Lifetones – For A Reason


1983 solo outing from Charles Bullen, the former guitar player of the always-relevant experimental rock outfit This Heat on his own private Tone of Life imprint, of which this is the sole release.

Like other British post-punk contemporaries (Slits, Pop Group, et. all) Bullen immerses himself deep in zoned dub territory on much of this album. (Apparently the UK scene’s fascination with dub stems from a reggae DJ who was friends with many of the bands. A common post-gig after party would be a late night hash sessions fueled by his most out-there dub 45 sides.) At times it sounds like the more accessible points of This Heat’s masterwork “Deceit” remixed 80’s dubstyle ala Mad Professor, using the same unique vocal style of group harmonies (multitracked here) that layer from the melody down to create a brooding and chant-like effect, as well as their kraut-informed approach to rhythmic repetition. The results are nothing short of amazing, although the times when Bullen peaks out of the thick reggae haze with hypnotic and winding lock grooves are surely the albums finest moments (see “Good Side”).

All This Heat related projects seems be very aware of the otherworldly realms that can be constructed with sound and rhythm when you have a masterful command of studio techniques, and “For A Reason” is certainly no exception; the stereo field acts as a playground for Bullen’s signature percussive guitar strumming and keyboard work, evoking a dark beauty ever present in the work of Bullen and other This Heat members like Charles Hayward. A tough to catch album but well worth tracking down.

Listen: “For A Reason”, “Good Side”

71 Comments

  • Hmmm… not bad, but Hayward’s post-This Heat effort, Camberwell Now, seems a little more interesting. Speaking of This Heat, they’ve just released a comprehensive box set that included previously unreleased material. Can’t wait to get my hands on that! Too bad it’s CD only.

  • yeah, I’m a big fan of all the camberwell now releases, as well as haywards first solo release “survive the gesture” which is about as far into pop as any this heat member has dared to venture. it’s also worth noting that 3 tracks from this lifetones album appear on the the bootleg “after this heat” which solo work from all three of the main this heat members, including lifetones, gareth williams’s lo-fi solo album
    “flaming tunes” and two tracks by hayward’s les batteries project.

    i ordered that boxset a bit ago, still waiting for it to arrive. seems like it’s not as complete as i would have thought (leaving out the tago mago cassette release as well as those live bootlegs i think) although clean and remastered copies of all their releases will be great to have, not to mention the booklet it comes with.

  • can anyone upload this album to rapidshare, please?

  • this album rules, i actaully am more fond of this than camberwell

  • this album has been one of my favorites for the past couple years, i listen to it all the time.

  • this is by far, some of the most creative rythms to come out of the camberwell scene. good side, is esthetically dressed with a variety of world music influences and repetitive guitar jaggs that reminice early ethiopians and maybe hints of kraut. i love this stuff, so unique.

  • my mother was the sound engineer on this lp. i remember the recording of it a ‘cold storage’ what a brill studio that was.. its now a block of duff looking appartments.

  • Cold Storage was a great little studio, pity its appartments now, my first album was recorded there.

  • these two tracks are amazing, i definitely hear a reggae/dub influence. neat mix of sounds. good side is way ahead of its time…. this heat members are way underrated.

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