Maniac Squat made their last record in 1996 and promptly split. Now they are back, with three members of the original line-up reconvening to record a stunning concept album of experimental art-rock.
The Cloud Upon the Sanctuary, which also leans heavily towards jazz, has been inspired by the work of eighteenth-century Christian mystic, author and philosopher, Karl von Eckhartshausen.
For The Cloud Upon the Sanctuary, the band has teamed up with an all-star ensemble of guest musicians headed up by legendary Bowie/Iggy Pop sideman, Kevin Armstrong, who also produced the album. Joining Kevin – and the original Maniac Squat alumni of Tom Wilcox, Scott Pearce and Michael Giaquinto – are Iggy Pop’s drummer, Mat Hector; PJ Harvey’s sax player, Terry Edwards; and rising star Manchester-based rapper, El Zeeko.
The release is accompanied by an equally stunning video seventeen-minute video by art director/film producer, Robert Russell, whose vibrant, other-worldly imagery deftly captures the intensity of emotions that the band delve into via their experimental soundscapes.
Original Maniac Squat frontman Tom Wilcox lives in Hoylake and has been active as a promoter and artist on the Merseyside music scene for the last twelve years. Tom has produced many music shows in Liverpool, including David Bowie/John Lennon guitarist Earl Slick at the O2 Academy and also at The Cavern.
Tom Wilcox said, “Scott, Michael and I were profoundly affected by both the teachings of Karl von Eckartshausen and the key change rubrics of Gustav Mahler. These inspirations provoked us into composing separate elements of a larger piece of music. We gradually brought the disparate movements together to make one work. There is no coming to consciousness without pain.”
Producer and guest musician, Kevin Armstrong, added: “When I was presented with the opportunity to help realize the revival of Maniac Squat little did I imagine that our efforts would produce such a savage and desolate beauty.”
About Maniac Squat:
Formed in Colchester, Essex, Maniac Squat pursued their own brand of art-punk for five years between 1991 and 1996. The band first played at Colchester Arts Centre in 1992 and were immediately banned for using an industrial grinder in their performance and for making a hole in the stage while smashing up a guitar.
Maniac Squat persevered and went on to notch up the much-coveted ‘Single of the Week’ accolade from Kerrang! magazine for their single ‘F**k Off’. They played over 200 gigs in their career – including tours of Germany and the Czech Republic – also releasing two singles and an album and being the go-to local support act for bands such as Babes In Toyland and Zodiac Mindwarp when their tour itinerary took them to Colchester.
After splitting in 1996, Tom Wilcox, Scott Pearce and Michael Giaquinto would later re-appear in the mid-2000s as part of The Chavs, with several of their tracks used as MTV theme tunes, including ‘Nuclear War’.
The Cloud Upon the Sanctuary is released on 23 September on all the main digital platforms and in a limited-edition vinyl format, too. It will be available via: http://maniacsquat.com/
Image credit: Jeff Scott