I have often wondered how artists lose albums, like an accountant might make a rounding error. Isn't studio time expensive? Aren't they asked for receipts? Are there ever even entirely lost albums or has some studio nitwit kept all the bits of outtake tapes in their sock drawer forever, and they were never lost to begin with?
Alan Vega is a legend to all that walk in his shadow. Which is a great many. His work with Suicide cannot be understimated in any way. Mutator is a legendary lost album and for the uninitiated - possibly quite a few people under 50, look to enjoy discombobulated vocals, dissonance, whaling in the dark, 80s heavy synth driven rock, industrial sounds remastered for a post industrial world.
Welcome to your world of dark satanic mills, unpleasantly billowing smoke stacks, glowing piles of slag, smoking rivers, it’s all here in this dark deeply bleak slice of rebellion.
If you need a pop reference, think rawest, visceral, Joy Division meeting the sounds of a radical Heaven 17, pre disco stars.
Mutator was recorded alongside Vega’s longtime collaborator Liz Lamere at his NYC studio from 1995-1996, and it serves as a document of a particularly fertile time in his creative life.
“Our primary purpose for going into the studio was to experiment with sound, not to ‘make records,’” Lamere recalls. “I was playing the machines with Alan manipulating sounds. I played riffs while Alan morphed the sounds being channeled through the machines.”
Vega has Scott Walker swaggering into the path of German Metal bashers. The message, radical and timelessly so, maybe more so right now. The music, confrontational, the sense - despair, and real deep rage, forget the incoherent pubescent booze fueled thrash and bash of LA clash grunge, this is real rebellion, and real anger.
Will it sell ha,ha,ha, no bloody chance, will it expose Vega and his Suicide catalog to a legion of new fans? Nope. Will many people get through the first bloated beaten up Elvis minutes of the opener, Trinity? Unlikely.
This music remains a testament to anger, and is therefore the rare essence of rocknroll in its remains. In its cremated flesh. Mutator is a prospectus for the truly dispossessed, the recently buried that refuse to rest peacefully. That is its magical transmission.
Here is a record from an artist with an agenda. Will this agenda change a damn thing? Sadly no. But it is vastly entertaining while it tries.