Saturday, 3 October 2009

This Heat - Made Available

Compiled from two 1977 Peel sessions, this album shows the full spectrum of This Heat's sound. Most of the second session is comprised of the Kraut-ish tape and improv experiments, which are quiet, tense and faintly disturbing. This session does include a manic version of 'Makeshift Swahili', which would re-surface on their 1980 masterwork 'Deceit'. This version is even more intense, with Charles Hayward sounding particularly mental.
The first session is more substantial, and shows how ahead of their time This Heat really were, completely foreshadowing the whole post/math-rock movement with their weirdly angular riffs, and extended instrumental passages. These are shown to best effect on opener 'Horizontal Hold', and 'Rimp Ramp Romp', which harks back to the heaviness of mid 70s King Crimson without the tightness and control: the sense of impending chaos is what gives the music its impact. For me the highlights are the two vocal tracks. 'Not Waving' is a haunting and bleak song: eerie drones and loops build a backdrop for a strangely affecting song about what seems to be some kind of vaguely existential crisis, punctuated by a lovely repeating woodwind motif. 'The Fall Of Saigon' is a truly brilliant track: sawing guitar drones and industrial percussion introduce another songs with nebulous subject matter. Sung in the two-part harmony that would become something of a trademark sound, the vocal part of this song is one of the most beautiful sequences that This Heat created, but a squalling atonal guitar lead clenches the second half of the track in its grip.


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