This Heat
(Copyright © 1999 Piero Scaruffi | Legal restrictions - Termini d'uso )

Made Available , 6/10
This Heat , 8/10
Deceit , 7/10
Repeat , 6/10
Camberwell Now: The Ghost Trade , 6.5/10
Charles Hayward: Survive The Gesture , 4/10
Charles Hayward: Skew Whiff , 5/10
Charles Hayward: Switch On War , 5/10
Charles Hayward: My Secret Alphabet , 4/10
Charles Hayward: Meridiem , 6/10
Circadian Rhythms: Internal Clock , 5/10
Hat Shoes: Differently Desperate (1991), 6/10
Links:

This Heat, a keyboards-bass-guitar trio, coined a unique style that borrowed from progressive-rock, jazz-rock, electronic music, industrial music and, last but not least, German avant-rock of Can, Neu and Faust. Tape loops, overdubs, sound effects and noise abound on their first album and masterpiece, This Heat (1979). The austere and erudite approach to composition, and an impressive repertory of musical tricks, amounted to little less than a manual of new harmony. Abandoning the difficult rhythms and returning to the song format, Deceit (1981) popularized the idea in the era of synth-pop. Il trio dei This Heat si formo` nel 1975, quando Charles Hayward (percussioni, tastiere, canto), un veterano che aveva gia` alle spalle l'album dei Quiet Sun, Mainstream (Antilles, 1975), Charles Bullen (chitarra, clarinetto, viola) e Gareth Williams (tastiere, basso, chitarra) decisero di scavalcare a sinistra il progressive-rock, l'art-rock e il jazz-rock per un sound di studio, basato su nastri ed effetti di produzione, non lontano da cio` che avevano fatto anni prima gruppi tedeschi come Can, Neu e Faust. I This Heat appartenevano soltanto anagraficamente alla generazione della new wave, ma finirono per costituire il trait d'union fra Canterbury, la musica industriale e tanti altri generi sperimentali che dilagarono nei decenni successivi.

This Heat were formed in 1975 by percussionist Charles Hayward, a veteran of the Canterbury school of progressive-rock who had already played on Quiet Sun's Mainstream (1975), guitarist Charles Bullen and keyboardist Gareth Williams (tastiere, basso, chitarra). The trio diverged from the ruling rock and jazz aesthetic in that it focused on studio sound, not live sound. Tapes, sound effects and production tricks were part of the arsenal of instruments. The cerebral way in which songs were deconstructed evoked German bands such as Can, Faust and Neu. This Heat were technically members of the "new wave" generation, but morally they represented the liaison between Canterbury and industrial music.

(Translation by/ Tradotto da xxx)

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Hayward and Bullen had already started in 1974 the project Dolphin Logic. This Heat was born when Williams joined them. Wiliams brought a cosmopolitan sensibility to Hayward's passion for electronic music and Bullen's almost classical composure. Made Available (These Records, 1997 - ReR, 2007) is the 1977 John Peel sessions. During 1978 and 1979 the trio performed at several venues, generally supporting political causes or accompanying multimedia events.

The trio's first official album, This Heat (Piano, 1979), recorded between february 1976 and august 1978, was the manifesto of an austere art of making music out of electronic, looped, overdubbed and atonal sounds. The eleven pieces toyed with an innovative mixture of progressive-rock, free jazz, musique concrete, aleatory music and industrial music. Horizontal Hold is a disjointed, irrational collage: first it erupts with syncopated drumming, then the focus shifts to an intense strumming in the style of Glenn Branca's guitar symphonies, then suddenly it turns into jazzy group jamming and finally it plunges into an orgy of organ noises. The human voice (and not a pleasant one) surfaces in Not Waving, which is basically a slow-motion version of Art Bears' chamber lied, accompanied by loud trombone-like and organ-like drones. Unlike the previous one, this piece maintains a strong degree of unity and identity. Twilight Furniture, sung in the same highbrow tone, is even less musical, being accompanied merely by aggressive percussion and sparse guitar notes.
Exotic percussion and distorted instruments duet in Water.
The trio enters the realm of pure electronic music with 24 Track Loop, a tense volley of abrasive android sounds, organized in geometric, metronomic patterns, and with Diet Of Worms, the equivalent in dissonant drones of a Bach sonata. The latter extends into the nightmare of Music Like Escaping Gas, where voices are mixed to decompose with whirling electronic noise. After the three-minute percussive orgy of Rain Forest, the album reaches its zenith with Fall Of Saigon, suspenseful, martial and hypnotic mantra for Tibetan-like chanting and percussion, devastated by mad glissandoes. Finally, the music reveals a soul, despite maintaining its enigmatic quality.
The whole experiment was conducted in a ghastly atmosphere, one that wed Cage's dadaism and the darkest elements of expressionism.

(Translation by/ Tradotto da John Politico)

Hayward e Bullen erano già attivi dal 1974 con il progetto Dolphin Logic. I This Heat nacquero dopo l’entrata di Williams nei ranghi. Williams trasferì una sensibilità cosmopolitana alla passione per la musica elettronica di Hayward e alla quasi posatezza classica di Bullen. Made Available (These Records, 1997) viene dalle John Peel sessions del 1977. Durante il 1978 e 1979 il trio si esibì in parecchie occasioni, generalmente a supportare cause politiche o per accompagnare eventi multimediali.

Il loro primo album ufficiale, This Heat (Piano, 1979), era il manifesto di un’arte austera di concepire la musica,alla ricerca di un sound elettronico e atonale mescolato a "loop" e "overdub". Gli undici pezzi giocavano con un innovativo mix di progressive-rock , free jazz, musique concrete aleatory music e industrial music. Horizontal Hold è uno sconnesso e irrazionale collage: prima erutta uno sincopato drumming,per poi spostare il suo punto focale ad un intenso strimpellio nello stile delle sinfonie chitarristiche di Glenn Branca passando per una repentina improvvisazione jazzy e finalmente nell’immersione nell’orgia di rumori dell’organo. La voce umana (e comunque non piacevole) emerge in Not Waving ,il qual brano è,fondamentalmente,una versione al rallentatore dei lied da camera degli Art Bears, accompagnato da un alto suono a mò di trombone e da droni a mò di organo. Diversamente dal precedente,questo pezzo mantiene un forte grado di unità e identità. Twilight Furniture, cantato nello stesso tono intellettuale, è anche meno musicale,essendo accompagnato semplicemente da una percussioni aggressiva con scarse note chitarristiche. La percussione esotica e un duetto di strumenti distorti caratterizzano Water. Il trio entra nel regno della pura musica elettronica con 24 Track Loop,una nervosa raffica di abrasivi suoni androidi,organizzate in geometriche e metronomiche strutture, e con Diet Of Worms,l’equivalente in droni di dissonanza di una sonata di Bach. L’ultimo dei due si estende nell’incubo di Music Like Escaping Gas, dove le voci sono mescolate per decomporsi con rumori elettronici roteanti. Dopo i tre minuti orgiastici di Rain Forest, l’album cerca il suo zenit con Fall Of Saigon, un mantra ipnotico,marziale e pieno di suspense per cantata e percussione tibetana,devastata da un pazzo glissando. Finalmente la musica rivela un’anima,malgrado mantenendo la sua qualità enigmatica. Tutto l’esperimento fu condotto in un’atmosfera spettrale,la quale sposava il dadaismo di Cage con gli elementi più scuri dell’espressionismo.

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L'approccio gotico di questo esordio non lascia traccia sull'EP Health And Efficiency (1981), una danza a ritmo supersonico di catena di montaggio, e sul secondo album, Deceit (Rough Trade, 1981), nel quale i ritmi spigolosi, i rumori "trovati", le austere armonie vengono incollati secondo i modi del synth-pop. Il tribalismo melodico di Sleep e di Shrink Wrap, l'inno frenetico di Triumph, l'elegia corale di SPQR, e la la lunga A New Kind Of Water, apoteosi e finale lugubre sempre in quel tono cantilenante, si svolgono all'insegna di uno spiritual hare krishna con testi militanti.

Williams left for India (where he would become a writer) and Bullen devoted himself to electronic music.

Hayward formed another trio, Camberwell Now, that released two EPs, Meridian (Duplicate, 1983) and Greenfingers (1986) and an album, The Ghost Trade (1985), all of them later compiled on All's Well (Rec Rec, 1992 - ReR, 2007). Meridian was a rather heterogeneous collection ranging from Cutty Sark, a lunatic folk tune reminiscent of Kevin Ayers, to the dreamy vocals floating in an electronic nebula of Pearl Divers to the festive jazzy singalong Spirit Of Dunkirk. The CD reissue includes an eight-minute reminx of Splash titled Resplash (1984).
The Ghost Trade is not a cohesive album as much as a collection of experiments. The robotik instrumental passages of the eight-minute pseudo-lied Working Nights, embued with punk fervor and industrial anxiety, betrayed the German influence. The mutating rhythm of Sitcom supports a melody that migrates from a mediocre male voice to an angelic female voice, both trapped into an electronic maze. The Tibetan-inspired chanting of Wheat Futures is surrounded and eventually overrun by bagpipe-like electronic drones and gentle guitar strumming. Speculative Fiction is Hayward's idea of synth-pop: a male-female dialogue set to a polirhythmic disco beat. The eleven-minute The Ghost Trade is a hypnotic charade of vocal harmonies, sloppy crooning, steady drumming and Robert Wyatt-esque arrangements, with a lengthy coda of electro-acoustic chamber music for percussion and electronics.
Greenfingers presented more streamlined and better structured material, and even a tender pop ballad (Know How). Greenfingers layered Canterbury-style vocals, exotic instruments robotik drumming and ominous electronic drone.

Then Hayward embarked on a long musical journey through the tragic songs and atmospheric instrumentals of Survive The Gesture (Ink, 1987), the avantgarde music of Thames Water Authority, published on Skew Whiff (SubRosa, 1989), the wildly noisy live electronic music of Switch On War (SubRosa, 1991), and the timid ballads of My Secret Alphabet (SubRosa, 1993).

Meanwhile, Hayward had founded the Hat Shoes, a quartet with guitarist Bill Gilonis and vocalist Catherine Jauniaux of Work and cellist Tom Cora that debuted with Differently Desperate (1991). The expressionist bent is visible in Dolores, that pits a drunk Eastern European accompaniment against the frantic theatrical recitation of the female singer. Jauniaux's acrobatic and multilinguistic vocals also dominate The Woman of Chemovitzy, that sounds like a church requiem exploding into hard-rock, the surreal Love Conversation for voice and noises (no rhythm and no instruments), the childish rigmarole Tom-ta-kati-e-ta-cote, bordering on Meredith Monk's art, the syncopated gypsy dance Differently Desperate, and Skinny Moon, a comic deconstruction of Sixties ye-ye girl music. It is unfortunate that the music is so fragmented. So many great ideas remain in what appears to be an unfinished form. But then maybe that was precisely the point. The group is vastly less successful when it tried its hand at conventional rock music, although a joyful rhythm propels Birdless and a pompous melody lifts the one rocking song, Battre des Paupieres. Ten years later they released a follow up, Home (2001).

Finally, Hayward emerged as a solo and group improviser with the live trilogy Escape From Europa (Locus Solus, 1996), Double Agent (Locus Solus, 1996), Near + Far (Locus Solus, 1997). Hayward's collaborations with avantgarde musicians paid off with Meridiem (MaSo, 1998), co-authored with vocalist Percy Howard, guitarist Fred Frith and bassist Bill Laswell.

This Heat rarities surfaced on Repeat (These Records, 1993), especially the 20-minute abstract soundscape Repeat and the concrete symphony Metal.

Upon returning from India, Gareth Williams recorded the cassette Flaming Tunes (ReR, 1985) with Mary Currie that contains odd experiments ranging from the music-box loop of Another Flaming Tune to the Kevin Ayers-esque psychewdelic vaudeville skit of Beguiling the Hours, from the exotic instrumental dance of A To B to the pop-dub ballad of Breast Stroke, from the field recordings of Raindrops from Heaven to the grotesque hare-krishna lullaby of Golden Age, from the eerie electroacoustic vignette of It's Madness to the gentle meditation of Generous Moon.

Charles Bullen, the most studio prone of the three, languished away from the studio for most of the 1980s. Fourteen years elapsed between his first non-This Heat recording, Lifetones' For A Reason (Tone Of Life, 1983), and Internal Clock (Language, 1997), the debut album of his live electonica ensemble, Circadian Rhythms.

All of these works are mediocre at best.

In the meantime, This Heat went from being the most underrated band of the new wave to being one of the most quoted bands of the 1990s.

(Translation by/ Tradotto da John Politico)

Williams lasciò il gruppo per diventare uno scrittore in India mentre Bullen potè dedicarsi a tempo pieno alla musica elettronica.

Hayward formò un altro trio,i Camberwell Now,e registrò due EP e un album, The Ghost Trade (1985), che sarà compilato su All's Well (Rec Rec, 1992). Poi si imbarcò su un lungo viaggio musicale attraverso le tragiche canzoni e gli atmosferici brani strumentali di Survive The Gesture (Ink, 1987),la musica d’avanguardia di Thames Water Authority, pubblicato su Skew Whiff (SubRosa, 1989),il selvaggio live elettronico-noise di Switch On War (SubRosa, 1991), e le timide ballate di My Secret Alphabet (SubRosa, 1993). Finalmente, emerse come solista e improvvisatore nella trilogia live Escape From Europa (Locus Solus, 1996), Double Agent (Locus Solus, 1996), Near + Far (Locus Solus, 1997). Le collaborazioni di Hayward con musicisti d’avanguardia fruttò su Meridiem (MaSo, 1998), dove è coautore con il vocalist Percy Howard, il chitarrista Fred Frith e Bill Laswell al basso.

Le rarità dei This Heat compariranno su Repeat (These Records, 1993).

Charles Bullen,il più incline dei tre al lavoro di studio,rimase invece lontano dallo studio per la maggior parte degli anni 80. Trascorsero ben 14 anni dalla sua prima registrazione fuori dai This Heat, For A Reason (Tone Of Life, 1983) dei Lifetones, e Internal Clock (Language, 1997),l’album debutto della sua live-ensemble elettronica,i Circadian Rhythms.

Rimangono comunque lavori mediocri rispetto ai maggiori.

Nel frattempo,i This Heat,che era stata la band più sottovalutata della new wave, diventò una delle band più influenti nel corso degli anni 90.

Out Of Cold Storage (ReR, 2006) is a six-cd box-set.

Gareth Williams died in 2001.

The live Mathilde 253 (Slam, 2011) documents a quartet with drummer Charles Hayward, guitarist Han-Earl Park, trumpetist Ian Smith and Lol Coxhill.

In 2009 Hot Chip's Alexis Taylor (on vocals, electric piano, bass, synthesizer and electric guitar), This Heat's drummer Charles Hayward, Spring Heel Jack's John Coxon and keyboardist Pat Thomas formed About Group and recorded the improvised About (july 2009) and Start And Complete (2011), entirely composed by Taylor.

Charles Hayward sang and played a lot of instruments on his solo album One Big Atom (2011).

(Translation by/ Tradotto da xxx)

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