Boomkat Product Review:
Recorded in 1995-96, "Mutator" is Suicide don Alan Vega's attempt to reflect the energy of East Coast rap, draping his words around loose beatbox rhythms and industrial ambience. Unique, powerful and absolutely bonkers.
'Mutator' is the first in a series of archival releases from the Vega Vault. Vega was a ridiculously prolific artist, and many of his records were shelved not for any reason in particular, but just because he was writing so much. He penned "Mutator" alongside his regular collaborator Liz Lamere, who handled the synths and drum machines while Vega manipulated the sounds and added words.
The recordings from this session were dug up by The Vacant Lots' Jared Artaud in 2019 and were subsequently mixed and mastered by Lamere and Artaud. The resulting album is a window into Vega's mind in that era; he was fascinated by the sound of New York's streets, and pre-gentrification that would have been traffic noise, police and hip-hop.
These sounds are the backbone of "Mutator": funk-fuelled machine beats, wailing siren synths and surrealist rhymes that echo the cadence of 1990s rap. It's music that feels a million miles from his relatively poppy 1995 full-length "Dujang Prang", and shines a spotlight on a fearlessly creative mind operating in one of New York City's most fertile time periods.