Heratius - Gwendolyne / Les Boniments
Heratius were an otherwise impossibly obscure Montpellier-based collective who found some degree of notoriety when their name appeared on the Nurse With Wound list. As you'd expect with such an association, their history is somewhat murky and confusing, but it seems their output was originally limited to just a cassette and a private press album around the late 70s. Staubgold have now collected together these recordings - the studio album Les Boniments and a first time vinyl pressing of Gwendolyne - into a single retrospective package that shows the outfit to be atypically idiosyncratic and obtuse. Like with much of music to receive the Stapleton seal of approval, Heratius ghost between the lines of convention, see-sawing between traditional French folk song, musique concrete, free jazz abstraction and avant garde exploration. Fellow list alumni ZNR feel a worthy comparison - there's numerous moments of bluesy melodicism amidst the experimental zeal - though it was probably Henry Cow's Chris Cutler that nailed it best when he declared Heratius the 'French Faust'. There's much worse things to be: inscrutable, transcendent, occasionally ridiculous, and often way ahead of the pack they're probably unaware even exists.
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