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

2020-03-24
Bill Rieflin RIP – The sad news reaches us today of Bill Rieflin's death. Rieflin was best known as a drummer in bands ranging from post-punk to industrial to indie-rock to progressive rock, including work with The Blackouts, Ministry, Nine Inch Nails, Swans, Land, and King Crimson. Rieflin had been battling cancer for several years, and succumbed to it on March 24. He was 59. » Read more

2020-03-17
Cruise to the Edge and Seaprog 2020 Festivals Postponed – The worldwide outbreak of the novel coronavirus has started to produce casualties in the music world, and festivals are not immune. We've had word that both the Cruise to the Edge (originally slated for March 27 - April 1) and Seaprog (originally June 5-7) have been postponed to later dates, with those dates to be announced. » Read more

2020-03-06
McCoy Typer RIP – Word reaches us today of the passing of one of the most influential pianists in the history of jazz, McCoy Tyner. His tenure with John Coltrane in the early 60s includes some of the most treasured recordings of the era, including My Favorite Things and A Love Supreme. After leaving Coltrane's group, he had a long and successful solo career. He was 81. » Read more

2020-02-18
Jon Christensen RIP – Word reaches us today of the passing of Norwegian drummer Jon Christensen, a musician whose sensitive playing did much to help define the atmospheric sound of ECM jazz recordings. His work with Jan Garbarek, Bobo Stenson, Terje Rypdal, and many more was sensitive and varied, adapting to a wide variety of styles while maintaining a distinct identity of its own. Christensen was 76. » Read more

2020-01-21
Gong Announces UK Tour for 2020 – Having spent the last few years touring the world, including dates in Japan with psych legend Steve Hillage, multiple headline European tours and festivals, America’s Cruise to the Edge festival, a South America headline tour, and a headline performance at Tomorrow Festival in China, the band have won the hearts of both traditional and modern Gong fanbases. During this live journey, Gong has delved further into the truly psychedelic, exploratory, and mind-expanding side of the music. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Steve Roach - Live at Grace Cathedral – This two disc set documents one of Roach’s rare live performances, this one at San Francisco's historic Grace Cathedral on June 29, 2007. The natural reverb of the performance space meshes well with...  (2011) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues