It's difficult to know where to start with Heat Leisure, the collaborative project between Pontiak's Carney brothers, Greg Fox and Alexandra Drewchin of Guardian Alien, Beach House's Steve Strohmeier, and Robert J. Otten III. Established as a multi-media project Heat Leisure I & II was a short film accompanied with a 7". Heat Leisure III & IV is a pure audio release, two extended jams effectively, that make up the band's first full vinyl release (though it is still just 27 minutes long)... Although the band state that this in no way rules out other forms for future releases.
Heat Leisure III opens with a monologue from Grateful Dead associate and Merry Prankster Ken Babbs, recorded after the Carneys approached him about a collaboration following a stay at Babbs' farm on their last tour. As the thick drawl of Babbs lumbers on, the ravings of a man emerging from inebriation into a moment of clarity, distorted synths encircle his words like vultures and coyotes waiting to make their move. It's a piece of audio full of theatre and drama, the band kicking in properly only after six minutes, more than halfway through the song. What remains is an impassioned and ruthless percussive instrumental, yelps and squeals puncturing layers of distorted instruments and clattering drums.
The second (longer) half of this release, Heat Leisure IV builds slowly from a melange of dischordent haunted vocals an melodies. Into a psychedelic droning Afro-beat full of complex layered percussion. Just over halfway through Heat Leisure IV pivots into something different - still percussive, but lighter and more delicately played. With the sheer amount of noise and reverb throughout it feels like the loudest band you ever heard squeezed into a tiny quite room, the volume edged as low as it can go and you still feel it. The result is strangely calming - the rough edges smoothed in a way that still leaves all of the texture and detail but affords greater perspective.
Heat Leisure III & IV is less an album and more of a statement and an experience, but it’s one the begs to be experienced in full, surrounding you and swallowing you whole. For that, it is an achievement.
Heat Leisure III & IV is released through Thrill Jockey on 20 October on LP, pre-order from Amazon.co.uk [affiliate link].