can turn the volume up. I shouldn't have to turn volume down by 50% from normal listening volume and still hear vocals and base so loud that at times they break up and distort, giving me headache and fatigue.

Such a travesty when clearly so much time has been spent on source transfers, compiling and detailed informative liner notes for which I'm very grateful to all those involved at Harmless. Lovely to hear from Stephanie De Sykes as backing singer, contributing for an interview in the liner notes for this release, even though it would have been great to hear from main members of the group.

This reduces what would have been an overall 5 star customer rating from me for this release due to comprehensive track compiling, research and value for two discs of content, to only 2 stars.

** Update 12/09/12. It's not a problem due to mastering at Harmless. Notification received that the licensor Square Peg who owns the master rights, and licensed the transfers made by Telemusic in France who provided them, and that the Harmless mastering engineer hardly touched them. The levels were therefore altered before they reached Harmless. In essence this means the transfers were altered before they reached Harmless, which of course should usually be left to the licensee and their mastering engineer to decide how they want the recordings to sound. Sadly this also means the same altered transfers may be used by the master rights owner on compilations in future if kept as reference copies rather than the expense of transferring tapes again **
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on 1 August 2012
Voyage's "Fly Away" is my favorite disco album of all time - in fact, it's one of my favorite albums from any genre, period. The musicianship is stellar, the album full of lush and breathtaking arrangements. The opening track "Souvenirs" is considered by many as THE best disco song ever. The entire album, as a sonic travelogue, is absolutely transportive.

"Fly Away" was reissued once on CD legitimately on the Hot Productions label in 1993, adding "Let's" to the album title and botching the album cover art. Fortunately, the sound quality was okay, but I felt it could be better. In recent years "Fly Away" - along with Voyage's self-titled debut - was reissued again on CD in Russia. Both discs seemed to be of questionable origin, but the original album cover designs were intact and the sound quality was markedly better, sounding closer to the vinyl LPs but with a little too much of a treble boost. (It's hard to tell what sources were used, but I suspect these were taken from vinyl and cleaned up very carefully.) Again, I felt "Fly Away" could sound better.

I was looking forward to this Disco Recharge Special Edition of "Fly Away" because judging from the plethora of bonus tracks and the up-to-the-minute posts on Disco Recharge's Facebook, this - along with the Disco Recharge Special Edition of Voyage's self-titled debut album - was clearly a labor of love.

Disco Recharge did a wonderful job unearthing jewels of bonus tracks. (I never knew there was a 7" mix of "Tahiti, Tahiti", with more echo!) The packaging of this and the previous album are first-rate, with photos of record labels and sleeves complementing the original album cover. Well done!

However, after hearing the Disco Recharge Special Edition of the first Voyage album, I got worried. Though the original tapes were used, the mastering sounded too loud and too compressed with the high ends shaved off. The crisp and CLEAN sound of the original album was gone. How could this be? I daren't point the finger at anyone, but when the CD sounds too different from the original vinyl album AND previous CD editions, something is amiss.

I got the Special Edition of "Fly Away" two days ago. Unfortunately, the original album's seven tracks also got the same compressed treatment. To add insult to injury, the segues between "Souvenirs," "Kechak Fantasy" and "Eastern Trip" are, for the first time ever, jerky and not smooth, interrupting the flow. Obviously flaws in mastering. What's up with that?!

The bonus tracks are of varying quality, but that's to be expected. What is also expected is the original album to sound as good as it always has, but unfortunately that's not the case here.

Also, "Fly Away"'s liner notes are more about backup singer Stephanie De Sykes' disco career than Voyage itself. It's great that De Sykes was interviewed specifically for this reissue, but a backup singer? Really? What about Voyage itself? I'm sure lead singer Sylvia Mason (now Mason-James) was just as available to lend her insights. What about Marc Chantereau? Slim Pezin? Pierre-Alain Dahan? Roger Tokarz? It would have been a treat to hear how these fantastic studio musicians created the magic heard on these albums.

I may sound overly critical here, but I have loved this album ever since I bought the original LP in 1978. I know the album very well, and I expect it to sound as good on CD as it did on vinyl. I am not an audiophile by any stretch, but it doesn't take one to notice how compressed this CD sounds. I am not alone in my criticism; take note of the reviews of the Disco Recharge Special Edition of the first Voyage album here at

Don't get me wrong - I wholeheartedly applaud Disco Recharge's efforts in reissuing gems like these Voyage albums with primo bonus material, especially in this day and age. But why don't they sound as good as they look?
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on 2 September 2013
But the remastering work on this is poor, hurt my ears. This is an excelent album as the original but the remastering work is poor.
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on 22 December 2015
70's music at its best. Is one of my favourite acts from that time. These 3 guys and Giorgio Moroder paved the way to inspired people like Chromeo, Calvin Harris, D. Guetta or Daft Punk. The difference is that Voyage music is warm, does not age and is always a pleasure to replay it. These editions include very good extras and extended versions with a perfect sound.I hope these 3 guys have make a lot of money with their art because they deserve it. No single to highlight the full album is great.
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on 20 September 2015
What a wonderful blast from the past. This is just a great disco album from the late seventies. Music to make you smile with great musicians, and guaranteed to make you get up and dance...recommended.
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on 30 December 2012
Many times before i purchase a disc I read reviews written by others who have already made the purchase . The first two reviews that i read on this site about " Voyage - Fly Away ' made me hesitate before going ahead and buying it despite the objections raised . i already owned the original vinyl issue and also the Hot Productions cd release from the 90's so I had nothing to lose . I knew this recording was ( for me ) possibly the best disco era album ever released . 7 songs all of which transcended most of all the other disco at that time . It is almost impossible to not feel the urge to dance when listening to this album . The musicians in Voyage easily rival their counterparts from the Philly and Salsoul ! I remember spending many nights on the dance floor dancing to this entire album as the DJ often played it in its entirety .
As for this recording , I do not find it objectionable . Outside of some minor equalizing which gave a little too much emphasis to some percussion ( tambourine I believe ) on one of the instrumental versions I am highly pleased with this recording . Whereas it was nice to include the
previously unreleased ( I believe ) instrumental versions , most do not have enough to stand on their own as repeatable songs ( exception being Golden Eldorado and Gone With The Music ) . The first remix by Steve Algorzino was both fascinating and exasperating. The over the top tribal
drumming in the beginning and for a short mid interlude was detracting from the melody , but then he makes up for this with some highlighted strings later in the song that is exceptional . The somewhat subdued piano conclusion was a very nice touch .
I think that the secret behind many of the classic disco albums like " Fly Away " was the use of fully orchestrated backings . It gives the music a full richness that cannot be achieved with synthesizers and electronic instrumentation . And believe me this album is dripping with richness ! I find that much of today's modern dance music is lacking in this respect .
So in my humble opinion I find this to be an essential purchase ! If you were a fan of disco in the 70's and 80's you need to add this to your collection . Its a purchase that you will play over and over again conjuring up memories of years ago . Its truly a shame that they don't make music like this anymore ! Now its time for somebody to find the original masters to Alec Costandinos finest ( Sphinx , Sumeria , Romeo and Juliet ) etc . I see that Disco Recharge is working releasing " Grand Tour - On Such A Winter's Day ". Looking forward to this .
So don't be negatively swayed by some of the earlier reviews . Give it a listen , you won't be disappointed , in fact you will likely become exhilarated by this classic .
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on 15 August 2012
I'm so pleased to have finally found this album on CD: my vinyl 7in of Souvenirs was beginning to show its age. I'm puzzled by the reviews that quibble with the sound quality, since despite usually preferring a good-quality 12inch vinyl pressing above any other format I'm very happy with it, though then again I'm comparing a remastered CD with a very old and rather crackly 45. There are plenty of bonus tracks and I'm sufficiently pleased with it to consider getting the first album in due course. The sleeve notes were interesting - until now I didn't know this classic French disco outfit recorded the album in London. Or that Stephanie de Sykes ever sang disco.
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on 6 September 2012
This is a wonderful version of a long-neglected album. The sound is perfect and clear, obviously great care was taken in assembling the selections, and it's wonderful to have alternate versions and some previously unreleased versions of these songs (especially the Hot Tracks version of Steve Algozino's remix of 'Souvenirs'). A job very well done by the folks at Harmless.
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on 28 February 2008
Have had this album on vinyl since it was released in 1978. Excellent quality recording. Just as good as their first album From East to West nice to get it on CD although it sounds more polished.
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on 1 November 2012
i found this double cd album in ...HMV.....was on sale for £3.00........glad i never paid anymore for it !..........its ok nice clear sound i have to say thou!...luckybear
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