before bing & ruth’s halcyonic opus tomorrow was the golden age, there was city lake. initially pressed in an unusually limited edition five years ago, the ensemble’s stunning full-length debut is now released in simultaneously refined and expanded form. with bonus tracks and new, visceral mastering, the album gleams all the more and signals a spree of live performances this fall revisiting the material.
as the principal leader of bing & ruth, david moore assembles his orchestral roster according to the scope of each piece and recording setting. for city lake, bing & ruth consisted of eleven members: two clarinetists (jeremy viner and patrick breiner), two cellists (greg heffernan and leigh stuart), two vocalists (becca stevens and jean rohe), a bassist (jeff ratner), a lap-steel player (myk freedman), a faithful tape-delay engineer (mike effenberger), a percussionist (chris berry), and moore on piano.
city lake is shepherded into concrete pastures by moore’s weightless piano melodies, immersed as they are in grand shapes of breath-like horn, string and voice phrases. augmented with more percussive proclivity than twtga, city lake establishes bing & ruth’s ambient brand through a greater gamut of material mediums. if twtga opened its shutter to the imperceptible shifts of transitions between darkness and light, city lake was composed to be less ethereal, instead embodying a group-oriented musicality and physicality.
on city lake, there are instances of reich-ian excitement with the hand clapped rhythms of “rails” and a seance of sorts excorsized by the brush-tapped “put your weight into it.” dual track “city lake / tu sei uwe” culminates the urbanized form of ambience with tonal elements in free-fall, piling-up in a harsh denouement of the album’s title piece. further into the program david moore’s intrigue with gavin bryars and thomas newman finds delicate voice in the hibernative “here’s what your missin,” a track redolent of all the narcotic power of which bing & ruth are capable.
city lake sets the standard met by bing & ruth’s sonorous sophomore journey tomorrow was the golden age. in this earlier portrait, the ensemble graces its listeners with gail-force movements from the wake of bing & ruth’s gliding wings leaving trails in the skyline. city lake was rvng’s chance introduction to bing & ruth, mistakenly handed off as unmarked test pressings by the vinyl manufacturer.