Bing & Ruth – No Home Of The Mind
Charting a perfectly plotted divergent scale, Bing & Ruth’s avant-classical collective gets fewer in terms of members with each album just as chief composer David Moore’s number of pianos used on them reciprocally grows. There’s seventeen of them on his latest and 4AD debut, No Home Of The Mind, pianos that is, each – according to Moore – with “their own personalities.” This is not some dystopian future in which robots have risen to take the place of humans, however; these are inanimate instruments taking on truly anthropomorphic life in their place, the choice both necessary in terms of crude practicality as well as artistic aesthetic.
Down then from the eleven used on City Lake and the seven employed on 2014’s revelatory Tomorrow Was The Golden Age (released via experimental hub RVNG Intl.), Moore now captains an ensemble of just five players, continuing to put his New School of Jazz and Contemporary Music education to use in their arrangement, evoking the style of fellow minimalist alumni Steve Reich and John Cage in the process, as well as the experimental end of the collective canons of Philip Glass and Harold Budd. No Home Of The Mind thus toys with the heart strings with tender wide-eyed lines, an hour long instrumental odyssey and an outreach programme from the corridors of academia that seamlessly segues frosty composition into teary meditation just like the flowing of any well-written suite worth its salt.
Sustained flourishes of ivory tinkling set the scene like Lubomyr Melnyk, droning woodwind riding symphonic swells that contort with messages of both life and death. Veering between neo- and fractured post-classicism casts shadows like an organic, elemental Tim Hecker creation, “As Much As Possible” trudging with the heavy weight of ages, beautifully angelic motifs glistening off snow-blind peaks. The shortest piece at only fives minutes, “Chonchos” conjures – without the shackles of melody – the smoky fields of some post-apocalyptic event in turn, the cavernous echo of the Moore’s piano-bodies amplifying a creeping, ambient sense of dread. Similarly cinematic, the stereo-panning drone of LP highlight “Is Drop” blossoms into spectacular crescendo, the minuscule nature of the barely-there piano set against the magnitude of the whole swirling cosmos. Dragged out by delay, the same delicate lines then scream in isolation on “To All It”, a defiantly slow-moving ice-floe direct from the heart of Sigur Rós.
No Home Of The Mind is consequently a piano lover’s delight. Not only because it wallows in the simple delights of the instrument’s traditional percussive palette, but because it transcends centuries of musical experimentation and the popular/classical divide so effectively as well … intellectually stimulating and passionately lovable in a single bound.
Best track: “Is Drop”
~No Home Of The Mind is released February 17th 2017 via 4AD.~