Brooklyn pianist and composer David Moore's Bing & Ruth originally released City Lake in limited release on Happy Talk in 2010. In 2014, RVNG Intl. issued the outfit's acclaimed sophomore effort, Tomorrow Was the Golden Age. It showcased a controlled yet emotionally expressive music that contained ethereal shifts between darkness and light, as modern crossover classical music encountered ambient and new age.
City Lake is not a new Bing & Ruth record, but it might as well be. Only 250 copies of the chamber-ambient ensemble's album were pressed when it was first released on vinyl in 2010. It reappears now, on New York's RVNG Intl., as a sort of coda to last year's RVNG-released Bing & Ruth album Tomorrow Was the Golden Age. That record, a luminous affair for piano, cello, clarinet, bass, and tape delay, was many listeners' first encounter with David Moore's group, so it makes sense the label would want to dust off a recording that most people never got the chance to hear.
City Lake is the album that brought RVNG Intl. and pianist/composer David Moore together. The test-pressings for the debut Bing & Ruth LP, which got a limited release in 2010, were mistakenly sent to RVNG boss Matt Werth by his distributor. Werth reached out to Moore, and the result was the gorgeous 2014 highlight Tomorrow Was The Golden Age.Remastered and expanded for this release, City Lake is clearly a stepping-stone on the way to that singular album.
Led by alt-classical young lion David Moore, Brooklyn’s Bing and Ruth have been making serious waves in the New York City creative music scene (or at least what’s left of it) for over four years now. They have performed at such prestigious local events as the Wordless Music Series, the WFMU Festival and Stochastic Brooklyn and alongside such prominent, like-minded figures as Mum, Max Richter and So Percussion. On the group’s third full-length, Moore and his 11-piece ensemble utilize their microtonal menagerie of strings, woodwinds and treated acoustic instruments to craft an atmospheric aural landscape that would be just as at home at Carnegie Hall as it is in the various meat lockers, chicken coops, abandoned apartments and rooftops the group has been known to commandeer as performance spaces.
Minimalism is a slippery thing. Throughout the late twentieth century, composers like La Monte Young and Philip Glass built a tradition of simplicity and repetition largely in reaction to the convoluted anthropocentrism of formalists like Schoenberg and Stravinsky – often absorbed in systems of their own creation such as serialism. John Cage and others distanced themselves from this anthropocentrism, notoriously relying on determinants like chance or automated human behavior (see Steve Reich's seminal 'Piano Phase') to move beyond our anthropocentric history of composition.