Album Review: Howling – Sacred Ground


Howling is the project of folk singer Ry Cuming and Berlin based techno producer Frank Wiedemann. According to the press release, the duo met “on Skype through a mutual friend,” which strikes me as a bizarre statement: how do you meet on Skype? Were Cuming and his mystery friend trawling through Skype, making calls to strangers until they hit jackpot? Who knows. Regardless, it’s the most interesting thing I can find to say about this album. Sacred Ground is essentially an album’s worth of gentle plink plonking wallpaper music that has some pretty melodies and occasionally lovely vocals and whole swathes that pass by in a fug of inconspicuous tedium. Is there any need for long washes of pristine, vaguely prissy ambience carrying whispered inconsequential vocals? Surely this has been done a million times before, but with conviction and – God forbid – occasional bursts of energy.

There are moments – Forest has some buzzing synths interrupting proceedings, whilst live percussion rattles as though shook by cheeky woodland sprites – but in total these probably only add up to a decent EP’s worth of music. Over the hour long course of the album Cuming’s constant bloody yearning vocals, and the music’s constant po-faced seriousness suggest that Howling’s biggest ambition is to soundtrack a heart-warming advert about bio yoghurt. Average.