A re-release appears momentarily amidst the global blizzard of output from our Stakhanovite cultural workers……

I used the above as a social meeja header recently to announce the reissue of Red Square material from the ‘70s.

I like this sort of tone much more than the too often seen ‘really excited to share’, or the really, REALLY horrible ‘This’.

It sidesteps the breathless faux-excitement of ‘brand ambassadorship’, but contains an often-shuffled-off-into-an-unregarded-corner kernel of truth. Namely that there really IS a blizzard of creative output that has been made apparent by the arrival of self-publishing platforms.

However, in almost every way this is (a) good and (b) only to be expected, given what clever little monkeys we are.

Let’s face it, creativity is about the only thing we’ve ever been any good at. There have always been things out there with bigger teeth, faster limbs, greater strength, or a pair of fangs brimful with venom. What we’ve lacked in those departments, we’ve had to make up for by combining together, and asking questions such as ‘what can we do about those big buggers out there with the massive teeth?’ Instantly, creative solutions would be proposed; ‘Saaay, what about dancing round in the manner of one of the massively toothed ones in order to become a massively toothed one in spirit oneself. Would that help…..?’

‘Well, it might just distract the massively toothed one long enough for the rest of us to make a run for it…. So, yeah, why not? Give it a go’.

Once the creative dancer had been satisfactorily consumed, the rest of the ancestors would once again put their heads together, and come up with some new creative ideas…….

Anyway, the result of so much stuff being produced by so many people across the globe means that your particular bit of stuff is likely to appear and be gone in the blink of an eye. One mote amongst billions….

Having a few archival things to upwhaft to Bandcamp at the moment, I just couldn’t resist using the Stakhanovite trope again for another release, this time with a jolly Photoshopped illustration:

On hearing of the release of ‘NeverNeverLand’ by Red Square Electric, the global battalions of cultural workers briefly pause their ceaseless toil in the culture mines to hold a 15 millisecond March Of Comradely Joy’.

By the bye, if you happen not to be a Soviet-era Kremlin watcher, you might be unfamiliar with the term ‘stakhanovite’. Here’s a bit of useful Wiki regarding the celebrated Soviet worker, Aleksei Grigorievich Stakhanov, and the movement that he inspired.

Re-releasing ‘Circuitry’, Red Square’s live album from 1976.

To complement the recent re-release of our 1975 album Paramusic, we’ve also re-released our 1976 second album ‘Circuitry’ in full too.
Like Paramusic, Circuitry was originally a self-released, self-recorded cassette album, sold only at Red Square gigs.
This is the first and only complete re-release of Circuitry in over forty five years*.
The album is a recording of our set from a 1976 arts festival concert in Southend, where we supported Henry Cow and Lol Coxill.
This complete re-release has been newly edited and mastered by me from digital transfers of the original stereo reel to reel master tapes.
The front cover of this release is a facsimile of an original 1976 Circuitry cassette.
The original order of tracks has been preserved, but I’ve edited out all of the between-tunes applause apart from after the very last track, where you can hear a bemused local radio compère, clearly totally at sea with the kind of music he was hearing, say ‘well there we are, ladies and gentlemen; Red Square’. The term became a favourite catch phrase of ours; the common expression, ‘well, there we are’, once spoken being inevitably rejoined with ‘ladies and gentlemen; Red Square’.

By 1976 Red Square was probably at its zenith as a power-improv trio. We had retained our commitment to total improvisation, but the violin, soprano sax, toys, bells & whistles that were present on Paramusic had all been discarded. I was by this time playing (amplified) bass clarinet exclusively. It was still a pretty unusual instrument in 1976. There was a very small roster of well-known players (John Surman, Eric Dolphy), and there was me. I frequently spent some time post gigs explaining to interested parties that, no, the instrument actually wasn’t a really unusual sounding, weird-looking type of sax, but was, in fact, an unusual sounding, weird-looking type of clarinet stuck through a very big speaker via a Reed-mounted Barcus Berry transducer.

The first piece in our set that evening, Circuitry 1, began with a taped playback of Paramusic 1, into which we planned to gradually interweave our live instruments. However, the sound engineer took some moments to get the levels balanced, so please note that there is a distinct increase in volume around the 2:50 mark!
One of my favourite things about these recordings is that every so often you can hear children’s voices in the audience talking (and facing-off!) in the quieter sections. One of the children is Roger’s son, Jake, who grew up to be a much in demand, London-based sax player. He also regularly guested with us in a much later project called Single Field.

Circuitry is available as a digital download or CDr from Bandcamp.

*Five of the six tracks (2, 3, 4, 5 & 6) have been included on either the ‘Thirty Three’ (2008) or ‘Rare & Lost’ (2016) compilation albums. 

credits

Red Square @ the 2011 Tinderbox Festival

Here’s a recently re-unearthed two minute extract of Red Square’s 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.

a tidying up…….

Hello, and a very cordial welcome to my new blog / website.

I  like the WordPress way of doing things, so I’ve decided to ‘migrate’ my old website to here, and, as it wafts gently past in the ether, I thought that I’d take the opportunity to plump up the cushions, run a duster the over the window sills, and tidy up the pages and content……..

I’m still not sure about site architecture, but I’ve decided to assign pages to my various musical outings, aliases and involvements both by name and active dates. If the date bracket is open, the project is still active. If the date bracket has ‘from / to’ dates it’s a ‘resting’ project.

I think (hope) that makes sense!