This Heat were an English experimental rock band, formed in early 1976 in Camberwell, London by multi-instrumentalists Charles Bullen (guitar, clarinet, viola, vocals, tapes), Charles Hayward (drums, keyboards, vocals, tapes) and Gareth Williams (keyboard, guitar, bass, vocals, tapes).
This Heat were active in the ascendancy of British progressive rock and punk rock, but stood apart from those scenes due to a radically inventive approach that touched on numerous different styles and genres, but was always confrontational and politically charged. Their commercial success was limited, but This Heat are widely considered a missing link betweenprogressive rock (especially krautrock) and such later experimental genres as post-punk, industrial music, post-rock and noise rock. This Heat's influences included Can, Lee "Scratch" Perry and Throbbing Gristle.
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 as this was before they had moved into their 'Cold Storage' studio, which they converted from a disused cold storage room 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 characterized 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.
Deceit, the band's second and final album, was produced with help from noted reggae mixer Martin Frederick and released in 1981. Deceit found the band incorporating more influence from punk rock, and consolidating the world music influences in their work. Although, like all of This Heat's releases, it sold poorly, Deceit is now seen as a classic of the post-punk era.
This Heat split up in 1982 after completing their final European tour with bassist-vocalist Trefor Goronwy and keyboardist Ian Hill joining Bullen and Hayward, as Williams had departed for India. Hayward went on to form Camberwell Nowwith Goronwy and Stephen Rickard, and remains musically active. Bullen had a solo venture called Lifetones, and released one record, For a Reason, in 1983 on his Tone of Life imprint and in 1998 released the album Internal Clockunder the name Circadian Rhythms.
In 1993 a new album of previously unreleased This Heat recordings was unearthed. Repeat featured three long tracks, including the title track, a 20 minute remix of "24 Track Loop". Out of Cold Storage, a box set of all the band's official recordings, was released in June 2006 on This is!, a new Recommended Records sub-label set up by Hayward and Bullen to re-release This Heat's back catalogue. The set comprises This Heat, Deceit, Health and Efficiency, Made Available and Repeat, plus Live 80/81, a CD of concert recordings.
Gareth Williams later formed Flaming Tunes with Mary Currie and released a cassette of new material, in a much "gentler" style than that of This Heat. This has been released on CD for the first time in mid-2009. In December 2001 This Heat tentatively rehearsed (with Williams) however nothing came to fruition as Williams died later that month of cancer.
- This Heat (1979)
- Health and Efficiency (1980; EP)
- Deceit (1981)
- This Heat with Mario Boyer Diekuuroh (1982; split cassette with Albert Marcoeur)
- This Heat Live (1986, cassette-only release of 1980 Krefeld concert)
- The Peel Sessions (1988; EP)
- Repeat (1993)
- Made Available: John Peel Sessions (1996; reissue of The Peel Sessions with bonus tracks)
- Out of Cold Storage (2006; 6-CD box set)
- John Peel Shows (2005, bootleg of 1977 preview of first album demos)
- Face Hand Shy: Rarities (2006, above Peel demos plus "Health & Efficiency", Mario Boyer Diekuuroh tracks and undated live tracks)
- Scala (2006, bootleg 1979 London concert)
- Final Revelations (2007, final 1982 concert plus demos for new never-completed album)
- Live at I.C.A. Club 1980 (2007, bootleg of concert at London's Institute of Contemporary Arts)