Dollars To Pounds: The Hitman And Hervé

June 11, 2008

Another week, another ton of records with Joshua "Hervé" Harvey’s grubby fingerprints all over them. Like our hero Wiley, Hervé’s output is so prolific and scattershot that it’s difficult to know where to begin, especially since the quality control knob clearly worked itself loose some time ago. But messy and erratic is a lot more fun than grimly reliable. Late last year, he went too far with an EP of obvious tunes that sampled Jacko’s "Thriller" and the Rocky theme. But without doing anything vastly different, his new album of collaborations with the likes of Toddla T, Drop The Lime, Fake Blood and Trevor Loveys under the Machines Don’t Care moniker puts Hervé right back in the game.

In truth, there’s not much difference in attitude between the Cheap Thrills EP and Machines Don’t Care, or indeed Hervé’s bewildering litany of other projects (Count Of Monte Cristal, Speaker Junk, Voodoo Chilli, etc). He’s obviously not too bothered about sourcing obscure samples, preferring to chuck in a load of familiar signifiers, keep chopping the beat, and trust that you’ve got a strong stomach. Party or puke: at least you won’t be bored. He seems to take the same approach to DJing—I’ve seen him rip a club to shreds, but I’ve also seen him come on at 3am, having paid no attention to what the previous DJ was playing, and totally clear the place by stubbornly refusing to dip his tempo. Maybe he just doesn’t give a fuck. Fair enough.

Here is a Hervé and Drop The Lime track from called 'Spycatcher'. There are also a couple of excellent album tracks he's done with Sinden, which should give you a good idea of what to expect from The Count & Sinden album, due out later this year on—strangely enough—Domino.

Hervé & Sinden, "Spycatcher"

One of Hervé’s less contentious recent moves is to bring through a chap called Sang Foley aka Fake Blood. Sang’s stuff is ravier, more triumphantly silly and less beholden to that disco hi-hat than his mentor. Some days, I prefer it.

Fake Blood, "Blood Splashing (Fake Blood Theme)"

If you’ve never heard any of Hervé’s music before, listen to the clips before watching this painful interview with him and Sinden, which could leave you with the impression that they glumly sell pirate DVDs off a market stall for a living.

This video looks more fun. It’s from when they toured The Count & Sinden roadshow round the UK last month and sensibly hired three MCs to front for them. The sound quality is rubbish, but the clip proves that Solid Groove’s "This Is Sick"—the definitive anthem of the scene nobody wants to call ‘fidget house’—still has legs three years on.

Actually, to be fair, not all of Hervé’s music sounds the same regardless of his alias. I really like the urgent psychedelic house of Dead Soul Brothers, whose stuff is a bit like The Chemical Brothers’ "Setting Sun". Their MySpace looks suspiciously defunct, but knowing Hervé, expect an album to turn up next week.

Posted: June 11, 2008
Dollars To Pounds: The Hitman And Hervé