Yes In My Backyard is a semiweekly column showcasing MP3s from new and emerging local talent.
“There is a whole world worth exploring between two notes,” says Bing and Ruth composer David Moore, and his 11-piece microtonal orchestra maps it in meditative swoops. With the ambience of Brian Eno, the phasing of Steve Reich, the shimmering pianos of Charlemagne Palestine, and and the dissonant sear of Gérard Grisey <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/G%C3%A9rard_Grisey> , Bing and Ruth paint with brushes that are tender, optimistic, uneasy and impossibly gorgeous. Their latest album, City Lake (due October 26 via Happy Talk), is a series of solemn exercises of keen and swoon; think of the fragile, FatCat nu-composer world of Max Richter, Hauschka, and Ólafur Arnalds, matched with the cycling rhythms of New York minimalism. The fluttering 12-minute opus “Put Your Weight Into It” is a disorienting dronecloud of vibrating voices, fluttering pianos, tickled drums, spiraling swoosh, and heart-tugging blear. Says Moore, “I listen to a lot of old-time fiddle music and was always fascinated by what I heard when two fiddles were slightly out of tune with each other. When I first started Bing and Ruth I encouraged imperfect intonation. By keeping one instrument in tune, and letting one slide in and out some crazy stuff starts happening. That’s why there are eleven people in the band. For this to be most effective I’ve found you need two of almost everything.”
What is “Put Your Weight Into It” about?
I suppose it’s not really about anything. What interests me most is what other people might draw from it; looking more for a moment inspired by a song, rather than a song inspired by a moment. It’s about whatever you want it to be.
What can you tell me about the composition of the song?
It was written in about two weeks. Sometimes I play a chord or a note and it sounds like a word, but when I found the first chord of that song it sounded more like the first word of a story.
What is your relationship with the piano and minimalism?
Piano has always been my life. For better or worse, it’s the one thing I could do better than any other thing. In my teens I became obsessed with the minimalist fiction movement. Writers like Amy Hempel, Mary Robison, and Gordon Lish who seemed to concern themselves more with the implied than the stated, who redefined the concept of a narrative. With them, a story no longer needed to revolve around a plot, but rather small moments. They didn’t tell you how to feel, they put you in a situation where you were forced to feel it. This is what I try to do with my instrument. There is so much to be said within stillness and silence.
What are the benefits and drawbacks of having 11 people in your band?
The benefits are that for the most part everyone takes care of themselves. If one clarinetist has to miss a rehearsal, the other one takes notes for them, calls them up, runs over everything. The band is pretty self-reliant. As for drawbacks, it’s nearly impossible to tour without some sort of financial support. Also everyone in the group is pretty busy with their own projects so rehearsals and gigs have to be scheduled quite far in advance. When we did the record I’d had those sessions in everyone’s calendars for almost eight months. It’s not the kind of band I can spontaneously call up to work through a new idea.
What’s the most memorable show you’ve ever played in New York?
It’s a toss up. Back in 2007, our first bigger show was opening up for Múm for the Wordless Music Series. Can’t say it was our best performance, but as a band barely a year old it was far bigger than any gig we’d ever played before, and I was nervous about how it’d go over. The other one was last February when we did a Take Away show with filmmaker Vincent Moon. It was on a snow covered Coney Island beach and was about as cold a cold as I’ve ever felt. There was small group of folks who came out to watch as well as some curious passerby’s. I’ll never forget that day.
What is your favorite place to eat in Brooklyn?
Though it’s not the best food, you’ll usually see me posted up at Daisy’s Diner on 5th Ave. I’ve ordered the same thing every time I go for almost four years. Culinary ambiance.