Friday, October 30, 2009
This Heat, THIS HEAT
Piano, 1979; reissued most recently by This Is; available
11 tracks, 48:30
This Heat are one of those groups who only got the recognition they deserved after they split up. Consisting of Gareth Williams, Charles Bullen, and Charles Heyward, This Heat were something of an enigma. Bullen and Heyward used to perform improvisations as Dolphin Logic, and that particular art form certainly carried over to This Heat. Their debut album is a mix of live and studio recordings; it's almost impossible to tell which are which (not a bad thing at all!). Bookended by the short droning "Testcard" pieces, the music covers a LOT of ground. Elements of dub, prog rock, krautrock, post-punk, and free improv all combine to form one of the more varied early industrial albums. Standout tracks like "Twilight Furniture", with its insistent drumming and minimal guitar coloration, and th brutal prog-punk stormer "Horizontal Hold" almost sound like different bands. Most tracks ebb and flow right into each other, providing a fascinating listen when played the whole way through. My personal favorites are the eerily atmospheric "The Fall Of Saigon" and the absolutely incredible "24 Track Loop", which takes a short drum loop and turns it into something that for all the world sounds like twisted IDM/drum'n'bass, YEARS before IDM or drum'n'bass even existed! The whole album is impressive, and it is the best This Heat album. This Heat would release one more album during their lifetime, the equally impressive DECEIT, which does lean more towards songs than atmospheres,as well as the more abstract HEALTH AND EFFICIENCY EP. The archival releases MADE AVILABLE (John Peel sessions, including alternate versions of tracks from THIS HEAT and DECEIT), REPEAT (basically an extended take on "24 Track Loop" and two more abstract pieces), and LIVE 80/81 are also worth checking out, as are the post-This Heat projects Camberwell Now (Heyward and later member Trefor Goronwy) and Flaming Tunes (Williams).