Opera North Blog

Preview: This Is Not This Heat

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Simon Godley anticipates This Is Not This Heat's visit to the Howard Assembly Room on Saturday 27 May, with photographs of their debut at London's Cafe OTO by Dawid Laskowksi.

"A direct descendent of the seminal late 70s outfit This Heat - the London-based trio of Charles Hayward (drums/vocals), Charles Bullen (guitar/vocals/tapes), and Gareth Williams (organ/bass/tapes) who broke new and exciting musical ground with their exploratory and innovative sound and who have influenced generations of artists since, from Animal Collective to Caribou and Sonic Youth to Massive Attack – This Is Not This Heat feature two of the band’s founding members, Hayward and Bullen (Williams sadly died of cancer in 2001).

To mark the 40th anniversary of their first ever gig, Hayward and Bullen reconvened last February for the first time since 1982 (when This Heat had folded, leaving a recorded legacy of two albums and an EP). Joined by contemporary luminaries such as Alexis Taylor of Hot Chip, Sonic Youth’s Thurston Moore and Daniel O’Sullivan of Grumbling Fur, and appearing as This Is Not This Heat, the two men then performed deconstructed and expanded versions of their earlier work in what was by all accounts a quite remarkable reunion.

Now in yet another coup for the Howard Assembly Room, Charles Hayward and Charles Bullen are coming to Leeds to play what will be one of only three live UK shows scheduled for this year. On this occasion, the pair will again be joined by O’Sullivan, alongside Alex Ward, Merlin Nova and Frank Byng.

Reflecting last year upon the manner in which This Heat approached the creation of their sound, Charles Hayward said that “It was all about trying to find something new”. Now, more than 40 years later, expect their music to take a similarly unique and experimental turn. 

There is sure to be a maelstrom of musical ideas, plenty of improvisation and spontaneous instrumentation and a final product that will probably owe as much to the cosmic jazz of Sun Ra and the progressive rock of the Canterbury Scene of the late 60s and early 70s as it will do to those of post-punk peers such as The Pop Group and The Raincoats. It promises to be music that will transcend both time and place."

This Is Not This Heat play the Howard Assembly Room on Saturday 27 May.


Simon Godley is a music writer and photographer based in York. You can see more of his work at God is in the TV Zine, where he is Deputy Editor.

Dawid Laskowski is a London-based photographer. To see more of his work, follow his Flickr photostream.

Images of This is Not This Heat from Cafe OTO, London, February 14, 2016:
Charles Hayward, Charles Bullen and Daniel O'Sullivan 
Charles Bullen's prepared guitars
Merlin Nova and Charles Hayward
Charles Bullen

© Dawid Laskowski

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