Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Genres: Dance & Electronic, Alternative Rock, Special Interest, New Age, Pop, Rock
Listen to Samples
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Krautrock-ish hyper rhythmic tape-looped prog
Aquarius Records | San Francisco | 02/05/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Trying to explain why this record is so good is sort of like trying to explain why ice cream is so delicious, or why Bush is such a terrible president.
Or maybe it's kind of like writing an introduction for the new Pynchon novel. Or telling a few jokes before Richard Pryor comes on stage. Or throwing a couple quick passes before Joe Montana comes on the field. It's that daunting, that overwhelming, that impossible.
The trio of Charles Hayward, Charles Bullen, and Gareth Williams known collectively as This Heat were one of the few bands that literally changed people's lives. Changed the way folks thought about music. I couldn't believe music like this actually existed. It was everything I wanted to listen to before I knew that THIS was exactly what I wanted to listen to. Hit It Or Quit It publisher / rock critic / indie scenstress Jessica Hopper once wrote that she literally peed her pants the first time she heard This Heat. And it's not hard to see why.
Without This Heat, modern, alternative, avant garde music as we know it would be a whole different beast. Post rock, math rock, avant rock are hugely indebted to the genre shattering experimentalism of This Heat. Tortoise, You Fantastic, Yona Kit, Brise Glace, Psychic Paramount, Laddio Bollocko, Radian, Village Of Savoonga, Larsen, Starf--kers, Circle, Salvatore, I Am Spoonbender -- none of those bands would even exist if it weren't for This Heat, or if they still did you can bet they would sound a whole lot different. And that's just off the top of my head, AND that's -just- bands whose sound directly reflects the influence of This Heat. Imagine how many performers and artists were influenced by This Heat but who let that influence manifest itself in not so obvious ways.
I once described This Heat as "Krautrock-ish hyper rhythmic tape-looped prog." Which comes close to succinctly describing the magical musical alchemy of This Heat, but still only scratches the surface. This is their self titled debut, originally released in 1979 and reissued briefly in 1991, and manages over the course of about 50 minutes to redefine almost all music that had come before.
The sound of This Heat is rhythm and texture and dynamics. The recording studio as instrument. Every sound and every song is based on rhythm and texture. There are hooks, and melodies, but they exist to serve the rhythm and are often born from the deft manipulation of sound and tempo. Even the most static and repetitive parts manage to sound -musical-. There are vocals, but they are minimal and otherworldly, weary and sing songy and completely mesmerizing. A droning musical accompaniment to the haunting whirs and clanging percussion in the background. This record is such a totally immersive and strangely lovely musical environment. From the machinelike Krautrock of "Horizontal Hold" to the dreamy contemplative "Twilight Furniture" with its simple chiming guitars, muted tribal percussion and keening vocals, to the bizarre affected drum workout of "24 Track Loop", it's like wandering through some alien musical world. As sky full of greys and blues, smeary drones floating gently by, haunting quavering vocals drifting below, like tendrils of smoke, the barren landscape littered with all manner of rhythmic outcroppings, harsh jagged crashes and booms, as well as low rolling thumps and stutters, off in the distance simple spare melodies float and hover, each note a glowing spot on the horizon. Absolutely and utterly overwhelmingly brilliant.
There are plenty of places on the web and in magazines to read more about the history of the band, the band members, the various releases and reissues but none of that ultimately matters as much as the sound. And oh the glorious sound. Just take a listen to the sound samples and no words will be necessary.
This is arguably This Heat's finest moment, their debut record, finally available again after almost 15 years of being out of print. Be aware that there will be a 5cd box coming out in the (near?) future, containing EVERY SINGLE ONE of the band's releases, as well as a bonus disc of unreleased material and a huge book of photos and liner notes. And while I do believe EVERY music lover I know owes it to themselves to buy the upcoming box, I figured a single disc was plenty for most people to get hooked and obsessed."
This heat elevates rock from sound to Idea.
Lord Chimp | Monkey World | 03/01/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"as is often the case, This Heat dwelt in the underground, their avant-garde nature precluding them from mass appeal. Yet so innovative, timeless, and inspiring was their music the threads of their influence run through myriad artists by innumerable degrees of separation. To have their first album available again, along with all their recordings in the forthcoming boxed set from ReR, is a blessing.
some music fans, myself included, are wont to try and categorize music so as to relate it to other things. Why do this? thinking of music generically helps one get one's initial grasp on the music. if you can put it into a class, you can put yourself in the right "frame of mind" for approaching a certain kind of music. then, the more you listen to it and experience it, to more specific becomes your identification for it. if the music is generic, as Nickelback is generic, then you don't have far to go.
_this heat_ cannot be classified. any "frame of mind" with which one approaches this album must quickly be abandoned. You may hear compositional, instrumental, and technological techniques that will seem to recall krautrock, prog-rock/King Crimson, the European avant-garde (jazz/classical), punk rock, space rock, Henry Cow, and John Cage. And it possesses qualities that might be described with words like "intense," "raw," "angular", "transcendent", "futuristic," or "gritty." But _this heat_ is none of these things. It does not contain these elements the way one might say "Ligeti's _Metamorphoses nocturnes_ contains elements of Bartok", "Napalm Death is raw," or "Naked City is everything." I hesitate to even describe what it sounds like. Surprise and fascination must characterize one's first listen to this album. After the barely audible, electronic ebb of "Testcard", "Horizontal Hold" begins like something from a garage metal band unleashing crunchy, chugging riffs. Listen further and you are carried through a faux-techno loop then acidic, squealing guitar jamming that channels Amon Duul II! Listening on, one hears the breadth of the album, from the austere polyrhythmia of "24 Track Loop" to the gloriously immediate abstraction of the electronic "Music like Escaping Gas". The technical aspects of the music change from track to track, and yet rarely has their been so coherent a musical project.
The production? A technical and artistic marvel. Unburdened by flourish or excess, the sound of _this heat_ has concrete being. This is the result of a band that combines their compositional vision with a SOUND that embodies the artistic notion guiding the work. The sound of this album, even after nearly 30 years, is state of the art and remarkable.
this album is utterly apart from anything else that exists. the feeling it brings forth in me is foreign, obscure, but overwhelmingly GOOD. and it is immediate -- the first time you hear this album, you are overwhelmed by its immersive, alien nature. your presuppositions are erased and This Heat's crushing, primitive beauty takes you down.
Intense, menacing, fascinating, and mysterious
Michael W. Draine | Acton, MA United States | 01/22/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"While Charles Hayward had played drums in the space-rock/fusion group Quiet Sun (with Roxy Music guitarist Phil Manzanera and Brian Eno), Hayward hit his stride in the avant-garde trio This Heat. Emerging in Brixton early 1976, This Heat quickly became recognized as one of the most experimental and hard-edged ensembles in Britain. This Heat's 1979 debut LP offered whirlwind of tape loops, bracing rhythms, pre-sampling musique concrete, delivered with commitment and authority. While Hayward's chilling, mordant vocals are deployed sparingly on the band's distinctive blue and yellow sleeved debut, "Twilight Furniture" and "The Fall of Saigon" presage the strong songwriting that distinguished follow-up group, The Camberwell Now. Every bit as musically and politically relevant today as upon its original release, This Heat's self titled album should captivate fans of Throbbing Gristle, Psychic TV, early Public Image Limited and the more daring varieties of electronica."