Sacred Bones Records has released “Nike Soldier,” the first offering from an upcoming lost album from late punk pioneer Alan Vega. Mutator is set to arrive April 23rd.
The album comprises recordings Vega made with frequent collaborator and wife Liz Lamere during sessions that took place in New York City between 1995 to 1996. In 2019, Lamere and Vega’s friend and confidante, Jared Artaud, discovered the tapes and set about mixing and producing Mutator.
“Nike Soldier” isn’t exactly a new Vega cut — an earlier version was released in 2015 on a 10-inch vinyl single from Fuzz Club, with a song from Artaud’s band the Vacant Lots on the other side. On the version for Mutator, Lamere and Artaud deepen the track with heavy percussion while boosting Vega’s vocals and the sinister synths.
In a statement, Lamere said, “In all of his artistic expressions Alan had a unique ability to pull from an eclectic mix of cultural references and turn them on their head. If we asked him to give us a quote about ‘Nike Soldier,’ he’d say ‘Do It Just.’”
Artaud added: “Working on this album, I was blown away by the sheer intensity and raw power of Alan’s ability to transform sound and deliver inimitable one-take vocal performances. ‘Nike Soldier’ is a supreme example of Alan’s unparalleled instincts.”
“Nike Soldier” also arrives with a music video directed by Jacqueline Castel. The clip stars performer Kris Esfandiari, who transforms into Vega in what Castel describes as a “karaoke toe-to-toe set against a reliquary of Vega’s light sculptures and totems from his personal wardrobe, including his famed Champion gloves and beret.”
Mutator, which is available to preorder, will be the first in a series of archival releases from Vega’s vault to arrive via Sacred Bones. Lamere and Artaud will helm the project with creative director Michael Handis.