Exposé Online banner

Bing and Ruth — City Lake (Expanded Edition)
(RVNG Intl. RVNGNL31, 2010/2015, CD)

by Jon Davis, Published 2015-12-08

City Lake (Expanded Edition) Cover art

I first encountered this ensemble with their 2014 release Tomorrow Was the Golden Age, and now RVNG has re-released their previous effort, City Lake, originally from 2010. The album’s first release was a limited quantity double LP on the Happy Talk label, and for this edition, three tracks have been added. The music is similar in style to Tomorrow, with composer David Moore’s piano accompanied by a group consisting of two clarinets, two cellos, two wordless vocalists, lap steel, bass, and tape delay effects. There is also some minimal percussion, shakers, hand-clapping and so on, though it’s unclear who is responsible. The overall effect is somewhat like Godspeed You Black Emperor translated a little further from rock influences. It is not in the nature of Moore’s music for the individual instruments to distinguish themselves, and there are times when the sounds could be coming from almost anything, though the timbres of the clarinets and cellos are often noticeable. The lap steel is particularly anonymous, and the female voices can blend in so much that they could almost be another pair of clarinets. The piano is often heard playing arpeggios or chords broken up into simple rhythmic patterns, all backed by a variety of acoustic instruments, usually playing long tones fading in and out to form ever-shifting tonalities. More than once I was struck by the thought that if this music had been performed on synthesizers it would not be that different from a hybrid of ambient and sequenced like you might find on Spotted Peccary. The highlight of the set is the title track, a 15-minute masterpiece of slow evolution, building up from a beginning that’s nearly inaudible to a massive wall of Ligeti-like shifting clusters with wailing electronic noise. I’ve yet to come across the vocabulary to talk about music like this, which seems to grow as much out of the work of 20th Century composers like Stockhausen and Glass as it does from experimental music outside that world, like GYBE and Rachel’s.


Filed under: Reissues, 2015 releases, 2010 recordings

Related artist(s): Bing and Ruth

Latest news

2017-02-20
Larry Coryell RIP – One of the greats of jazz guitar has left us at the age of 73. Larry Coryell was one of the founding figures of jazz fusion, but produced a significant body of work the bridged many styles. His group Eleventh House provided a unique take on the combination of jazz and rock that was distinct from contemporaries such as Mahavishnu Orchestra, Return to Forever, and Weather Report. » Read more

2017-01-31
John Wetton RIP – After a long battle with colon cancer, singer and bassist John Wetton has died at the age of 67. As an integral member of such bands as King Crimson, UK, and Asia, his was one of the distinctive voices in progressive rock, lending a human touch to often difficult music. » Read more

2017-01-30
Seaprog Announces First Artists for 2017 – The organizers of the Seaprog Festival in Seattle have announced the first set of confirmed performers for the 2017 festival. The best known names are Cabezas de Cera and Jack o' the Clock, but a host of other bands are featured, mostly from the Northwest. The festival will take place June 2-4, 2017. » Read more

2017-01-27
Acoustic Festival of Britain 2017 Announces Eclectic Lineup – The Acoustic Festival of Britain has been going since 2006, and this year's event sees a number of outstanding artists on the bill. Fairport Convention, Tir na nOg, and Martin Turner are some of the artists we've covered, and there are many more, including The Men They Couldn't Hang, Howard Jones, Chantel McGregor, and many more. The festival runs June 2-4, 2017 at Uttoxeter Racecourse in Staffordshire. » Read more

2017-01-26
Butch Trucks RIP – Butch Trucks was one of two drummers in the first incarnation of the Allman Brothers Band in 1969, helping the band achieve its legendary status as an American original. He died on January 24, 2017 of a self-inflicted gunshot would. He was 69. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Tone Bearer - Millennium – Tone Bearer is a San Jose six-piece cut squarely from the Marillion and Pendragon mold of neo-prog. The lineup is your standard 5-piece with an additional percussionist and the vocalist doubling on...  (2000) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues