Cucina Povera “Lumme”

Primordial Void keeps their hot streak going with another spellbinding album, this time from Finnish artist Cucina Povera. Lumme, her fourth album, is an hour-long excursion through a decadent haze. Cucina Povera is the work of Maria Rossi, a Finnish musician, and sound artist, and from the opening 20-minute masterpiece, “Sinisen ruusun tapaus,” I am completely enraptured. The improvised voice and organ piece is ghostly and intoxicating, the sound of being immersed in the spirit world where everything floats beneath a hazy sheen. Tremolo and delay turn her voice into a living beam of light that cuts through the fog, though the empty space holds resonance throughout. It’s utterly captivating.

Even if the rest of Lumme doesn’t hit those opening heights, there’s plenty of magic to be found. Sensual rhythms and grooves swim through a smoky sea on “EKR,” where most of the music is created from Rossi’s processed and looped voice. She sings over the self-made choir, drawing you in closer and closer until you can feel the whispers in your ears. It stands in stark contrast to the vividly colorful “Tuuli pajuissa.” Bubbling synth arpeggios dance and preen against a droning saw wave eventually winning the battle and pulsing into the horizon. “Aletaan” closes the album with Rossi again singing hypnotically, folding her voice into surprising shapes. 

Lumme is an amorphous album that I can never quite pin down. Cucina Povera knows when to let ideas roam and breathe, as with “Sinisen ruusan tapaus” and “Aletaan,” but is also adept at taking away space when needed. Lumme is a new way of transcending tired modes and with a small palette of mainly synths, organ, and voice, Cucina Povera cuts her own ambient path.