Monday, October 28, 2013

Red Square

Photo: Jason Annette Bening Warner

Red Square is a remarkable, pioneering British group that was originally formed in 1972, broke up in 1978, before re-forming in 2009 as a result of renewed interest in the band’s ground-breaking bridging of the worlds of psychedelia, metal and avant-jazz.

Pre-dating Sonic Youth by seven years and the Thing by twenty five, Red Square’s railing aural assaults were once considered too extreme for commercial release.
Jon Seagroatt, Ian Staples & Roger Telford continue to deliver free-form avant-metal through very big speakers.
Red Square also run the annual one day Tinderbox Festival of experimental music in Cropredy, Oxfordshire. This year's Festival will be held on Saturday 16th June.

'The ten tracks on ‘Thirty Three’ would sound new even if they hadn't just been remastered and re-released. For a start, they sound uncompromisingly loud, with a momentum and urgency that confronts the listener like an imminent stampede.

…..angular electric guitar lines, precipitous and surly, lay chaotic foundations for rasping woodwind and frenetic drums to chase one another round. Pauses are few and solos almost non-existent: guitar and saxophone, or bass clarinet, occasionally come together in shifting harmonies like a punk take on Terry Riley. 

John Cage coverage in Nightshift magazine

Low-end, atonal riffs kick in, closer to King Crimson or Black Sabbath than the era's touchstone for improvised electric guitar, Derek Bailey, although his presence can be felt in the wide intervals, the scribbles of noise and feedback. Cymbal crashes pile up like debris; clatters of unlikely percussion amid rolling, fluid full-kit playing. There's a scrawl of violin. It's loose, unself-conscious, psychedelic music with the kind of gonzo charge that followed in the 1990s.

Phil Todd's Ashtray Navigations springs to mind, as does Mick Flower and Neil Campbell's Vibracathedral Orchestra.
……a raw, ecstatic DIY transcendental music, I also hear contemporary sax-led noise bands such as Zu and the Thing, who rejoice in the instrument's noisiest possibilities. ‘Thirty Three’ could be on Load or Smalltown Superjazzz'.

Frances Morgan, 'Red Square and Southend', Loops, issue 02, April 2010.