Boomkat Product Review:
Hilja is the sublimely half-there debut of dream pop from Glasgow-based Finnish artist Maria Rossi a.k.a. Chicano Povera. Taking her name from the southern Italian method of making-do in the kitchen, Cucina Povera works just as well to describe Rossi’s unusual, off-kilter mix of avant-garde abstraction, medieval-sounding folk and synthesised nocturnal atmospheres, which sounds to our lugs like one of the Fonal label’s folk sprites gone rogue in a parallel 4th world.
Strung out somewhere between Julia Holter’s enigmatic early work, the possessed vibes of Ectoplasm Girls, and a deeply strange episode of the Moomins, Rossi’s first release finds a fine balance of naif imagination and modestly confident vision, shaping a quietly hallucinatory and often ephemeral sound world where it’s dead easy to lose yourself within its maze of alternating physical and mental states.
Glasgow’s Night School, behind the release, aptly compare Maria’s style with magic realism, which offers a hand catch-all explanation for wtf is going on between the sylvan synths and lullaby-like glossolalia of Demetra and the worm holing in-conclusion of Totean, with results that recall Phew’s esoteric Japanese songcrasf in the multi-tracked vox of Kuparirumpu, or like one of the enchanted cuts from Felicia Atkinson’s Hand In Hand LP on Avainsana, whilst Huhuilu is a dance anthem from alternate, lushly inverse dimensions.
RIYL Julia Holter, Islaja, Tongues of Light, Félicia Atkinson