This Heat was an English avant-rock band from Camberwell that released a self-titled album on David Cunningham’s Piano label in 1979, followed by the 1980 EP Health and Efficiency. A second proper album, Deceit, appeared in 1981 on Rough Trade. The band was formed by ex-Gong/Quiet Sun drummer Charles Hayward, who followed This Heat with the more art-rock oriented Camberwell Now.
Members: Charles Hayward (drums, tapes, vocals), Charles Bullen (guitar, clarinet, vocals), Gareth Williams (bass, tapes, keyboards, vocals, 1975-81), Trefor Goronwy (bass, vocals, 1982), Ian Hill (keyboards, vocals, 1982)
This Heat formed in 1976 from the ashes of Quiet Sun, which featured drummer Charles Hayward.
Quiet Sun was Hayward’s first recorded band. They originally formed in 1970 as an experimental jazz-rock quartet. Despite rubbing shoulders with Soft Machine and Nucleus on the London underground scene, they didn’t reach the studio before their initial breakup in 1972 when guitarist Phil Manzanera joined a fledgling Roxy Music and bassist Bill MacCormick teamed with Robert Wyatt in his post-Softs venture Matching Mole. In the interim, Hayward did a 17-month stint in a touring version of Gong.
In 1975, Quiet Sun reassembled in the studio during sessions for Manzaneria’s debut solo album Diamond Head. While there, they recorded Mainstream, comprised of material they had stockpiled from their earlier formation. After a brief tour behind the album, Manzanera returned to Roxy Music. Quiet Sun carried on briefly with guitarist Charles Bullen, whose experimental mindset impressed Hayward. When the band collapsed soon after, the pair commenced a new project.
Hayward and Bullen toyed with a list of names (Dolphin Logic, Friendly Rifles) and hired visual artist Gareth Williams, whose untutored musicianship counterbalanced the pair’s formal skills. They settled on the name This Heat, inspired by the 1976 UK summer heatwave, the hottest on record up to that time.
This Heat’s first radio airplay came in early 1977 from legendary DJ John Peel, to whom they sent a demo tape recorded in the top room at Hayward’s parents’ house in Camberwell, prior to moving into their ‘Cold Storage’ studio — a disused cold storage room converted into a studio, which was part of an “Acme Studios” artists studios complex in Brixton. During this time, they also recorded a session with Ghanaian percussionist Mario Boyer Diekuuroh, parts of which later appeared on a 1982 split cassette with Albert Marcoeur, released by the French experimental rock magazine Tago Mago.
Their self-titled debut album was recorded between February 1976 and September 1978 in various studios and venues, and was released in August 1979. It was characterised by heavy use of tape manipulation and looping (especially on the track “24 Track Loop” which was a loop actually on the 2″ master tape), combined with more traditional performance (including quite a lot of live stereo microphone in the room recordings) to create dense, eerie, electronic soundscapes. Shortly thereafter, This Heat released the Health and Efficiency EP, which foreshadowed the more rock-oriented sound of their subsequent album.
- This Heat (1979)
- Health and Efficiency (EP, 1980)
- Deceit (1981)
- Repeat (1993, recorded 1979–80)
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