Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Alan Vega "Station" (2007)

Five years in the making, Alan Vega's tenth solo release, Station [iTunes], is a blistering statement of intent from a rock'n'roll shaman whose work has always stretched parameters, managing to defy expectations at every turn.

As Vega himself says, “Station represents a kind of culmination point for me. It gathers up many of the elements that have been in my previous work and takes them all the way. In many ways, it's my most truthful record in that I'm now at the age where it’s easier for me to listen to my own heart-beat and act on it creatively.”

Station marks the latest decisive stage in a musical journey that began for Alan Vega way back in 1970 in downtown New York. A visual artist and singer, Vega teamed up with the classically trained Martin Rev to form Suicide.

For the past twenty years, Vega's music has continued on its ever-innovative, fiercely uncompromising course. Twice, in 1988 and 2002, he has reunited with Martin Rev for Suicide tours to coincide with the release of albums (A Way Of Life and American Supreme) that found the duo at the full extent of their sonic potency.

Since the mid-80s, Vega has released five solo albums: Deuce Avenue (1990); Power On To Zero Hour (1991); New Raceion (1993); Dujang Prang (1995); and 2007 (1999). These are works of steep, accelerating imagination and intent, supremely innovative in their employment of beats, riffs and electronic dissonance. The intensity refuses to relent on the eleven wildly diverse tracks that make up Station which offers itself as Vega’s most antagonized and politically focussed work to date.

“I guess it is an angry album,” says Vega. “People have always told me that my music is angry. To me, it was always just an energy. It was the way I perceived the world. When Suicide started out, the Vietnam War was going nuts with Nixon dropping bombs everywhere. Suicide was very much a reaction to all the shit that was going on around us. The key Suicide song was Dream Baby Dream which was about the need to keep our dreams alive. I knew back then that something poisonous was encroaching on our lives, on all our freedoms. When I started work on this new album five years ago, it truly felt that that dream was beginning to die. It’s like all the fears I had about the world in the 70s had come true. I’d get so close to finishing the album. Then the world situation kept evolving, my anger kept rising and the music kept moving closer and closer to the heart of the matter. Y’know, people have always said that my work was ahead of its time. But I’ve always believed it’s been right on time.”

Right now, Alan Vega sounds like he’s never been more on time. “I’m hot,” he says. “Hot like a pistol, man.” [MySpace].



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