Gareth Williams & Mary Currie - Flaming Tunes

Gareth Williams & Mary Currie - Flaming Tunes

Verdict: 4.5/5

Self-released / 2012 reissue on Blackest Ever Black





Written By

Dragos Rusu


February 3, 2014

If you have stumbled upon different music genres, areas and influences, and arrived at this album by accident, you will be completely absorbed from the first second; or the first few ones. Anyhow, this precious music diamond was created in 1985, after Gareth Williams returned from a trip to Southern India, where he studied Kathakali dance drama, a stylized Indian dance-drama known for its attractive make-up of characters, elaborate costumes, body movements presented in tune with the anchor playback music and complementary percussion.

Gareth Williams is best known for his work under the influential cult band This Heat, formed in 1976, together with musicians Charles Hayward and Charles Bullen, this one also involved in other separate music projects (Lifetones, with an LP released in 1983, Circadian Rhythms, under which he released an LP in ’98 and People in Control). Bullen was most prolific under The Heat band, where they released several astonishing albums which years later were considered by many musicians an influential foundation for the further experimental music. But he has a significant role on the Flaming Tunes album as well, collaborating on the tracks ''B to A'', ''Golden Age'', and being a close witness of the whole creation process of the album.

Gareth passed away at the age of only 48, in the Christmas Eve of 2001. His ashes were scattered in a Keralan river as well as on Surrey’s Headley Heath. Lifelong friend of Gareth, Nick Goodall, shared these locations for the scattering of his own ashes in 2008.

Flaming Tunes was originally released only on cassette. In early ‘90s, some folks made a bootleg CD with this music and stamped it as ‘This Heat’s final demo recordings’. As Andrew Jacques says in an interview with Tony Herrington in April 2009 for The Wire, this really upset Gareth, since he clearly mentioned several times that this music is nothing like This Heat and has (almost) nothing to do with the trio’s sound. Eventually, the LP got reissued, since there was a lot of interest and buzz around it in the past few years.

This is something totally ahead of its time. Its so roughly melodic, that it has this power to imprison the listener in its eerie, wistful, gloomy, happy world. At some point it becomes totally useless just trying to describe its sound. Lo-fi avant-garde experimental rock for the hungry beats of the universe. Every song has an amazing power, condensing in itself a wide amount of feelings. ''Beguiling the Hours'' authority is so evident, that it becomes an amazing experience even for the most suspicious votary of music.

One last thing. Back in the days, around ’86 or ’87, Ana, a small dark haired beautiful girl broke up with her lover, Adrian, on a cold November evening. They were having several fights, and tension was created each time, because of the communication difficulties they were encountering. He was a poor little writer and she was teaching English to a few classes for poor little children from Prague, Czech. At some point, after a violent fight between them, that lasted around one hour, Adrian came to Ana’s one room cozy apartment, he rings the door, she opens the door, they look at each other for a few moments and after that Adrian enters the apartment. They don’t say a single word, just staring at each other. Adrian takes a cassette out of his pocket, he opens the tape player and hits the play button. He returns back to Ana and they sit on the bed, listening to the tape. It took one hour for them to reunite as lovers, while the tape plays each of the 11 songs. It was the Flaming Tunes album that spoke for both of them, and each time they were having difficulties as a couple, they were coming back to this magical album, as an audio therapy for their uncanny souls.


1. Another Flaming Tune
2. Beguiling The Hours
3. The Best Weapon
4. A To B
5. Breast Stroke
6. Raindrops From Heavens
7. Restless Mind
8. B To A
9. Golden Age
10. It's Madness
11. Generous Moon

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