Alan Vega ‘Insurrection’ previously unreleased album

Alan Vega press photo
Photo by Walter Robinson

Brooklyn-born master of minimalism Alan Vega is today announcing a previously unreleased new album, Insurrection,’ and sharing the video for the lead single Mercy. The video, directed by founding member of Jesus and Mary Chain, Douglas Hart, and featuring models Mateen Ismail and Helena Gawrzyalska, channels themes of movement, duality, choreographed op-art patterns and hypnotic geometric shapes that rival the intensity and vast landscapes of the music. Hart explains: “To underscore the powerful rhythms of the song, the video loops and repeats simple movements, like the repeated opening and closing of doors. The textures of the music are illustrated by using both black and white and heavy colour-tinted images.” Watch the video clip for Mercy via YouTube below.

Due out May 31 via In The Red Records, the 11 songs on Insurrection’ showcase the unparalleled vision and uncompromising force from one of the most influential artists of all time.

On the single Mercy, creative and life partner of Vega and solo artist, Liz Lamere says: “First you hear the primal beat, then the otherworldly Angels bleed. Alan’s fully immersive vocal performance draws you into the collective trauma he was feeling. It brings me back to being in the studio with him and I get chills hearing it. He felt the suffering of the innocents; and yet the music is majestic, conveying their dignity. There is strength and resilience in the sonic embodiment of the souls and how they move. Oh Mercy.”

Vega collaborator, musician and producer Jared Artaud (The Vacant Lots) says: “Mercy reminds me of some of the talks I had with Alan about Free Jazz, when we would hang out and listen to Albert Ayler’s “Spirits Rejoice” and Pharoah Sanders’ “Black Unity” albums together. It has this underlying Jazz spirit in the track that is unlike anything I heard him do before. The track is sparse yet deep and poetic, and shows the minimalist spirit Alan had, where he could always make the most from the fewest elements possible.” 

Alan Vega was born in Brooklyn in 1938. He co-founded the legendary New York City punk band Suicide with Martin Rev in 1970. Suicide’s groundbreaking 1977 debut is considered one of the most influential albums of all time. Vega regarded his solo records the audio counterpoint to his visual art that reflected the world around him while simultaneously exploring universal themes. It makes his work as relevant today as it was when he created them. It was during his highly experimental period beginning in the late 80s that he began working with Liz Lamere, who became the most crucial collaborator of his solo career until his death in 2016. 

Lamere, along with Artaud, resurrected the lost Vega album, ‘Mutator,’ released on Sacred Bones in 2021, which they co-produced and mixed, as well as the newly unearthed collection of lost recordings, ‘Insurrection’, to be released on In The Red Records on May 31. Lamere and Artaud spearhead the Vega Vault project, which aims to bring rare, unreleased and back catalog work spanning Alan Vega and Suicide’s career to the public for the first time.

On the new album, ‘Insurrection,’ Lamere says: “’Insurrection’ was created in the time period around 1997/98, after ‘Mutator’ and prior to Vega’s 1999 release of ‘2007’  and captures the intense energy of NYC in the 90s rife with crime, killing, hate, fascism, racism, and moral bankruptcy. You can hear the tortured souls floating through this album. Post-Gulf War angst still enveloped Alan. He was having premonitions about a major terror attack in the US, well before 9/11. The upcoming birth of his son raised further awareness of the state of our world. All these emotions are mirrored in the sounds he magnetized. And true to Vega form, there remains hope and empowerment coursing through the tracks. In the almost three decades of going into the studio with Vega, we recorded significantly more material than the seven albums released. Vega’s intention was to experiment with sound which would become the canvas for the poetry that reflected his vision of the universe. Because the goal wasn’t to make albums, he had no timeline or constraints and would freely follow new paths uncovered along the way.”

Artaud says: “’Insurrection’ hits hard and shows the power and intensity of Alan Vega’s visionary solo work. It feels like he was trying to break new ground. There’s always a kind of magic that goes into working on Vega’s music. I feel like he was tapped into some other dimension. One hand in the gutter and one hand in the stars. We discovered this cluster of songs on ADATs that were in the Vega Vault, shortly after releasing Vega’s lost album Mutator. Half the time I feel like a producer and the other I feel like some kind of archeologist. It’s an incredible experience working on this material. It feels like this album belongs in the world right now.” 

Vega had a prolific career as a critically acclaimed solo artist: his creative process drew from a myriad of sources, materials and mediums (music, drawing, painting, light sculpture, collage) to express his art. As a musician and visual artist, Vega used text and sound in innovative and incomparable ways. Vega’s visionary and uncompromising approach continues to inspire countless generations through his timeless and influential work. 

A new biography ‘Infinite Dreams – The Life of Alan Vega,’ co-written by Liz Lamere and Laura Davis-Chanin, with a foreword by Bruce Springsteen, will be published on June 18 by Backbeat Books and Lamere will be releasing her second solo album, ‘One Never Knows’, on June 14 via In The Red Records.

Recently, Jared Artaud co-produced alongside Hedi Slimane the exclusive soundtrack – an extended mix of Suicide’s Girl – for Celine’s Le Palace FW23 runway show, released The Vacant Lots fifth full-length album ‘Interiors,’ and is currently co-curating a new Alan Vega art show, ‘Cheap Soul Crash,’ opening on May 16 at Laurent Godin Gallery in Paris.

Alan Vega Insurrection cover artwork

Insurrection’ track list


Pre-order ‘Insurrection’ here or from In The Red Records here

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