Originally released on Rough Trade in 1981, Heartbeat was the first of many incredible albums by the duo of ex-Throbbing Gristle members Cosey Fanni Tutti and Chris Carter. It’s impossible to understate the importance of these records to the synthpop genre - they are at once menacing and playful, ironic and well-researched, gloomy yet hopeful. The records make heavy use of custom analog electronic equipment and sampling in addition to Cosey’s spoken vocals and cornet playing, continuing to follow the experimental trail blazed as members of England’s most notorious “wreckers of civilization”. The album starts with a claustrophobic howl of synth sequences that introduce “Put Yourself In Los Angeles” before being quickly swept aside by Adrian Sherwood-esque sampled voices and buzzsaw synth riffs. “This Is Me” is submerged murmured vocals and heady synth textures, a schoolyard game made into a haunting mantra. “Moving Still” is one of the more textural tracks here, synthesized chimes and warm chords. Title track “Heartbeat” closes out the disc, a neat piece of 4/4 synth work that sounds like a slo-mo Human League album track. Pressed on purple vinyl, includes a printed insert with press clippings from the time of the album's original release. Highly recommended.
reviewed by HAMBURGER LADY 2/2020