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Red Square: Thirty Three (FMR)

This pioneering British group recorded these track in the 1970s, pushing free improvisation and experimental music, in their day performing alongside Henry Cow, Red Brass and Lol Coxhill.

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product information:

UPC: 649849983152

Label: FMR
Catalog ID: FMR 262
Squidco Product Code: 11990

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 2008
Country: Great Britain
Tracks 1 to 4: Originally released on cassette-only album 'Paramusic', 1975. Tracks 5 to 8: Recorded live at Lindesfarne Hall, Southend, Essex, 26.10.1976 Originally released on cassette-only album 'Circuitry'. Tracks 9 & 10: Rehearsal tape recorded at Trevor Taylor's studio, Essex, 10.03.1978. All tracks re-mixed and mastered by Jon Seagroatt.


Jon Seagroatt-bass clarinet & soprano saxophone

Ian Staples-guitar & violin

Roger Telford-drums & percussion

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track listing:

1. paramusic 1 10:15

2. paramusic 3 4:10

3. paramusic 6 6:16

4. paramusic 10 9:06

5. circuitry 2 7:06

6. circuitry 3 8:45

7. circuitry 5 5:54

8. circuitry 6 3:21

9. nakamichi 4 5:38

10. nakamichi 5 5:48
sample the album:

descriptions, reviews, &c.

"The release of this album documents a remarkable, pioneering British group that formed in 1972 and broke up in 1978. The material on 'Thirty Three' was recorded between those years, but was considered too extreme for release at the time. Red Square consisted of Jon Seagroatt (amplified bass clarinet & soprano saxophone), Ian Staples (guitars & violin) and Roger Telford (drums & percussion).

The groundwork for what became the Red Square sound was laid when Jon Seagroatt & Ian Staples began a musical collaboration in 1972, following encounters at a number of experimental music workshops. Staples, fresh from the London underground scene, was working with tape multitracking, noise, psychedelia and action painting. His electric guitar playing was a revolutionary blend of Hendrix and Beefheart, with the sonic palettes of Derek Bailey and Stockhausen. Seagroatt drew freely on free-jazz, minimalism and groups such as Can, Faust and Soft Machine. Both were heavily influenced by developments in contemporary 'straight' music. From the beginning of their collaboration they determined to improvise all of their music.

Within a year they found a kindred spirit in drummer Roger Telford, a committed exponent of the free-jazz style of kit playing being pioneered at the time by Milford Graves and Sunny Murray. The combination of electric guitar, amplified bass clarinet and drum kit gave Red Square a unique sound palette to explore, as well an instantly recognisable group sound. The line up of Seagroatt, Staples and Telford remained the same throughout the band's six year history, as did the original commitment to total improvisation, but, given the group's wide range of influences, their improvisations drew as heavily on avant-rock as they did on jazz or contemporary improvised music. Staples became adept at unleashing cunningly atonal guitar riffs which referenced metal without ever becoming metal. These onslaughts were critiqued and counterposed by Telford's coruscating polyrhythms. Seagroatt moved between the two, weaving a sinuous cats-cradle of fractured melody in the liminal space where metal met jazz.

Live, the group were often punishingly loud (one story recounts that a Red Square set drowned out Cliff Richard who was playing at a venue half a mile away!). Despite the support of luminaries such as Miles, then writing for NME, they frequently enjoyed a combative relationship with audiences. Their enthusiasm for playing inappropriate venues (including folk clubs and pub-rock dives), and their willingness to engage forcefully with hecklers led to a number of hurried back- door exits from gigs, and presaged the arrival of punk a f ew years later. Red Square played innumerable gigs (four in one day on one occasion!), benefits and student occupations, supported Henry Cow, Red Brass and Lol Coxhill, and were active in Music For Socialism."-FMR

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