Cucina Povera — ‘Hilja’

Something strange and ethereal resides here. Cucina Povera’s debut is a creation that mixes together a minimalist and ghostly synthetic atmosphere along with the envision of a room, so mysterious its only resemblance is the most thrilling and yet terrifying French neo-noir film imaginable — and no, that film is not David Lynch’s ‘Lost Highway’.

For those who wish to do extensive in-depth research on Cucina Povera, well firstly there is this rumour floating around that Maria Rossi, the person behind the ambience, took influence from the traditional peasant dish that was heavily used throughout Southern Italy in the second world war. So, if one was to type in Cucina Povera in Google, they may be rewarded with a pleasant recipe for risi e bisi (peas and rice) or even aglio e olio (pasta with olive oil, garlic and parsley).

In fact, Maria Rossi is a Glasgow based Finnish contemporary, avant-garde, abstract and whatever else roughly sketched synonym to the word, weirdo, artist. Her debut ‘Hilja’ was released on January 18th via Night School Records and contains clearly observable vocal techniques inspired by group harmonies that date back to the middle ages that are occasionally placed with the most minimalist of synth presences.

In varied places, certain mind frames, particularly the ones that may not be used to this form of structure, can feel misled and abandoned as layered repetition can build up, only to leave a sense of loss. Or, perhaps a better way of putting it would be a sense of being lost? In a few ways, it is these senses of being misled which rises one’s curiosity for this LP.

However, a question has been haunting this writer since his discovery of ‘Hilja’. Is it simply music, or is it something much more complex? Not least because it lacks any resemblance to nearly anything produced of its closest sibling genres and artists, but perhaps because of its unique posture. Speaking of, one individual on Bandcamp stated that the closest resembling artists were the Icelandic based Sigur Ros and Scotland’s Cocteau Twins, with Cucina Povera sandwiched somewhere in the middle. It is probable that the individual in question may have been listening to, well, hmm (?), a missing link.

Nevertheless, the medieval elements, the minimal techniques and the seemingly repetitious harmonious vocal lines that run over each other add a solidifying extension to the complexity of Maria Rossi. Is it an update to modern art, or is it just unified sounds?

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