Given their much publicized “no style” ethos – a neat way of avoiding the perils of preconceptions – it’s unsurprising the latest All City release comes from maverick Italian producer Herva. His 2014 debut album, Instant Broadcast, was something of an off-kilter classic, trawling through a myriad of contrasting influences with frankly weird results. That it not only hung together brilliantly, but also sounded terrific, is testament to both Herva’s growing confidence, and his ability to infuse tracks with a genuine sense of tipsy otherworldliness.
In some ways, How To Mind Your Own feels like an extension of Instant Broadcast. It has the same hard-to-fathom feel, with thick layers of noise and dusty, barely audible samples thrilling and confounding in equal measure. Like that album, it refuses to stick to one beat pattern or dominant rhythmic approach for very long, and no track outstays its welcome. It sounds like a producer making sense of the jumble of ideas in his head before our ears, aided by a huge pile of charity shop records, an MPC, and various bits of forgotten hardware.
The title track is a particularly glorious example of this. Following 80 seconds of lilting, spaced-out electronics and the introduction of a vocal sample so drenched in reverb that it sounds like a distant broadcast from a far-off star, the track bubbles into life via a throbbing bassline and a pitched-down hardcore breakbeat rhythm. Throughout, Corti brings things in and out of the mix in a particularly disarming way; at one point, the low-end of the track disappears entirely, but without the aural hallmarks associated with such filter tricks. It’s an old dub trick, of course, but on a skewed, midtempo rave experiment, it sounds particularly disorientating.
The use of vintage breakbeats, chopped, and mangled like some of Luke Vibert or Aphex Twin’s more forthright works, is a seemingly constant theme on How To Mind Your Own. They can be found on the deliciously deep and immersive IDM revivalism of “No Money, No Honey”, the piano-laden, Aphex-on-one wonk-a-thon that is “She Is” and the ghetto-tech inspired fuzziness of “Dynamic Image Hits”, which lades its’ distorted, up-tempo drums with bluesy vocals samples, machine gun electronics and the kind of warm-but-dusty chords you’d expect to find on an obscure deep house record.
Of course, Herva isn’t satisfied with merely doffing a cap to the early ‘90s, and two of the EP’s most arresting tracks are those that take different approaches. “Pressure Bumps” is a brilliantly oddly produced chunk of spaced-out carnival techno peppered with blasts of sampled carnival noise, while “Antiloudness War Manifesto (Tape 2)” sounds like Space Is The Only Noise-era Nicolas Jaar. A strangely unsettling fusion of looped vinyl crackle, sampled acoustic guitar, glitchy rhythms and overbearing late night atmospherics. It sounds a little out of place, but it’s so magical that you’ll forgive Corti the self-indulgence.
A1. How to Mind Your Own
A2. Pressure Bumps
A3. She Is
B1. Dynamic Image
B2. No Money No Honey
B3. Antiloudness War Manifesto (Tape 2)