Heatsick – Intersex LP Review
I first came across Heatsick like most people out there, reading a recent RA feature. After checking out some of his tracks there was an instant sense of something new and playful about his work. Originally from Leeds and now residing in Berlin Steven Warwick’s output has been predominately abstract, creating soundscapes from a mixture of electronic noise and synth fuzz. Alongside this he has developed a distinctly lo-fi yet cool aesthetic, his own label Alcoholic Narcolepsy (co-ran with Luke Younger) often release limited cassette tapes with wonderfully hallucinatory artwork. Recently however he has shown an exciting shift in his musical direction, moving into some sort of dancey disco (yet not disco). His Dubbed Sunshine album hints at this new sound but it only fully emerged on his recent Dream Tennis EP, which showcases a loopy, groovy track that genuinely feels like NU-disco (even though that label usually makes me feel queasy). Using only one casio keyboard the effects are dizzying, psychedelic and enchanting. Most importantly his new work has an unshakable danceability, demonstrated by his live performances at venues like Panorama bar. Intersex is the next chapter of this venture yet it still offers something for the fans of the weird noisy stuff.
I was surprised by the fact the opening track is not much more than that Chi-Lites sample that was also used fairly recently by Matt Edwards and Joel Martin under their Quiet Village guise. Warwick does however make it his own, humming along with the strings it feels like a personal introduction into his own sonic microcosm. Then you’re straight into Ice Cream on Concrete which is like Dream Tennis take two – marvellous kaleidoscopic disco. Placed next to the Chi-Lites sample Warwick seems to be referencing the roots of this new sound. The track is almost 14 minutes long giving it time to drift from the foreground to the background like a daydream. Arpeggio’s dance around the infectious casio drum groove, while a sporadic voice talks of ‘interplanetary adventures’. Oh and there is a wicked bassline with plenty of funk too. Tertiary is on the surface a similar kind of track but it has a totally different feel. This is night time driving music on the desert roads around Vegas. Slower and less dizzying it actually feels too short despite it being unmistakably loopy. Stick it on repeat.
The last track Vom Anderen Ufer (from the other shore) is an extra-terrestrial work out on the ear. Warwick’s experimental background is indulged with a 15 minute sci-fi milieu of spiraling lasers, bleeps and drones. It’s comparable more to a soundtrack of an avant-guard film, reminiscent of some of the sounds in Solaris (not the George Clooney version). You may love the rest of the tracks yet this one could leave you stumped. Even if you like it, it’s not one to re-visit all too often. It is however a wonderfully weird track if you have any inclination for that sort of madness. As it plays out you feel there could have been so much more of that whimsical disco music, especially when there seemed to be a whole host of material on a live set posted by Warwick on his blog. Ultimately though being left wanting more is probably the desired effect, especially when he has a live set coming up in London – you should all go to it.