Music

Hervé: Art of Disappearing

I’ve come to know it as a grower -- a curiosity I wouldn’t dream of playing for a friend but a secret I might keep, locked within my music player.


Hervé

Art of Disappearing

Label: Cheap Thrills
UK Release Date: 2013-03-04
US Release Date: 2013-03-03
Amazon
iTunes

You have to know your audience. I was young and living in a new city. At the time I had played a few chill out nights at clubs but I would take any opportunity to knock at the door of my new local scene. I got to talking to this fellow at a party one night who, upon hearing I was a new DJ on the scene, offered to give me a spot at a party he was playing the following weekend. I had picked up a whole stack of new trance records that I loved. I had visions in my head of playing them for a dance floor on the verge of frenzy. So when his mid-tempo, middle-of-the-road, minimal house set was complete, I yawned before dropped my first track -- a floor destroying pounder of grand scale. Horns blared in euphoric drama, breaks scattered, and uplifting synths showered the previously conversing but now completely perplexed party attendants with misplaced spiritual transcendence. I noticed a young lady dip a chip into some hummus and then abandon it to approach me instead. I was lost in delusions of projected appreciation. I took off my headphones as if to invite her praise. I leaned over my bingo table turned musical pulpit and she met my gleeful self-assuredness with an unexpected disdain. Before I knew what hit me, she asked, “What the @%#$ are you doing?”

Moments like these are important -- I never considered for a moment that there was an unspoken social consensus to party music. To this day I will stand by the quality of those records I was spinning but what was all wrong about it was the fact that it didn’t fit.

As I listen to Hervé's Art of Disappearing I felt a similar reaction to that of the young girl who condemned me so many years ago. There is something otherworldly about Hervé’s sound but not in a way that’s easy to appreciate. It just doesn’t fit. It walks a middle ground between the austere electronic experiments of anything in the Hyperdub catalog and the more trendy pop-dub crossover.

“Bears” is just too slow and lethargic to enjoy with a sound mind. Echoing strings pluck out a melody over a scratchy and distorted clap and warped bass. The entire track is washed in static or ocean waves -- perhaps a little of both. “Feels Like I’m Coming Home” is certainly innovative with it’s barely-even-trying boom and tap percussion. The bass line contorts uncomfortably while a vocal sample of the title of the track grumbles, pitched down so low it’s barely discernible.

“Gold Feet” features the vocals of Maria Minerva and attempts to walk the now familiar path of artists like Massive Attack -- a chilled out soulful vocal over minimal dub drum and bass. It’s like bowling -- not bad but not good either. It rolls straight down the middle of the isle and misses all the pins. But you keep playing. “Save Me” and “Somebody” offer a sort of psychotic pop as heard through a sound-retardant undulating wall of ectoplasm.

At “Lose Control” and “Mountains” I found it actually began to win me over. While in a similar vein to its previous track, “Lose Control” sounds more endearing and the seemingly Asian-influenced synth line in “Mountains” is undeniably dramatic in its urgency. There’s no vocals on this one either so it works best as a simple dub track.

Perhaps the most interesting thing about this record is that days later when I listened to it again it sounded slightly more familiar and weirdly appealing. I’ve come to know it as a grower -- a curiosity I wouldn’t dream of playing for a friend but a secret I might keep locked within my music player.

As a former DJ himself and even collaborator with Fatboy Slim it surprises me that Joshua Harvey (Hervé) would produce something with so little reach. But then I don’t know what kind of parties he’s playing. When he throws down Art of Disappearing there may be hoards of undead who shuffle and limp along snarling with a dull but significant delight. If he dropped it at my party though, I’d have to ask him what the @%#$ he was doing.

5
Music


Books


Film


Recent
Books

How the Template for Modern Combat Journalism Developed

The superbly researched Journalism and the Russo-Japanese War tells readers how Japan pioneered modern techniques of propaganda and censorship in the Russo-Japanese War.

Film

From Horrifying Comedy to Darkly Funny Horror: Bob Clark Films

What if I told you that the director of one of the most heartwarming and beloved Christmas movies of all time is the same director as probably the most terrifying and disturbing yuletide horror films of all time?

Music

The 50 Best Songs of 2007

Journey back 13 years to a stellar year for Rihanna, M.I.A., Arcade Fire, and Kanye West. From hip-hop to indie rock and everywhere in between, PopMatters picks the best 50 songs of 2007.

Music

'Modern' Is the Pinnacle of Post-Comeback Buzzcocks' Records

Presented as part of the new Buzzcocks' box-set, Sell You Everything, Modern showed a band that wasn't interested in just repeating itself or playing to nostalgia.

Music

​Nearly 50 and Nearly Unplugged: 'ChangesNowBowie' Is a Glimpse Into a Brilliant Mind

Nine tracks, recorded by the BBC in 1996 show David Bowie in a relaxed and playful mood. ChangesNowBowie is a glimpse into a brilliant mind.

Music

Reaching for the Sky: An Interview with Singer-Songwriter Bruce Sudano

How did Bruce Sudano become a superhero? PopMatters has the answer as Sudano celebrates the release of Spirals and reflects on his career from Brooklyn Dreams to Broadway.

Music

Inventions Conjure Mystery and Hope with the Intensely Creative 'Continuous Portrait'

Instrumental duo Matthew Robert Cooper (Eluvium) and Mark T. Smith (Explosions in the Sky) release their first album in five years as Inventions. Continuous Portrait is both sonically thrilling and oddly soothing.

Music

Esperanza Spalding and Fred Hersch Are 'Live at the Village Vanguard' to Raise Money for Musicians

Esperanza Spalding and Fred Hersch release a live recording from a 2018 show to raise money for a good cause: other jazz musicians.

Music

Lady Gaga's 'Chromatica' Hides Its True Intentions Behind Dancefloor Exuberance

Lady Gaga's Chromatica is the most lively and consistent record she's made since Born This Way, embracing everything great about her dance-pop early days and giving it a fresh twist.

Love in the Time of Coronavirus

Street Art As Sprayed Solidarity: Global Corona Graffiti

COVID-19-related street art functions as a vehicle for political critique and social engagement. It offers a form of global solidarity in a time of crisis.

Music

Gretchen Peters Honors Mickey Newbury With "The Sailor" and New Album (premiere + interview)

Gretchen Peters' latest album, The Night You Wrote That Song: The Songs of Mickey Newbury, celebrates one of American songwriting's most underappreciated artists. Hear Peters' new single "The Sailor" as she talks about her latest project.

Music

Okkyung Lee Goes From Classical to Noise on the Stellar 'Yeo-Neun'

Cellist Okkyung Lee walks a fine line between classical and noise on the splendid, minimalist excursion Yeo-Neun.

Reviews
Collapse Expand Reviews

Features
Collapse Expand Features
PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.