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This Is 1

This Heat

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Album Review

This British group could neither be called post-punk nor progressive rock, yet This Heat was one of the most influential groups of the late '70s. They created uncanny experimental rock music that has many similarities in approach to German pioneers such as Can and Faust. Other groundbreaking independent groups such as Henry Cow and Wire may be their only peers, and much later This Heat also became profoundly influential on the '90s genre known as post-rock. Their angular juxtapositions of abrasive guitar, driving rhythms, and noise loops on the opening cut, "Horizontal Hold," preempt much later activity in the electronica and drum'n'bass scenes. The outstanding "24 Track Loop" is based around a circular drum pattern that could have been a late-'90s jungle cut were it not recorded in late-'70s London, long before such strategies were even dreamed of in breakbeat music. This album is a great example of ahead-of-time genius, work that draws on elements of progressive rock, notably "Larks Tongues in Aspic"-era King Crimson for all its abrasive, warped rhythm, as well as Can, Neu!, and Faust's pioneering work — though there is little else that comes close to the unique and distinctive avant rock sound, an entirely new take on the rock format. Their self-titled debut is a radical conglomeration of progressive rock, musique concrète, free improvisation, and even — in a bizarre distillation — aspects of British folk can be heard in Charles Hayward's singing. There are very few records that can be considered truly important, landmark works of art that produce blueprints for an entire genre. In the case of this album, it's clear that this seminal work was integral in shaping the genres of post-punk, avant rock, and post-rock and like all great influential albums it seemed it had to wait two decades before its contents could truly be fathomed. In short, This Heat is essential.

Biography

Formed: 1976 in Camberwell, South London, England

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '70s, '80s

Despite their extremely short-lived tenure, U.K. experimentalist trio This Heat left behind a legacy that would open the doors for the formation of forward-thinking genres like post-rock, industrial, and post-punk. The group came together in January of 1976 in Brixton, London, made up of Charles Bullen, Charles Hayward, and Gareth Williams. All three members contributed vocals and played a variety of instruments including guitar, keyboards, clarinet, viola, and prerecorded tapes. Bullen and Hayward...
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