Ming & Ping
So here I am again listening to another one of those artists who, like me, refuse to process the fact that the ’80s ended over 15 years ago. You know what I mean. The kind of people who would own When In Rome’s album, not just “The Promise” on compilation or 12-inch; people who were brought up on this stuff.
Ming & Ping, two brothers from Hong Kong now sharing an apartment in San Francisco, have more going for themselves than some in this racket. Even if they have maybe embraced the look of that decade harder than they should. An intelligent lyric or two (“If you’re an angel, I must be God” stays with me) over synthetic riffs etched in-between danceable beats. That’s about all I ask from an enjoyable CD.
But sure as Pac-Man begat rip-offs, so do these two lose a lot of good Karma with “A Note To Myself.” This starts with an oddly charming sound file by some poor 11-year-old kid looking for love through online personals (“Hello, my future girlfriend”). But the rest of it, to put it plainly, plagiarizes the hook from a 1987 Pet Shop Boys’ album track, “I Want To Wake Up” (Johnny Marr’s favorite dance record, 1989).
On their web site (conveniently named after the album, or vice-versa) they call it “borrowing,” and that’s something. But I’m sorry, the line in question is note-for-note, word-for-word the same, and there isn’t any “irony” involved, or credit, or (apparently) money. That’s not borrowing, that’s plagiarism.
Then there are the other tracks, like “Jealousy,” that sound as though they listened to a couple of their favorite records, went into a studio and just recorded whatever came out. The creepy little studio “banter” between some of the tracks, where they keep calling each other “brother,” I could have done without, too.
But if the words “Ming” & “Ping” remind you of the noises the spaceship made in Asteroids, you’re likely to feel at home in these twins’ techno-world. Especially if you’re not put off by the very thought of turning Coldplay’s “Yellow” into ’80s teenybopper dance rock.
Ming & Ping: www.mingping.com/start.html