The full length debut from avant-ambienters Bing & Ruth is treated to an expanded reissue. City Lake takes in the exquisite piano work of David Moore, nestling the reverb-drenched tones amidst clarinet, cello and vocals for a luxuriously engulfing piece of work. Out on CD and 2LP vinyl from RVNG Intl.
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In my mind, Bing & Ruth are a buddy cop duo whose ambient music is dichotomised by their good/bad interrogations: in one corner, there’s Bing, hammering home stilted drone ‘til his suspect buckles under pressure. Then there’s the understanding Ruth, pulling it back in with a piano melody here, a handclap there, anything to make their guy think these dudes are on their side. It’s a long con, and god knows their personal lives are hanging on by a thread, but damnit -- they get results. Sometimes they go to diners.
The chief of police invited Bing into his office. “It’s getting worse out there, Bing. Every day. Belle & Sebastian, Sufjan Stevens, Philip Glass -- delicate indie-classical scum is filling our streets. I’m putting you in the field”. Bing looked up from his cold coffee (that was just how he took it these days -- the same temperature as his blood), sneering at the pencil-pusher across the desk: “That’s all behind me now”. It had been five years since ‘City Lake’ had been released. A part of him had been dead ever since. He turned to leave.
“I don’t think so, Bing. You familiar with the word ‘reissue’?”.
Uh, yeah. Let’s take an ad break. ‘City Lake’ is a startling blueprint for David Moore and his ensemble: where ‘Tomorrow Was The Golden Age’ stands as a cohesive package of their neo-classical sound, which compacts melody into stilted drone, this record offers standalone tracks after different, disjointed ideas: choral intonations meet the kind of tragic lounge jazz Radiohead made on ‘Amnesiac’, while frenetic, repeating piano figures rush into gorgeously rhythmic pieces of music like “Rails” -- where their new record may have become spiralling and internalised, this record shows Moore making something more cinematic and pointed, in the vein of a louder, prouder Nils Frahm. If you’re more into neo-classical melodramas than ambient resolutions, this is the one for you: this is the sound of an ensemble at the mercy of an expert.
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