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Black Square’s sound can be described as a blend of ska and reggae delivered with the urgency and intensity of punk rock. As reggae music was the backdrop for these Hawaii raised punk rockers, the sound of Black Square came about organically from their musical and geographical upbringing. The band’s name comes from the Russian artist Kasimir Malevich’s 1915 painting of a black square. The theory behind the painting was that the material matter of art was without value and the true value in a work of art was in the feeling it expressed or provoked—without leading the viewer to a specific object based reflection. Black Square seeks to do the same with their music.
Black Square was formed as a Hardcore Punk trio in 2002 by Josh86, Little Brian Kim and Nick Danger. Influenced by bands like Operation Ivy, Minor Threat, Bad Brains and The Clash, Black Square’s lyrical focus aimed at attempting to raise consciousness concerning political, environmental, cultural, and economic issues—many specific to Hawaii.
Black Square released their first CD “End the Cycle” in the summer of 2004. “End the Cycle's” basic punk and reggae sound is a great musical match to the lyrics and stands up to the test of time. Written during the start of the Afghanistan invasion and Iraq war, “End the Cycle” is an early, powerful indictment against Bush-America's global policy. After “End the Cycle” Black Square added a horn section and moved in a more complex musical direction.
Black Square released their second album, “One Glass of Water” in January of 2007. The album features songs covering such diverse concerns as teenage homelessness, globalization, militarization, and the Japanese internment camps during WWII). The added brass of T.R., G-bone, and Babyface make horns sound relevant again. The music, while not losing its edge, incorporates influences such as The Specials and The Aggrolites.
Their third cd "Onward" was released in June 08. In an era of digital perfection, “Onward” is refreshing in its organic musical feel and reflects Black Square’s continued social focus. “Onward” is a groovy-rocksteady jam that showcases the band’s evolution. Direct influence is shown to traditional ska music on this album without compromising any of their unique blend of punk fused reggae tones
Recently Black Square has been touring the mainlandUSA about every six months and is receiving radio play on select stations. Black Square, located on Oahu in the Hawaiian Island chain, is in a market smaller than Toledo, Ohio, with no neighboring cities to play in. Despite their geographic isolation, local and internet support has allowed their activity to be achieved DIY.
Black Square currently consists of Josh86 on guitar, Nick Danger on Bass, Brian Kim on drums, T.R. on alto sax, and G-Bone on the trombone, and Babyface McEvan
on tenor sax.