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Ruins - Saisoro (with Derek Bailey) CD (album) cover





3.05 | 6 ratings

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3 stars This is one of the most extreme albums in Ruins' extensive discography of generally extreme music. The pairing of Ruins with Derek Bailey, godfather of British free improvisation and veteran guitarist, was an inspired one. Ruins were touring the USA and had a day off, so John Zorn called them and asked if they fancied recording with Bailey. They were eager to do so, and this album is the result of a single 3 hour session. Things must have gone well, because a couple of years later they worked together again in London (although Ruins had a new bassist by then).

In some ways this is not an immediately obvious pairing. For all the apparent chaos, most of Ruins' music is carefully scored and arranged by Yoshida Tatsuya, while Derek Bailey was notorious for taking free improvisation to its limits. Yoshida is also a skilled improviser, however, and Ruins concerts generally featured some improvised segments, while Derek Bailey was also a highly accomplished jazz guitarist who released an album of standards shortly before his death, so there was definitely some common ground and (presumably) mutual admiration between the musicians. The resulting album is closer to free jazz than to rock, and most of the time it seems to be Bailey who is leading the proceedings. Don't be fooled by the free jazz tag, though; this is free jazz played by a fret melting, paint blistering, all-amps-up-to-11 power trio that sounds especially glorious when played extremely loud. It's hard to believe that Derek Bailey was near retirement age when this was recorded - he plays with a fire and skill that puts most of today's shredders to shame. There are occasional vocal interjections from Yoshida, but for the most part it's instrumental and often sounds like the 3 musicians were recorded in different rooms, possibly at different times and on different continents. These moments are balanced by passages where everything miraculously comes together, and there are also a couple of relatively quiet, low key interludes where the highly advanced technique becomes more obvious. It's challenging to listen to, but also highly rewarding.

Only 3 stars, because this is more of a free jazz album than progressive rock. Add an extra star if you like the wilder forms of improvised music, and be warned that the final 22 minute track is actually two ten minutes plus improvisations separated by about two minutes' silence.

Syzygy | 3/5 |


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