You can’t eat inspiration. Music demands people who feel it is of sufficient value to be worth paying for. With many now deeming Spotify’s $0.008 per play a fair exchange for the work of musicians, other paths are coming into play for a lucky few. In the case of Heretics – a trio consisting of French sound-poet Anne-James Chaton with guitarists Thurston Moore and Andy Moor – support came from offbeat advertising agency L’Agence Herezie and the theatre La Muse En Circuit who were willing to front the studio and performance costs for a record built around the concept of heresy.
The result has a welcome breadth encompassing a volume of poetry, a ‘making of’ film, plus the resulting music/poetry. It easily lives up to the majesty of the packaging which incorporates a match that I believe – but am unwilling to test – can be ignited using the striking surface on the front cover. ‘Érétik’ walks a terrain of tape hiss and distorted voices somewhere between Laibach and Sonic Youth’s ‘Providence’, the three artists taking turns reciting individuals who have inspired the project before recounting daemonic figures also deserving their due. ‘Hiedsieck’s Chords’ must have been a blast as a live performance; Chaton declaims a series of names with a letter from each announced as the next chord with the tightly locked in guitars seamlessly switching (it sounds a lot like an early Glenn Branca guitar piece).
Sometimes accompanied poetry can suffer because the interactive pressure is placed entirely on the musicians – they react to the words, while the poetry follows its own course paying scant regard to the music. Occasionally that does happen here but amid such a diverse selection of approaches it becomes a welcome change in emphasis on a record filled with a satisfying blend of voices, language and instrumental attack.