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HEALTH AND EFFICIENCY

This Heat

RIO/Avant-Prog


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Syzygy
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars 'Here's a song about the sunshine/Dedicated to the sunshine'

In between their tight-as-a-clenched-fist debut and the even more intense Deceit, This Heat released a 12" single featuring some almost straightforward rock music. Taking its name from the long running UK naturist publication (which gave many an English lad his first glimpse of the undraped female form), this is an off kilter rocker which matches Faust's classic It's a Rainy Day, Sunshine Girl as a piece of avant bootboy stomp. The opening 2 line refrain gives way to a lumbering section driven by proto industrial rhythms, the coda being a deconstruction of the original riff which features Henry Cow's piano played through a fuzzbox. Essential stuff, the essence of This Heat distilled into eight and a half minutes of joyous noise.

The b side (back in them days there was such a thing as b sides) was a total contrast, an oddly unsettling electronic drone that (as the title implied) could be played at any speed. This piece could be the birth of illbient; although slow and apparently tranquil, it's an oddly unsettling noise that mutates abruptly from time to time. This is a side of This Heat that was rarely in evidence during their lifetime, but which can be sampled further on the excellent album Repeat.

Now available as part of the box set, this is well worth tracking down as a stand alone release if you can find it. Magical stuff, although for some unaccountable reason it was never featured on Top of the Pops.

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Send comments to Syzygy (BETA) | Report this review (#83366)
Posted Monday, July 10, 2006 | Review Permalink
siLLy puPPy
COLLABORATOR
PSIKE Team
4 stars Sandwiched between their two better known full albums which have only continued to gain respect and admiration over the ensuing decades, THIS HEAT released HEALTH AND EFFICIENCY as a two track EP. Sounding nothing like the two main albums, this little gem is well worth hearing as it is totally original and sounds like it paved the way for lots of indie rock and electronica to follow. The album is available as a stand alone release but is also included in the mega-boxed set 'Out Of Cold Storage' which also includes the two main albums, the archival 'Repeat' and 'Live 80/81.'

The title track which is stated in the liner notes as being dedicated to sunshine, starts out with some post-rock jangly guitars but has a rather old time rock' n roll feel to it with lyrics. The mix of the male vocals and female vocals remind me a lot of bands like Stereolab. This EP was clearly an inspiration for all those indie rock bands such as Sonic Youth that sprang up in the 90s to the present time. This sound abruptly changes gear when the clock strikes 2:11 into the track and becomes a monotonous industrial funky bass clap with strange atmospheric embellishments breaking the spell every few measures. This continues for a full 8:12 and keeps building more and more sounds, voices around the no wave type riff that is kind of funky, punky and drony simultaneously. Towards the last couple of minutes we get bombastic drumming and a highly distorted dissonant ending that fades into oblivion.

The second track 'Graphic / Varispeed' is an 11:22 long drone that buzzes on and on with pitch changes at random moments and doppler effect type atmospherics occurring from time to time. What should be a very hypnotic and uninteresting track surprisingly has enough subtle variations in the tones, pitches and tempo of a single sustained note to keep me entertained for its duration. While this originally was released on vinyl, this track was meant to be played at various speeds on a turntable. It was an invitation for the listener to experiment with 16, 33 1/3, 45 or 78 rpm. This track reminds me of some of what Coil would continue but also reminds a bit of some of the most out there ambient of 70s including Brian Eno. Definitely a recommended short but sweet album that matches the extremely bizarre album cover.

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Send comments to siLLy puPPy (BETA) | Report this review (#1407862)
Posted Sunday, May 03, 2015 | Review Permalink

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