the occasional blog page….

Re-releasing ‘Paramusic’, Red Square’s 1975 first album.

We’ve decided to re-release our very first ‘statement of intent’ – the now impossible to find Paramusic tape – back out into the public square again after an absence of many decades. This is the first and only complete re-release of Paramusic in some forty five years*.
Paramusic was originally a self-released (because no record company at the time would touch us with a barge-pole), self-recorded cassette album, sold only at Red Square gigs between 1975 & ‘76.
This complete re-release has been newly edited and mastered by me, Jon Seagroatt, from digital transfers of the original stereo reel to reel master tapes.


The original order of tracks has been preserved, as have many of the original album’s audio idiosyncrasies.
For example, towards the end of track 10, you can hear a friend of the band who was keeping an eye on the tape recorder shouting ‘stop, stop!’ as the tape reel began to run out. On track 8 the sound of me unknowingly treading on the microphone stand, and a door opening and closing as family enter and leave the room, add a nice ‘field-recording’ ambience to proceeding.
There are many others – including Roger casting aspersions on the band’s personal grooming regime of the day, and a guest appearance on vocals by Ian’s dog – which I’ve left in you to discover along the way.


Some of the original tracks had bizarre fade-ins, others ended abruptly. There is amp-hum aplenty, and the occasional scribble of tape hiss. I’ve preserved all such infelicities in this release. They add a nice element of period charm.
The recording technology we had at our disposal in 1975, and our mastery of it, was pretty rudimentary. There was Ian’s Akai 4000 sound-on-sound reel to reel tape recorder, two mismatched microphones, and one microphone stand, so one of the mikes had to be propped up on a fireplace or on a pile of books on a chair. Unsurprisingly, the stereo imaging of some of the recordings is pleasingly non-textbook. I’ve slightly re-balanced some of these, but sought to broadly retain the feel of the originals.


Part of the determinedly DIY Red Square aesthetic at the time was a reaction to the then-current vogue for interminable, lavishly-expensive, over-produced concept albums. Red Square music was totally improvised and in, and of, the moment, (and so took as long to record as the length of each track took to play), and any shortcomings in our recording techniques added a layer of extra audio interest that was as welcome to us as an expensive new keyboard was to Yes.
Whatever happened in the room went to tape. Oddities of the recording process were retained. Capturing interesting music did not (and still doesn’t) depend on the length of the equipment list in a studio or on the cost of the drums, guitars or saxophones.


The tracks on Paramusic mark the transition from Ian and myself working as an experimental multi-tracking duo (1972-74), influenced by the Art Ensemble of Chicago, Terry Riley and dada, (tracks 4, 7 & 8), to our development as a more focused free-music power trio following the addition of Roger’s free-jazz drumming (1974 onwards).

Paramusic is available as a digital download, a facsimile cassette or as a CDr from Bandcamp, or as a facsimile cassette from Discogs.

*Four of the eleven tracks [1, 3, 6 & 10) were included on the 2008 album ‘Thirty Three’, a compilation of Red Square recordings released by FMR Records.

Red Square, 1976

Red Square - Queen's Hotel 1976
Two pictures of Red Square have recently come to light, courtesy of Graham Burnett, showing us in action in one of the tower rooms of the Queen’s Hotel, Westcliff-on Sea in 1976.
For a while, whilst the future of the Hotel was under review, we played a regular gig there – possibly weekly – until it was closed for good and demolished.
I’ve artfully combined the two together to produce one, spectacular – OK, weirdly-perspectived – action shot.
I was alarmed to note my old Selmer bass clarinet wobbling precariously atop the combo next to me…..and then surprised and intrigued to realise that my first bass guitar was propped up against the speaker cab. I have no recollection of playing it on gigs at this time, but the photograph suggests otherwise……
This is what the Queen’s looked like (before being turned into a car park). We used to play in the first floor tower room;
QueensHotel1965

Red Square album launch day: the queuing begins…..

posehaemost-2
A queue forms outside a record store earlier today

For those of you who tend towards physicality as opposed to aethereality as your chosen medium of music buying, and who also have a penchant for the archeology of ground-breaking 1970s experimental avant-metal / free improv / shredding mash-ups – or who wish to develop a penchant for the same – Guerssen Records are today releasing ‘Red Square: Rare & lost 70s Recordings‘ upon an expectant world in both 12″ vinyl and CD formats.
The album contains tracks from a 1976 concert recording and from the last known Red Square rehearsal session in 1978.
You can buy copies in all good record stores (if you can find one, that is), or direct from Guerssen themselves: vinyl or compact disc.
If, on the other hand, you’d like to add to the 50 TBs of mp3s already on your iPod, or avoid the queues, then the album is also available on iTunes and Bandcamp.

Red Square: bouncing back once again…..

It’s very nice to have a project from so long ago see the light of day again, especially as Red Square was – how shall I put it…? –  not widely appreciated at the time.

Through the good offices of uber-networker and ultra-psychedelicist, Steve Krakow (AKA Plastic Crimewave), Guerssen Records are releasing a selection of our 1970’s recordings under the title ‘Rare and Lost 70s Recordings’. It will be available in all known formats….well apart from 8 track, phonograph cylinder, DAT, mini-disc, cassette and shellac, of course…on April 13th, but you can get the digital download on Bandcamp and iTunes as of today.

You can pre-order vinyl or CD copies direct from Guerssen. The vinyl and CD covers will look something like this:

MENT003-RED-SQUARE-LP2

…..and there’s a very natty promo video to whet the appetite on YouTube:

Supernormal Festival 2014

A very good friend of ours, the inestimable Z*qhygoem *, Brighton-based actor, musician, artist, illustrator, animator and playwright, has recently sent us a set of photos, taken by variously by Sue and Clive Craske, of the Red Square set at last year’s Supernormal Festival (mad as a box of frogs, but all the better for it!). Below are a selection of the best:

Jon Seagroatt Red Square 1 Jon Seagroatt Red Square 2 Roger Telford Red Square 1 Ian Staples Red Square 1 Ian Staples Red Square 2 Roger Telford Red Square 2 Jon Seagroatt Red Square 3 Roger Telford Red Square 3 Ian Staples Red Square 3 Jon Seagroatt Red Square 4 Roger Telford Red Square 4

Red Square @ the 2011 Tinderbox Festival

Here’s a recently re-unearthed two minute extract of our 2011 set at the Tinderbox Festival. Due to timing over-runs, we had to cut our set down to twenty minutes, so a lean, spare instrumentation was the order of the day; no electronica, no bass clarinet, no flute. Just guitar, soprano sax and drums.

Boom!

Just like the old days………

Film and visual manipulations by Colin Harrison.