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Ruins - Burning Stone CD (album) cover





3.78 | 20 ratings

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3 stars It's refreshing to hear music so energetic and pure that can retain a little complexity. Even more than Fred Frith's Skeleton Crew experiment, Ruins show that focus and restriction can breed creativity.

Although Tatsuya Yoshida's musical world is no doubt influenced by zeuhl (as Ruins grew from the group "Yellow Biomekanik Orchestra 2") his drumming is powerful and tribal where Vander was subtly propulsive. His style of play on this album is exuberant and features a lot of fill-work, even during verses.

The album opens with the definitive Ruins song, Zasca Coska, and during its 7 minute play time you become acquainted with all the elements that make Ruins so great - seductive, dark bass and percussion grooving, primordial zeuhl chanting in a language you've never heard (not Kobaian but apparently Tatsuya's own invention) overwhelming energy and the odd avant-garde break into noise or semi-improv. The vocals may be offputting as they're a little woolier and unprofessional than the conventional zeuhl tone, but all this justifies Ruins as its own separate entity. You'll hear more no-wave and post-punk than jazz, here.

Not all the compositions are gloomy; about one in three of the tunes are rejoiceful or triumphant, featuring fast, folky melodies. Elsewhere there are songs you could mistake for demented pop-funk, albeit in 7/4 and pared down to the percussion section. What this reviewer appreciates most about "Burning Stone" is that variety is distilled from an instrumental combination often relegated to supporting musicians in more rock-heroic roles - as the focus is on rhythm you'll be hearing no symphonic flourishes or pastoral lushness, but at least your lust for solos will be sated as both musicians are playing them from the alpha to the omega, intertwined, inspired and at maximum musical capacity.

laplace | 3/5 |


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