Tags: craig armstrong, instrumental, Isaac Hayes, mad professor, Marius de Vries, protection
Whilst not much information exists exactly on the origins of Heat Miser (or its sister songs, Weather Storm and Sly), it was the direct result of Massive Attack’s partnership with with the up and coming film composer Craig Armstrong and their desire to produce a song with a very filmic theme or quality to it.
They started with a sample from the Isaac Hayes song “Ike’s Mood” and developed their own piano take inspired by that song without actually sampling it. The twinkling piano sound in “Ike’s Mood” had previously been sampled by Massive Attack at the end of One Love on Blue Lines.
The heavy breathing heard throughout the song is actually a combination of 3D, Daddy G, Mushroom, Nellee Hooper and Tricky’s vocals blended together and looped back, with Daddy G’s vocals being most present in the mix.
This is the only Massive Attack song to feature Marius De Vries on writing duties. His main role was that of programmer on the album Protection.
The drummer on Heat Miser, Rob Merril would also likewise never work on another Massive Attack song again, but also strangely enough according to Discogs, would never feature again in any musical capacity again on any recording ever again.
Heat Miser was an almost permanent member of the live setlist from the 1995 tour until the end of the Mezzanine tour in 1999. Since then however, it has appeared very rarely on setlists with its only appearance being a handful of dates at the beginning of the European leg of the 2006 tour. This was due to the fact that Horace Andy was unavailable for those dates, which forced Massive Attack to improvise their setlist a little bit more than usual.
As noted above, 3D provides new lyrics to the live version where as the original album version was a simple instrumental. Some of these live lyrics which would have probably been written around 1994/1995, would end up as being apart of the lyrics to Inertia Creeps.
On some occasions during the 1995/1996, Craig Armstrong would accompany Massive Attack live on stage and play the piano part of Heat Miser.
Backward Sucking – The final track from the Mad Professor remix album No Protection. Available only on this release.
Suck Me Up Dub – This remix also from the the Mad Professor was released two years after the No Protection remix album on a electronic music compilation called “Foundations: Coming Up From The Streets”. Whilst similar in style with the Backward Sucking remix of the song, this version contains some notable differences. The first being the use of Tracey Thorn’s distorted echoey vocals which do not appear to be to taken from any of the three songs Tracey Thorn released in conjunction with Massive Attack. The other difference is that this remix contains a sample from the Isaac Hayes song “Ike’s Mood”, which was also used by Massive Attack themselves at the very end of One Love.
Heatmiser 2 – This version is solely produced by Craig Armstrong, even though it still contains writing credits for Massive Attack. It strips the original song back to a very basic albeit beautiful piano track, which is the theme of the album it appears on: Craig Armstrong’s “Piano Works”, which features piano only instrumentals of earlier Craig Armstrong works.
Mushroom on how Heat Miser was constructed in the studio – “Heat Miser happened through haphazardness. We just floated through it, adding things as we went along. There wasn’t anything really planned. It started off with the Isaac Hayes loop, the piano used at the end of One Love on Blue Lines. A guy came in and did the drums, we sampled him off and tightened it up. The handclaps and bass drum were sampled from records, and the deep breathing is five of us in the studio, slowed down and looped.” [Future Music Magazine - September 1994]
While a instrumental track on the Protection album, when Heat Miser was performed live by Massive Attack in the 1990′s, 3D added these lyrics to it.
The morning is blue. Say the morning is blue. Sticking my antenna in you. Sticking my antenna in you. Be coy when you’re standing there too. Be coy when you’re standing there too. My morning is blue. I make a lot of trouble for you. Yeah i make a lot of trouble for you. The lemon lights know that it’s true. The lemon lights know that it’s true. It makes a lot of trouble for you. I make a lot of trouble for you. Be coy when you’re standing there too. You’re coy when you’re standing there too. My morning is blue. You take a lot of smoke to get through. Yeah you take a lot of smoke to get through. You take a lot of smoke to get through. The morning is blue. The morning is blue.