Boomkat Product Review:
Maria Rossi is unstoppable right now - just a few months after her AOTY-contender collab with Ben Vince, she reveals this mindboggling two-tracker that loops her vocals around eerie synth bells and concréte tape loops. Like church music re-imagined beside a bonfire in a Finnish forest, it's some of the most haunting and affecting music out there right now.
We're not certain exactly what it is that makes Maria Rossi's music so alluring - maybe it's some kind of alchemy that comes from being a Finnish transplant in Glasgow? Whatever it is, she seems to get better with each successive release. "There I See Everything" took her art to another level earlier this year, and "Tuhka" continues the climb, stripping her sound to its bare essentials. Recorded at the tail end of lockdown from "archival snippets and new vocal loops" while Rossi was holed up in Amsterdam, she describes the period as "creative but relaxed", and that feeling of calm control centers the EP; Rossi is confident and playful, and allows her creative expression to bubble up from the core.
Tuhka might also be the most distilled music she's released. 'Kärpässieni' is deceptively simple - her cooled vocal curls are distinctive at this point, but sound newly revitalized positioned next to playful FM bell noodles and a choppy recording of what might be running water. None of the elements are particularly unusual, but used together everything sounds rare and magical; the expected becomes unforeseen and the familiar mutates into new forms. The track's name is a reference to the fly agaric fungus, an iconic toadstool that's both poisonous and psychedelic; this carries to into the mood of the 9-minute piece, that sounds calming but hypnotic - who knows where it might lead?
'Varisevalehti' is even more startling, leaning on Rossi's vocals even more forcefully and building a repeating mantra that digs its tendrils into folk, spiritual music and minimalism at once. She is particularly adept at understanding how to treat the voice without phasing into either pop or well-raked experimental tropes; her music shares commonalities with her Finnish predecessors like Lau Nau or Islaja, but also with Arvo Pärt and, more recently Lucrecia Dalt and Lea Bertucci. Rossi couches her most experimental inclinations - like chopping mangled, dissociated tape chatter into her levitational cries - in warmth that would melt even the coldest hearts. Utterly bewitching stuff, yet again.