Heat Leisure is a collective centered around the Carney brothers of Pontiak, Greg Fox and Alexandra Drewchin of Guardian Alien, Steve Strohmeier of Beach House, and Robert J. Otten III. Their music takes a freewheeling approach to psychedelia with obvious nods to Amon Düül II, Can and the Grateful Dead. For this, their second gathering and recording at the Carney’s farm in Virginia, the group recruited the legendary Merry Prankster and Dead associate Ken Babbs, who emceed the Dead’s mythical Veneta, OR gig in 1972 that became Sunshine Daydream, to contribute a shamanistic monologue to “III,” which occupies the first side of this, their first full-length vinyl release. The Carneys approached Babbs about collaborating with Heat Leisure after staying at his Oregon farm on the last Pontiak tour. Heat Leisure’s core principles are spontaneity, serendipity, and collaboration. The band employs frying amp distortion, a signature of Pontiak, as well as an array of drums, synthesizers, samplers, organs and a heavy dose of explorative improvisation by the musicians to create a highly lyrical album.
Heat Leisure was conceived as a multi-media pursuit. While this release, III & IV, is an audio record, Heat Leisure I & II was released in the form of a short film/DVD with an accompanying 7”. The Carneys have said that future incarnations could take any form from performance and paintings, to sculptures or even digital mediums. Very much like the collaborative approach of the musicians to each session, they are keeping it open. I & II was recorded outside on the Carneys’ farm in Virginia, the ensemble improvising live on camera in the field for an afternoon. The film captures the free form interplay of the guitarist and Fox’s driving drums, along with the field’s more typical residents: the farm’s horses. In contrast III & IV was recorded late at night during a three day period during the first week of 2014 in Pontiak’s Studio A, also on their farm, with Lain Carney doing most of the engineering. The session was recorded live to 1” tape, the reel old and decaying, which lead the tape to subtly speed up and slow down as the tape broke down and left residue on the tape heads. This organic effect adds to the woozy, surreal vibe of the music, and could not be replicated in a digital recording.
Heat Leisure I & II