It most have been about 10 months ago when I first heared from Red. As so many other
bands and artists he sent us a copy of his first CD. I was blown away by this stunning
debut album called Sandstone, but at the same time I was horrified by the
terrible quality of the recording. At the time I wrote a review of Sandstone
which never got published because it turned out that the CD was not publically
available. Red had decided to refrain from releasing it independantly and would instead
use it as a demo to convince a label to give him the budget for a proper recording.
Since DPRP only wants to review material that is actually available to the readers
for purchase, we refrained from mentioning the CD at all in our CD Review column.
A lot has happened since. Red got back together with his buddy Steve McGregor and
has been working on a new project for the past year. The concept album that was the
result was initially called 'Nemesis', but they decided to change it into 'Rock's
Colliding' because some people didn't find 'Nemesis' very original.
As for the band name, the nam 'Red Alert' had to be dropped as well since there was
already a band operating under the same name. Instead the project will be released
under the name Sedan & McGregor. Red: "I mean, why not ! It's a new band anyway, so
it doesn't really matter what name you give it because you have to start building
awareness from scratch !".
In the beginning of March I received a package including a CDR, some documents and
a colour repro of the albums artwork. Being rather curious about the result I immediately
put on the disc. I was totally speechless. Let me just say that as a member of the
DPRP team I am proud to present new talent that might well gain the same status
as Pink Floyd, Yes, Genesis or Marillion. Rock's Colliding is a masterpiece
that would not be out of place as the Y2K record in our 'Counting Out Time' column.
When I sent Red my first reaction he was delighted and after a quick chat with Steve
he decided to make 50 copies of the album available to DPRP, together with 25 CDR
versions of his solo debut to give away as extras !
So, here it is, the Red Sedan special and Rock's Colliding competition. Read
on and maybe you will win one of these works of art !
What you'll find below is a brief background history on Red, reviews of Sandstone
and Rock's Colliding and the competition. Let's start at the very beginning .....
Who is Red ?
Red was born in 1974. His parents, mother a classical violin player and father a
construction supervisor, named their son after the King Krimson album that was
released a couple of weeks before Red's birth. His parents love for progressive
rock music (King Crimson, Yes, Pink Floyd, etc) and the constant violin rehearsals of his
mother Red was taken along to, rubbed off on their little boy. At the age of 5 they
gave him his own violin, but Red didn't seem to be interested in any instrument which
was played above the shoulders. He therefore switched to acoustic guitar and by the
age of 12 he had learned to play guitar, bass and drums.
During his teens Red played in various bands in the Manchester/Birmingham area,
among which The Grasshoppers (a reggea band experimenting with soft drugs) and
Death Do Us Part (a heavy metal formation). Red's will to play with these extremely
different musical styles proves his open-minded view on music. In the end however,
he left these bands because he wanted to play more progressive rock styles and
wanted to participate more in the writing process.
When Red met Steve McGregor from Inverness at a musicians convention in 1994 they
became close friends and started jamming on a regular basis. Steve played in
prog-metal band Bitten By Bats, who released an album called Undertaker in
the mid nineties. The album featured the marvellous Music from the Spheres
epic, as well as a track called Blinded by the Moon that ended up on various
Initially there were plans for Red to become a member of the band, but owing to
personal circumstances Red could not find the time to participate in the recording
sessions for the album. Nevetherless, bits from the McGregor/Sedan jam sessions
ended up in Music from the Spheres and Red even got a writing credit for
In the period 1996-1998 Red composed and recorded songs for his own
solo CD, meant to be send to record labels and to convince them to make the budget
available for a proper studio recording. The result was Red's debut album Sandstone
Red Sedan - Sandstone
|Country of Origin:||UK|
|Year of Release:||1998|
|Info:||E-mail Red Sedan|
Tracklist: In the Flesh (regtime) (3.14), Raining Cats and Dogs (5.44),
Crawling Chaos (7.56), See if I Care (1.24), Sandstone Silhouettes (11.34),
Retain your Sanity (4.09), Gotcha! (8.21), Silhouette Suite (9.30)
The CD opens with a remarkable track. In The Flesh (regtime) is a jazzy reggae
version of Pink Floyd's song from 'The Wall'. It sounds rather strange at first
but after playing it a couple of times I really started liking it. It's probably some
sort of legacy of Red's Grasshopper period.
Raining Cats and Dogs is a bluesy tune with howling guitars and wonderful
vocals by Red (he's a damn fine singer !). The middle piece is a rather 'Starless'-
like bass break. The use of a Moog synth gives the track a more prog rock feel.
Crawling Chaos is a very experimental instrumental piece that starts with the sound of
a bedsheet being torn to pieces. Slowly a very atmospheric and menacing bass comes
in and before long the guitar starts a solo that sends shivers down your spine.
Steve McGregor plays some weird mellotron on the tune.
See if I Care is a very short track with an enormous list of lyrics. In slightly
less than one and a half minute Red sums up all of the major conflicts he's had in his life
with his parents, friends and 'the system'. Imagine Billy Joel's 'We didn't start
the fire' with just an incredibly fast playing bass guitar. The track ends with the
screamed words 'See if I care !'. Personally I could have done without this one.
Sandstone Silhouette is THE highlight of the CD. In about 12 minutes we are
taken through 4 musical themes played with the most sincere compassion I have ever
heard. The track features a 'Shine on You Crazy Diamond'-like opening, a middle
piece that features the venomous style of early Marillion, an intermezzo with the
only lyrics of the song and a closing section with an Wurlizer/Sitar duel. Amazing
stuff. Steve McGregor plays keys on this track.
Retain Your Sanity is a acoustic guitar ballad about one of Red's former
girlfriends who suffered from a weird form of homophobia. Nice but nothing special.
Gotcha! starts with acapella vocals by Red and later goes into the heaviest
part of the album featuring killer drums and very high-pitched guitar solos. A bit
to much on the hard side for me personally but a great composition nevertheless.
Silhouette Suite is another highlight. As you might expect from the title,
there are certain links with Sandstone Silhouette. Both tracks have the same
short lyrics and some of the melodies are the same. Basically Red reworked the piece
and made the heavy parts very peaceful and the other way around. The Wurlizer solo
from the other track is now played on violin by Red's mother ! Wonderful !
The demo CD comes in a little carton sleeve with a black and white cover pasted
on the front and the tracklist and credits paste on the back. The CD itself is a
home-recorded CD-Rom like we've seen a lot recently at DPRP. The sound quality of the
recording is pretty awful and Red hasn't spend a lot of time mixing the thing properly.
On the other hand, the quality of the compositions themselves is amazing. It's been
years since I've heard arrangements and song structures this daring and adventurous.
Conclusion: 7 out of 10 (with good sound quality and mixing this would have
been a 9 !).
Moulding the Rock
"Ever since the first time I met Steve at a Bitten by Bats gig, we've been toying with
the idea of doing a concept album together", explains Red. "Initially I had planned to
join his band but that never really came to be. If I would have participated, one of the
albums by Bitten by Bats would have been a concept album. The only thing that was left of
the various ideas we had was the track Music of the Spheres of which both Steve
and I are still very proud."
Steve McGregor: "It must have been around July last year. I was taking a nap in the
garden - it was great weather - when I was woken by my mobile. It was Red. He was completely
berserk and kept on raving about this marvellous idea he had. He had written this whole story
about a comet that was heading towards the earth. The whole thing seemed to be inspired by
a couple of 'disaster movies' he had rented. Although it sounded pretty daft Red had actually
given a nice twist to the story by combining it with the plot of a short tale by horror writer Ramsey
Campbell. In the concerned tale a similar asteriod, comet or whatever turns out to be a
living being !"
"It took a while to convince Steve, especially since my quest to find a record label willing
to re-record and release Sandstone had proven to be unsuccesful so far", said Red.
"Steve liked the idea but we lacked the funds to finance it and we might end up with a great
album that nobody wanted to put on the market. We let the idea lie for a couple of days until
something amazing happened. My grandfather passed away after a long lasting period of a rare
disease he had brought back with him from a trip to Africa. It was a rather sad time, especially
since I was very close with him. Grandfather was always the one that supported me most in my
musical career. He once told me that he admired my courage; he'd also wanted to be a musician
when he was young, but he never dared and it was something that was just 'not done' in his
childhood. Grandfather was delighted when dad brought a beautiful violin player home
as his girlfriend."
"And then one day Red called me again", continues Steve. "I could hardly calm him down and he
kept on yelling "I've got the money Steve ! I've got the money !". Turns out his grandfather,
a rather wealthy guy, who died a couple of weeks prior to that, had left part of his money to
Red, under the condition that his grandson would use it to record and independantly release
his very first professional record !"
Fall 1999 saw Red and Steve getting together to write the music and lyrics for what at that
time was still called 'Nemesis'. They settled in a little castle in Scotland that had been one of
granddad's properties (this probably inspired the track Heading for the Hills). Writing
went extremely well and in December 1999 they returned to
the midlands with a 50 minute concept, featuring 9 tracks.
Red's mother, who had been part of several recording sessions with the London Philharmonic,
recommended the Abbey Road studios in London, which were booked for an extensive period
in January and February. At the same time they attracted US artist John T. Snyder to do the
cover artwork for them.
Besides several guest musicians (see the review below) the recording sessions also featured
the full Philharmonic Orchestra, which had been working with Red's mother for several weeks
on the final piece of the album, a re-written version of Sandstone Silhouette, complete
with new lyrics.
In March 1999 the mixing of the album, which had been re-named Rock's Colliding, a pun
on the album topic and the musical style, was finsihed. It should be widely available later this
month. DPRP received an advance copy and is proud to present you the first review of and album
that will change the future of prog ....
Sedan & McGregor - Rock's Colliding
Tracklist: Galactic Static (0.25), Panic on Broadway (4.56), A Mind's View I (1.23),
Evacuation (11.43), A Mind's View II (2.12), Heading for the Hills (6.21), A Mind's View III (3.26),
The Other Side of the Mirror (4.29), The Eye of the Comet (16.34)
|Country of Origin:||UK|
|Record Label:||Nemesis Records|
|Year of Release:||2000|
|Info:||E-mail Red Sedan|
The first thing that I noticed about Rock's Colliding is the cover. Besides the wonderful
illustration of one of the scenes from the story it does not feature any album title or the
names of McGregor & Sedan. Quite daring if you ask me. On the other hand, it might increase
the curiosity of the people who come across it. According to Red, the two are planning to
use stickers on the jewel boxes in case it should become a problem.
The album opens with half a minute of 'space sounds'; Galactic Static. Red and Steve got
the noises from a friend that NASA works in a radioscope centre. It creates the same mood as the
opening sounds on Pink Floyd's Division Bell. At the end you hear the sound of a large
object 'wooshing' by, immediately followed by a TV Newsflash in which the newsman announces
that a large comet has been detected and is heading straight for the Earth.
Thus begins Panic on Broadway, an uptempo song capturing the fear and chaos caused by
the news announcement. Red: "I'm not sure why I picked Broadway as the scene of the
song. I just had this mental picture of all the big theaters bursting open and a big stream of
screaming people coming out. In a way it doesn't really make sense, but on the other hand it's a
nice contrast from the normal situation. I could have picked Wall Street or Picadilly Circus
just as easily. The rest of the story was just written around the Broadway concept."
The song is a real rocker with a blistering guitar solo by Red and a Moog solo by Steve. An
amazing opening that sets a perfect mood for what's to come.
The album features three parts of A Mind's View, which are used to switch the story to
another location or person. In the first part, a short ballad, we hear how a Broadway actrice
thinks of her young child back home in England. Seemingly the experts cannot agree on the
place where the comet will hit the earth and the scared mother fears the death of her daughter.
The piano playing and guest vocals by Steve's girlfriend Julie make this a very emotional little
piece that brings tears to your eyes.
The story switches to the perspective of a young girl in London (the actrice's daughter). Through
her innocent and naive eyes we see how London gets evacuated because the chances of the comet
hitting the earth are 75% in that area. This long track features a long heavy middle piece that
again captures the mood of panic and chaos and features some themes from the Broadway
song. In the second half a bass solo by Grasshopper bass player Malcolm Leigh and a poem
recited by Red, as read from the girls diary, form beautiful variations.
A man called Steve is one of the people that coordinate the evacuation and he has taken the little girl
under his wing. In A Mind's View II he thinks of his love, who's spending some time in
the Scottish Highlands. Seemingly caused by the cosmic waves of the comet the cattle in the
north of the UK has turned against the humans and he wonders how she's doing up there. The song
features the same melody as in part one, but is more uptempo this time. Interestingly enough
the last two lines are sung by Steve and the Broadway actrice together.
Heading for the Hills finds us in Scotland where the population is on the run for the
wildlife and cattle that has turned against them. They try to take refuge in a castle on a
hill. This song is very folky and doesn't hide McGregor's background. It features all kind of
flutes, bagpipes, weird pounding drums and has the mood of an ongoing chase. Great stuff !
Interestingly enough the third part of A Mind's View is sung by the 'inner thoughts' of
a dog. The pet, that in a strange fit of madness attacked his owner, suddenly realises what he
has done. He also gets a flashback from one of his early ancesters, a wolf. The song continues
with reprises of Steve and the actrice and returns to the dressing room of the actrice several
minutes before the news announcement. All in all a strange place & time shift.
The track itself features a heavy first part (dog to wolf) with a guitar solo by Michael
Jones, the guitarist from Death Do Us Part and an acapalla ending.
In The Other Side of the Mirror we go back to the past of the actrice and find out that
her father was a wizard that predicted this event. As a young girl her father had shown her
a magic mirror in which she had seen herself years later in the dressing room on Broadway.
This sounds rather strange, but it becomes an important part of the plot of the story. The
song itself is a very catchy and melodic piece that would not have been out of place on an
Alan Parsons album. Martin Johnson from Grasshoppers plays a saxophone solo on this track.
And then the finally, The Eye of the Comet. Without spoiling the plot for you, I can tell
you that the comet turns out to be something that's not comet at all and a crash into
new York (not London as predicted) is foiled by the main characters of the previous songs, that
seem to have a weird psychic bond.
Eye of the Storm is a marvellously re-written version of Sandstone Silhouette from
Red's debut demo. The Wurlizer/Sitar deut and violin solo by Red's mother are still present, but
the whole piece is enhanced by a wonderful backing performance of the Philharmonic Orchestra.
This track left me gasping for breath. It's been years since I heard something this beautiful !
The booklet contains more wonderful artwork by Snyder, as well as the lyrics and a brief summary
of the story. The inside of the inlay behind the transparent tray shows a stunning piece picturing
the title of the last track. All in all this is a very well packaged CD !
A marvellous piece of work ! This one will go down in history as one of the classics in prog.
I would be highly surprised if any other disc will surpass it this year. I can therefore predict
that this will become the Year 2000 choice for Counting Out Time.
It certainly wouldn't be out of place between the masterworks of Pink Floyd, Genesis, Yes,
Marillion and IQ ! Everybody just has to buy this. Your prog collection is not complete without
Conclusion: 9.5 out of 10.
We are raffling 50 copies of Rock's Colliding among the participants of this competition.
And that's not all. Half of the winners will also get a copy of Sandstone, Red's debut
album. Be one of the first people to hear a revolutionary album that will go down in history as
one of the all-time prog classics !
To have a chance on winning one or even two CDs, just answer the following simple questions and
hit the 'Send to DPRP' button.