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

2019-01-11
Jazz Composer Mark Lomax, II Releases Epic 12CD Set – In addition to being a fine jazz drummer, Dr. Mark Lomax, II is a composer in residence at Ohio State University, where he has been very busy on the compositional front. The year 2019 is the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first ship bringing African slaves to North America, and in commemoration of this, Lomax has produced 400: An Afrikan Epic, a 12 volume set of CDs featuring a variety of different musical ensembles. » Read more

2019-01-02
Chicago-Based Surabhi Ensemble Tours the World in January – Surabhi Ensemble was formed more than a decade ago in Chicago with the aim of bringing together musicians from varying traditions to make music. Saraswathi Ranganathan, who plays veena, assembled a cast that includes Arabic oud, Spanish guitar, and percussion from Africa and India. This month, the group will be sharing their sounds with concert-goers in Southeast Asia, Europe, and Africa. » Read more

2018-12-23
Seaprog Festival Seeks Donations – Seaprog is a small festival in Seattle that highlights creative music from many genres with artists from around the world. It's also a US non-profit organization. They're seeking donations to help keep the ball rolling. Starting in 2013, the organization has been growing, and has featured such artists as Free Salamander Exhibit, Jack o' the Clock, Nik Turner, Cabezas de Cera, Miriodor, Thinking Plague, and many more. » Read more

2018-11-16
The Seventeenth Dream of Dr Sardonicus Festival Tickets Now Available – Fruits de Mer Records and their merry crew of psychedelic explorers are getting set to present the next The Seventeenth Dream of Dr. Sardonicus Festival. The dates are set for August 2-4, 2019 at The Cellar Bar in Cardigan, Wales. They've also announced that the legendary Groundhogs will top the bill. » Read more

2018-11-02
Charles O'Meara (C.W. Vrtacek) RIP – A true musical original has left us. Charles O'Meara, who recorded under the name C.W. Vrtacek, was a wild-card musical talent, ranging from complex progressive rock to introspective modern compositions, with stops at many places inbetween. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

B.A.G. - Soudain, l'Éléphant – This French instrumental five piece of guitars, bass, keys, winds and drums plays music in a somewhat jazzy vein, yet with a rock flair and a multitude of influences ranging from world jazz and Arabic...  (1994) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues