Jun 2024 30

Album CoverAlan Vega
Album: Insurrection
Category: Avant-Garde / Experimental / Industrial
Label: In the Red Records
Release Date: 2024-05-31
Author: Ilker Yücel (Ilker81x)

Listening to the latest posthumous album from electropunk pioneer Alan Vega, it’s difficult not to be awestruck by the prescience of his sonic and lyrical artistry. Of course, much of this is due to the inherently cyclical nature of mankind’s history, seemingly condemned to repeat the same mistakes; nonetheless, Insurrection could not have arrived at a more suitable time, its very title evoking memories of that day in January 2021. And before you start to think that this is an author’s interjection of meaning where there isn’t any, it must be said that Vega had throughout his entire life and career dealt with the tumult and turmoil of the world, his New York roots in art and music serving as his megaphone to address these issues. Such is the case with Insurrection, which although recorded in 1997-1998, remains sadly relevant.

From the early days of Suicide to his solo output, Vega’s sound has always been driven by an outsider avant-garde mentality, wherein sustained drones of electronic noise and mangled samples scrape through the speakers like sonic daggers on the concrete roads of Brooklyn – very eerie in their affect and often plunging the listener into an aural representation of the psychological backdrop of a torn world. For instance, the bass of “Cyanide Soul” pulsates like the slow whir of a helicopter’s rotor blades, the monotonous rhythm hypnotic as if in an entranced state of self-destructive reflection, while the whistling feedback and grimy drum loop of “Chains,” the almost jazzy tension of “Mercy,” and the subtly mechanical and steely disquiet of “Genocide” are made all the more harrowing by the vocals. Vega’s voice bellows and bursts like spent shell casings, rarely allowed to indulge in melody beyond those few odd moments when traces of his baritone croon peak through; such is the case in “Murder One,” those sparsely sung moments offering brief respite from the infernal, primal fury of his howls. Like a street poet on PCP, lines like “Yeah, the poison’s working” on the opening “Sewer,” and “The cretins come… with savage signs. Who should we kill today?” in “Crash” hit with acerbic fervor.

Lovingly produced and mixed by Jared Artaud and Liz Lamere, Insurrection may have been written nearly three decades ago, but Alan Vega’s words resonate just as poignantly today, if not more so. As stated, his longstanding themes concerning the plight of innocent people suffering at the whims of some nebulous authoritarian power are in full swing, sadly bearing repetition throughout human history. Poet, prophet, provocateur… Alan Vega was all of these and more – Insurrection is the proof.
Track list:

  1. Sewer
  2. Invasion
  3. Crash
  4. Cyanide Soul
  5. Murder One
  6. Fireballer Fever
  7. Genocide
  8. Chains
  9. Jet Lord
  10. Mercy
  11. Fireballer Spirit

Alan Vega
Website, Facebook, SoundCloud, Bandcamp, Instagram
In the Red Records
Website, Facebook, Bandcamp, YouTube, Instagram

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