After The Heat was originally released in 1978, and is the second collaboration between Brian Eno, Dieter Moebius, and Hans-Joachim Roedelius (Cluster). The first collection, the landmark ambient album titled simply Cluster & Eno, came out in 1977. All of the material for both records was recorded during one three-week session in ‘77, after Eno had finished work on David Bowie’s "Heroes" LP. The trio were joined in the studio by Asmus Tietchens and Holger Czukay of Can on a few tracks.
After The Heat starts out much like Cluster & Eno. The first track, “Oil,” is a piano soliloquy that seems to be heading into familiar, soothing territory. Then a foreboding bass enters the picture, which signals that the journey will be a little different from the previous one. This is confirmed by the next cut, “Foreign Affairs,” an early stab at world music, which also manages to reference Kraftwerk’s contemporary Trans-Europe Express.
The original vinyl LP split the ten songs evenly between two sides, and the remaining three on side one are the closest to the ambient sounds of Cluster & Eno. “Old Land” is particularly peaceful, setting us up for the kill, I guess.
The remainder of After The Heat is very different. The five songs that round out the record have a lot in common with what Peter Gabriel was working on during this period. I guess that is why it was hailed as a prog record upon release.
The funk factor is the most unique quality of After The Heat. While Eno, Moebius, and Roedelius will never be confused with the Ohio Players, these white boys definitely find the beat on “Broken Head,” and “Tzima N’arki.” Holger Czukay’s bass on “Tzima N’arki” is a wonder as well, and leaves no doubt as to the direction his career was headed.
Another difference between After The Heat and the previous set is the fact that Brian Eno “sings” three songs. His very precise, and somewhat flat vocals complement the music perfectly though, adding another layer to the eclectic mix.
After The Heat remains something of a lost classic. For fans of Eno, Cluster, Krautrock, or even prog, it is definitely worth hearing.