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This Heat - This Heat CD (album) cover


This Heat



3.98 | 88 ratings

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siLLy puPPy
4 stars There aren't too many bands in modern history who are cited for single handedly planting as many seeds from which many genres and sub-genres arose throughout the years and decades that followed, but the English band THIS HEAT is almost universally accepted for having done so. This band was formed in 1976 London by three multi-instrumentalists who were feeling the change in the music scene as it shifted from the progressive rock world of the early 70s to a more punk oriented one that followed. And although not a punk band per se, this trio was at the forefront of this changing of the guards and co-existed with bands like the Sex Pistols during the same time frame. Whereas the punk rockers opted for simplifying their musical approach to garage rock simplicity that allowed for instant accessibility and connection, THIS HEAT on the other hand proved to take things to much more challenging levels and instead of rejecting the prog rock that came before, found ways to bridge it with similar elements of punk and take the strange union to even more experimental heights through shrewd tape loop and electronic manipulations.

The band arose when Gareth Williams (keyboards, guitar, bass, tapes, vocals) met Charles Hayward (keyboards, tapes, vocals and ex-drummer for Quiet Sun) and Charles Bullen (guitar, clarinet, viola, tapes, vocals) while working in a London record shop and made their acquaintances through their mutual admiration of music. After Williams proved himself to be a brilliant lyricist and insane bassist and keyboardist, the trio began to rehearse their strange new experiments which were inspired by various Krautrock bands like Can and Faust, the angular avant-prog of Henry Cow as well as musique concrète which inspired inventive tape-loop experimentation that found the band fascinated with random erroneously produced sounds that they were generating through their inexperience. The band also fostered a great admiration for the reggae and ska producer Lee "Scratch" Perry whose innovative scratching, recording and tape manipulation magic became legend in the reggae and dub universe.

The band presciently predicted the punk rock scene taking off with the decline of prog rock and provided a parallel universe type of counter-punk that utilized the similar guitar sounds however their true punk power would peak only on their second album "Deceit." These results became a focus on an eerily cold and detached yet politically charged style that not only predicted the subsequent post-punk explosion that was just around the corner but also provided the fertile sonic explorations that would lay the ground for dark industrial that bands like Einstürzende Neubauten who would make it their own in the 80s. Add to that the bizarre noise rock that emanated from their brash explorative nature into bizarre new sonicscapes, THIS HEAT provided a blueprint for noise rock bands such as Sonic Youth as well as a prototype framework for what would become post-rock via the likes of Glenn Branca and ultimately to the explosion of the style that Talk Talk would nurture into the 90s. All this fertile creativity didn't go unnoticed for too long and after a mere demo tape being sent to the great John Peel, this contact found them releasing their eponymously titled debut album, affectionately and colloquially referred to as "Blue And Yellow" in 1979 after three busy years of recording.

Through the run of THIS HEAT's debut album is a surprisingly diverse and accomplished range of sounds replete with post-punk and industrial sounds that find themselves in the company of reggae syncopations, Krautrock motorik rhythmic marches, early post-rock compositional styles that emphasize a slow gradual ascent to a climactic crescendo and alien sounding almost Heldon-esque electronic sounds which sputter about and then transmogrify into something completely different. The sheer amount of different spooky and grueling noise effects on board is completely off the charts with eerie phantasmic Twilight zone oscillations dueling it out with freaked out electronic manipulations. This is the stuff nightmares are made of in much the same way that the contemporary avant-prog band Univers Zero was conjuring up in the world of the chamber rock ensemble. "Music Like Escaping Gas" for example sounds like the darkened moody experimentalism from "Heresie."

THIS HEAT was the collaboration of three hard working music nerds who spent countless hours in the studio perfecting their experimental craft, a studio created from a former meat locker from a closed factory, the perfect venue to channel the cold, lifeless spirits that the music exudes in full mindf.u.ckery. While this debut as well as every THIS HEAT album that was released during their initial run proved to be a little too far ahead for the public to comprehend, predictably sold very poorly but the band managed to attract a loyal cult following. As the decades ensued not he other hand, the band proved to be a major influence for a huge number of musicians and bands including but hardly limited to Sleepytime Gorilla Museum, Animal Collective, Massive Attack, Public Image Ltd, Radiohead, Swans, Shellac, Lightning Bolt and the aforementioned bands that found a nice home in the industrial aisles at the music market. THIS HEAT have since been deemed musical geniuses far ahead of their time with music so unique that it still sounds as fresh today as it must've all those years ago. If this was the only album they made i'd give this 5 stars but as good as it is, "Deceit" is so much better. But close to perfection this one is. Very, very close.

4.5 but rounded down

siLLy puPPy | 4/5 |


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