Sometimes bringing biographical information into the picture when discussing music is merely a narrative crutch, but in the case of young Italian producer Herva, it's hard to resist making assumptions. Apparently growing up on a steady diet of R&B and hip-hop, Herve Atsè Corti discovered IDM and set to work with his laptop. The music on his intriguing debut album Meanwhile In Madland easily betrays all of that. Soulful deep house rendered with an ambitious and particularly amateurish hand, Herva's first album on Bosconi's Extra Virgin sub-label is an occasionally enchanting effort by a promising novice.
Meanwhile In Madland is a watercolour portrait of blurry, sedate deep house, but it's a kind of house where the tracks throb with their entire bodies rather than pivot on the weight of the kick drum. Part of that is by design: built up heavily from samples, tracks like "Soul Crash" and "Breathe" almost owe as much to the LA weirdo-hip-hop tradition as any number of deep house touchstones. The chords become twisted up in the heaving structures, with melodies manifesting like drops of humidity on the glassy surface. Madland is vaguely psychedelic and soporifically-paced, giving it an ephemeral and ethereal feel only underlined by the ghostly vocal samples Herva often utilizes. The aesthetic comes to a head on mid-album centrepiece "She Plays Tricks On Me," where the jaunty beat skips like a dirty record and Corti goes wild on the decibel fluctuations, creating a disorienting vacuum that his music seems to disappear into momentarily before popping back out as good as new.
That last trick is perfectly indicative of Corti's scrappy, irreverent spirit: on several other tracks he pulls the levels down to zero and back up again, obscuring beats and leaving bits and pieces of melodies unfinished. If it sounds neat at first, it's ultimately frustrating and annoying, like a toddler fascinated by the volume knob on a stereo receiver. It's the work of an artist who's still learning his craft, still learning the boundaries of taste, but his seeming disregard for convention also leads to some genuinely stunning music. "My Mono Relax" pulls the rug out from under the luxurious dubby swell for eight minutes of pleasant pulse—like hollowed out, slowed-down trance—overlaid with a new-agey monologue that sounds like it was taken off some relaxation tape. I can't really decide if it's brilliant or hopelessly cheesy (like a lot of Meanwhile In Madland) but it's hard not to fall into those lush, supple, homemade grooves anyway.
Buy Herva - Meanwhile In Madland at
Tracklist: Herva - Meanwhile In Madland 01. Meanwhile In Madland
02. Soul Crash
03. My Mono Relax
05. Useful Distortion
06. She Plays Tricks On Me
07. Please Baby Breathe
08. In The Right Way
13. Reality Madness