Saturday, December 21, 2013

Artist Making Waves: RY X // The Howling // The Acid [indie folk / electronic]

First things first: Yes, this is a triple post. Why? Well, you may have guessed that it has something to do with that bearded character up there, and you're right. His name is Ry Cuming.

Ry Cuming is an Australian-born surfer and musician who relocated to Los Angeles some years back, got noticed (for his music), recorded a major label pop record under his real name, toured with Maroon 5, and then decided to 'go indie', which has resulted in the lovely music I present to you today.

Cuming performs/records under the stage name RY X and shares his beautifully fragile pipes and solid guitar work in the electronic projects The Howling and The Acid. Each time I switch between EPs my favorite project of his changes so it would be rather difficult to write this post recommending only one.

The three projects feature Cuming's unmistakable sultry vocals and a haunting ambience. His solo work recalls Bon Iver thanks to his crooning falsetto, melancholic tone, stripped instrumentation, and overall alone-in-a-cabin-in-the-woods feel, while it boasts crisper production and trades in Justin Vernon's folky chords for more intricate melodies lined with arpeggios. The Howling is delivered in the same vein as RY X (both projects have a version of "Shortline", for example), but is spruced up with the subtle, yet expansive electronic production of German electronic musician Frank Wiedemann. Whereas RY X and The Howling share the same downcast tone and bare-bones structure, The Acid changes up the formula. This mysterious trio constructs a much more complex (and electronic) sonic environment that has brought on comparisons to James Blake, Animal Collective, m83, and Radiohead, but it still has that ominous fog creeping through it.

Go ahead and dive into Ry Cuming's three projects below to see for yourself which one you like best. I wouldn't be surprised if you found it hard to decide as well.

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