David Moore’s minimalist classical ensemble Bing & Ruth are reissuing their 2010 debut City Lake this week, and to go along with the remastered LP, they’ve been releasing new visuals for its tracks. While the video for “Rails” was an impressionistic portrait of train travel, the clip for album opener “Broad Channel” has an actual narrative, albeit an allegorical, somewhat inscrutable one. Set to the song’s meditative stream of piano, clarinet, warm swells of cello, and wordless vocal sighs, an old man traverses various scenic landscapes, carting along a wheelbarrow and a mysterious briefcase. Director Alex Priestley explains:
Inspired by the majestic spaciousness of Bing & Ruth’s instrumentation, along with the epic scope of their musical landscapes, I sought to translate these abstract forms into powerful visuals through the use of landscape, journey and a hint of the supernatural.
The repeated piano motif, so consistent and unwavering, seemed to suggest a journey, whilst the eerie, melancholic synths had an otherworldly quality that I tried to capture by stripping my landscapes of human civilization. Only ancient relics — a ruined abbey, a disused viaduct, a prehistoric burial chamber — would remain, as though this old man on his mysterious quest travelled through some parallel world; earth, yet not earth. The addition of a surreal element seemed to suit this otherworldly atmosphere, where trapped souls can be extracted with magical devices, and swaying statues can come to life with the soul of the universe.
Through experimenting with narrative and subject, I wanted to challenge the assumption that ambient music is always best accompanied by abstract visuals.
City Lake is out this Friday, 11/13, on RVNG Intl.