After blessing Night School with the divine ambient pop of ‘Hilja’ - one of 2018’s most memorable albums - Cucina Povera, aka Finnish-born, Glasgow-based sound artist Maria Rossi, turns us to mush again with ‘Zoom’, a startling new album of plaintive choral hooks, murmuring vocals, and super minimal synth strokes.
Recorded in intimate spaces full of "acoustic or ideological intrigue", primarily using nothing more than her own voice recorded through a VE20 vocal effects pedal directly into a Zoom H2N, the album becomes a materialist catalogue of the wonder of the every-day; a document of different locations and moods, a postcard look into the stream-of-consciousness of an artist developing her own language.
It’s a much more stripped down affair than Cucina Povera’s debut ‘Hilja', literally breaking down to glossolalic gasps, single words and phonemes that drift in mellifluous cadence thru gently reverberant space. Occasionally her vocals form full phrases, and although they’re in Finnish, the information is really all imparted via that plaintive intonation and harmonic structuring. In this sense, she lives up to her moniker - relying on what’s to hand - vocals - in simple, but properly unusual and previously unheard combinations.
Unlike the more ethereal vocal layering of, say, classic Grouper - 'Zoom' offers a much more stark set of songs; a vulnerable but defiant sound diary that we’ve returned to at least a dozen times in the short few weeks we’ve had it to hand.