AMN Reviews: Bing & Ruth – Tomorrow Was the Golden Age (Rvng International)

homepage_large.5dc7da4cA collective that coalesced among music school friends in New York some ten years ago, Bing & Ruth come in like weather. Generally six or seven minutes each in length, one piece glides into the next, a dream dreamt by the piece that succeeds it.

Tomorrow Was the Golden Age features seven players (down from eleven on its first release) – two upright bassists (Jeff Ratner and Greg Chudzik), two clarinetists (Jeremy Viner and Patrick Breiner), cellist Leigh Stuart and a “tape delay tech” (Mike Effenberger), arabesquing a Persian carpet behind composer David Moore´s piano. Moore describes this effort as “drone-based with a lessened concern for perfect intonation”, a kind of suite, moving “from the darkness to the light and observ[ing] what that process would result in”.

Tomorrow Was the Golden Age are what haikus would sound like if they were explained at length. Remember that Bashō used the form as a jumping off point for collaborative compostion and telling longer tales. With similarly elegant simplicity, the pieces use few syllables to say things, like

A bee
staggers out
of the peony

and then spin their yarn.

The misty textures are gloriously complementary of Moore´s thoughtful piano playing, with the individual instrumentalists occasionally making very subtle forays out of their attuned cluster. Nearest to hand for comparison is Gavin Bryars, though in contrast, Bryars is downright breakneck. Tomorrow Was the Golden Age  might also call to mind Bang on a Can´s rendition of Brian Eno´s Music for Airports, but the piano, instead of slowly dripping honey, is a melodic voice that is very sweet, very articulate.

Stephen Fruitman