Cucina Povera — Q&A

Alexander W. Raworth
6 min readNov 4, 2018

The highly innovative and experimental Glaswegian artist Maria Rossi, also known as Cucina Povera, released her debut LP, ‘Hilja’, in January earlier this year to a responsive market. A day after performing at Salford’s Sounds From The Other City, she had a brief email conversation with The Sound Basement…

So, my first question is basic and painful, but how can you describe your music; how do you perceive it?

When I record I do everything quite spontaneously, I go into a state of immediacy, stream-of-consciousness, I use words and sounds and chords that pop into my head, make alliterations and harmonies out of, and in conjunction with them. Recently I’ve tried to stretch my voice to do textures and sounds that aren’t necessarily associated with voice. It’s my main instrument so I like to play with that a bit. Also, I use whatever happens to be within reach, I’ve found percussion like bottles and light bulbs, ‘accidental’ pops and feedback, static, noises from the street, the market, the river bank. Looping everything can make every day sounds quite interesting. For a while, I was working in a really cool little recording space out in Dalmarnock to the east of Glasgow. So, I used the building, recorded noises that were happening in and around the place. I guess it all boils down to ‘found’ material, putting it through filters, effects and placing these in the mix wherever they feel most comfortable. I guess I perceive everything as having the potential for a track or a mix, I don’t know what is useful until I use something in a track and think, ‘that works out quite nicely, I’ll work with that idea and try to stretch it.’

Your music contains elements of field recordings then. How do you think people perceive it; are you worried that people may not understand what is going on?

I get worried about that all the time, when I look at more esoteric art or listen to abstract kinds of music, then I realise that ‘getting’ it is not always the point. For me it’s all about taking small steps, experiencing things incrementally and texturally, not rushing, and music by its durational nature allows you to do just that. Listening is great but getting to experience the creative side of things definitely deepens the feeling of immediacy that is associated with sound. It also makes you listen to your environment in a totally new…

Alexander W. Raworth