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RUINS

Zeuhl • Japan


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Ruins biography
RUINS formed in Japan in 1985. The original idea (as legend has it) was for the band to be a power trio, but the guitarist didn't show up so they became, and remain, a power duo. They combine the raw energy of hardcore punk with progressive rock's flair and musicianship. There have been four line ups so far, featuring drummer/vocalist/main composer Yoshida Tatsuya with a succession of bassists.

Line up #1 featured Kawamoto Hideki, and released some singles and 12"s, but no albums as far as I know. The sound of this line up was very heavy and primitive, not helped by the fact that most of the recordings were done on 4 and 8 track machines. Version #2 featured Kimoto Kazuyoshi on bass, violin and vocals. They put out 2 studio albums, 'Ruins' (1988) and 'Stonehenge' (1990). The prog influences became more obvious on these recordings, and the sound is a bit more accessible. Version #3 had Masuda Ryuichi on bass, and put out the excellent 'Burning Stone' (1992). Line up #4, which is still going, features Sasaki Hisashi on bas and vocals, and Sasaki also contributes some compositions. This line up takes things to a new level of complexity, which is well displayed on 'Pallaschtom' (2000). The use of 6 string bass and MIDI technology has enabled them to sound like much more than a bass/drums duo.

RUINS have put out an incredible amount of material, with many live recordings and one-off contributions to compilations, and Yoshida Tatsuya also manages to work on several other projects simultaneously, something like a Japanese Chris Cutler. As well as their duo albums, they have also collaborated with many other artists, such as Derek Bailey and GUAPO. Yoshida has also toured with SAMMLA MAMMAS MANNA as their drummer in recent years. In 2000 a compilation, '1986-1992', was put out, which probably tells you all you need to know about the early releases, most of which are now unavailable. 'Pallaschtom' is an excellent release from the current line up, which includes the 'Prog Rock Medley' (39 songs in under 3 minutes) and also 'Classical' and 'Hard Rock' medleys. 'Symphonica' features an expanded line up (keyboa...
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RUINS discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

RUINS top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.90 | 11 ratings
Stonehenge
1990
3.76 | 16 ratings
Burning Stone
1992
3.39 | 10 ratings
Graviyaunosch
1993
3.06 | 6 ratings
Ruins - Hatoba
1994
3.05 | 6 ratings
Saisoro (with Derek Bailey)
1995
3.71 | 39 ratings
Hyderomastgroningem
1995
3.00 | 10 ratings
Refusal Fossil
1997
3.92 | 43 ratings
Symphonica
1998
3.44 | 7 ratings
Tohjinbo (with Derek Bailey)
1998
3.77 | 17 ratings
Vrresto
1998
3.97 | 29 ratings
Pallaschtom
2000
3.50 | 27 ratings
Tzomborgha
2002
3.00 | 3 ratings
Ruinzhatova - Close to the RH
2003
0.00 | 0 ratings
Ruinzhatova - Neonlight/Big City Brights Night With a Vacant Look (OST for Dream, Sea, Vacancy, Metropolis)
2004
3.19 | 9 ratings
Sax Ruins - Yawiquo
2009
4.19 | 12 ratings
Alone
2011
5.00 | 1 ratings
SaxRuins - Blimmguass
2013

RUINS Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.00 | 2 ratings
Improvisations (1996-1997)
1997
0.00 | 0 ratings
March - October 1997
1997
0.00 | 0 ratings
Ron Ruins - Ketsunoana
1998
3.00 | 1 ratings
Ron Ruins - Big Shoes
2001
4.18 | 11 ratings
Mandala 2000: Live at the Kichijoji Mandala II
2001
4.02 | 3 ratings
Live In Guang Zhou, China
2002
5.00 | 1 ratings
Ruins + Kazuhisa Uchihashi
2002
0.00 | 0 ratings
Ruinzhatova - Liveinsomewhere
2006

RUINS Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

RUINS Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

0.00 | 0 ratings
Early Works: Live & Unreleased Tracks
1991
1.00 | 1 ratings
II & 19 Numbers
1993
3.13 | 4 ratings
1986 - 1992
2001

RUINS Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

3.00 | 1 ratings
Ruins
1986
4.00 | 3 ratings
Ruins II
1987
5.00 | 2 ratings
III (aka Infect)
1988
0.00 | 0 ratings
EP
1992
4.50 | 2 ratings
0'33
1993
0.00 | 0 ratings
Brother In The Wind / Gwodhunqa (split SP)
2005

RUINS Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Symphonica  by RUINS album cover Studio Album, 1998
3.92 | 43 ratings

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Symphonica
Ruins Zeuhl

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams

4 stars In the ever changing weird world of Yoshida Tastsuya and Hisashi Sasaki came yet another RUINS release in the busy year of 1998 when they released four albums ("Refusal Fossil," "Vrresto," "Tohjinbo" (as Derek and the Ruins)" as well as their eleventh album SYMPHONICA which found the duo expanding their sound a bit by adding keyboard player Kenichi Oguchi and not one but two female singers, Emi Elonola and Aki Kubota. The tracks included are remakes from earlier RUINS albums with "Thebes","Infect" and "Big Head" coming from "Stonehenge," "Praha In Spring" from "Burning Stone," "Graviyaunosch" from the same titled album and "Brixon Varromiks" and "Bliezzaning Moltz" coming from the "Hyderomastgroningem" album. The results of these additional characters at play creates one of the most fulfilling RUINS experiences to date and offers a greater expansion into the world of prog and a sound even more reminiscent of their primarily zeuhl inspired influence of Magma. With the extra touches of the keyboard there is also a rather avant-prog approach as heard by the Italian band Area as well in some of the unhinged riffing touches and the male vocals remind me of the crazy vocal antics of Demetrio Stratos as well in his more outrageous form.

As usual Yoshida and Sasaki pound out their most frenetic Magama inspired zeuhl rhythms cranked up on overdrive and turned up to "ultra-freaky," however despite the hyperactive freneticism that RUINS so deftly churns out at light-speed, SYMPHONICA as the name implies has a more smoothed-around-the-edges feel due to the suave effects of the keyboards that help craft one of the most "accessible" RUINS albums in their canon if that adjective can truly apply to anything that RUINS pumps out. While clearly closer in sound to traditional 70s Magma on such albums as "MŰkan´k DŰstrukt´ẁ K÷mmand÷h" with the female singers creating a comparable operatic frenetic whizzing up and down the musical scales, RUINS as expected takes it all to the next ten levels and beyond by pumping out more bombastic rhythms laced with angular time signature frenzies gone absolutely wild with keyboard runs jolting around as quickly as Yoshida's percussive limbs pound incessant chops about.

While being crazed and technically demented seems to be the primary goal of the RUINS experience, on SYMPHONICA there are plenty of passages that simply allow notes to sustain while the divas grace the listener with utterly pure vowel sounds approaching glass shattering magnitudes. This is a really impressive album as all the members are extremely playful and a rather tight unit as the vocals, keys, bass and drums can play in complete unison or meander and leap frog around each other creating bizarre musical atmospheres. While the two long time members have always been an impressively tight unit, the magic of this album derives from the stylistic diversity and virtuosic deliveries of Kenichi's mastery of the synthesized effects. Likewise the duo diva effect of Aki and Eleonola not only match the magnitude of their Magma influences but take them places those pioneers never dared venture. This is one of the most adventurous zeuhl releases i've ever heard and despite the usual freneticism of a typical RUINS release seems a little more disciplined here as the crazy parts are mixed stylishly well with more contemplative and "normal" aspects of the music. This is one of my favorite RUINS releases. The extra musicians add the very touch many of their albums lack.

4.5 but rounded down

 Burning Stone by RUINS album cover Studio Album, 1992
3.76 | 16 ratings

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Burning Stone
Ruins Zeuhl

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars The zeuhl-influenced brutal prog of Ruins isn't the sort of thing you expect to sound quite this accessible, and yet the energetic and exuberant Burning Stone somehow manages to offer a clearly enunciated on-ramp to getting to grips with the Ruins sound without at all compromising the intensity or complexity of their music. Beginning with its longest composition, Zasca Coska, the album then runs through a range of bite-size excursions into a unique sonic world, making this a great point of entry for the Ryuichi Masuda era of Ruins. Tatsuya Yoshida as always is the power behind the drum kit here, with some excellent moments to showcase his diverse percussion skills.
 Ruins - Hatoba by RUINS album cover Studio Album, 1994
3.06 | 6 ratings

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Ruins - Hatoba
Ruins Zeuhl

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams

3 stars While the unhinged drummer Tatsuya Yoshida is often referred to as the Japanese version of Christian Vander for his avant-garde crazed and adrenaline fueled take on Magma's zeuhl contributions to the musical world, on this particular early collection of recordings (1991 - 1993) where he hooked up with experimental and psychedelic noise rocker Omoide Hatoba, he created a very, very strange and bizarre album that will surely leave anyone who dares to enter these realms with the lingering question of if most of this could actually be called music! While zeuhl rhythms dominate the majority of RUINS releases, on this one it is the pure essence of noise rock laced with the extreme and utmost experimental features that could leave the uninitiated running away in sheer terror. On this release there is no doubt that RUINS (sometimes referred to as RUINZHATOVA) runs side by side with label mates the Boredoms in creating the most bizarre and extreme sonic expressions possible all the while maintaining a humorous journey through the unexpected. If you think RUINS in general produces some of the most asymmetric angular bizarreness in the experimental rock world on their "normal" albums then you really need to check out this freak-a-zoid world of the oblique and free form psychosis rock that equally eschews the norms at every step similar to the early Boredoms albums while worshipping the cult of unconventional and placing pandemonium on center stage with a crown royale gracing its riotous presence.

This album is (for the most part) a series of short attitude filled with short punk (in attitude) mode tracks that come and go rather quickly most lasting less than a minute but some reaching the unthinkable three minute mark. Sometimes some thrash metal is added, sometimes weird sound effects, but always highly unstructured musical creations that offer glimpses into the musical ward of an insane asylum but somehow always finding a glimmer of resolution. Graced with ridiculous track titles like "Macrocosmic Microcassette," "We Are All Frozen Stiff," "United States Of Stink Bug," "Geeg Geeg Geeg," the short but sweet post-punk meets avant- prog tracks that deliver all kinds of bizarre twists and turns ranging from funk guitar to chanting to heavy distorted punk / thrash guitar to acoustic psychotic folk that makes me think of Tiny Tim during an acid trip. Everything about this album is meant to be jarring as one idea simply harpoons the previous down. While not quite to the level of early Boredoms where things change by the second, this callithump of creativity at least has the decency of staying somewhat stable for enough time to grasp what is going on.

While the first 25 tracks are an interesting sonic rotisserie of one bizarre idea after another, the true test of the listener's patience comes from the very last track "Rock + 1 (Challenge Your Face)" which lasts a staggering 24 minutes and 51 seconds! This is a true shocking contrast to the in-yer-face punk fueled shorter tracks that make up the first half of the album. The last track could possibly qualify as the most unlistenable piece of, a hem, "music" ever recorded down to tape (as it was in 1991 when this was recorded). This long and surprisingly LOOOOONG track is nothing more than a totally bizarre and wild a cappella ride that has the pseudo-form of creating melodies that has many vocal parts delivering the most bizarre interpretations of monkeys, dog wining and chicken clucking. It goes on for a staggering 20 minutes adding counterpoints and occasionally bizarre and weird echo effects. It's the kind of stuff you can't believe you are hearing! After those 20 minutes, it actually does some weird instrumental things and then turns into the first track of the first album by Italian avant-garde jazz fusionists Area ("Luglio Agosto Settembre Nero")

Just when you think it will never end, it does. This album is definitely a 10 out of 10 on the experimental bizarre-omater. It challenges all notions of what music is. It disturbs the senses like an atheist at a sacred religious ritual. It is Copernicus to the Catholic Church. It's just wild. It all sounds like a fun-fueled event that was caught on tape and subsequently released to the public. Everyone on board is having a very good time as evidenced by the laughter on board. This is free form rock of the highest degree with a healthy dose of Zappa humor on board despite the desire to utterly eschew every orthodox rule of established rock ethics. This is a must hear but will hardly be something that demands repeated listening, however there is something subtly addictive to this if you are an adventurous music lover and i would highly recommend this for everyone to at least check out once. While hardly essential, it is nonetheless strangely satisfying for those seeking out the most bizarre and heterodox musical creations to be heard.

 Ruins II by RUINS album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1987
4.00 | 3 ratings

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Ruins II
Ruins Zeuhl

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams

4 stars RUINS released their second EP a year after the first and doubled the length by upping the time length to over 20 minutes! They also changed up their sound quite a bit. This begins totally different as it has a mix of melodic bass lines that have a rather subdued effect although the drums are chomping at the bit for a major energy explosive release. After the short opening "Human Being" which belies their true nature, the appropriately titled "Entropy" unleashes the full RUINS effect with Kimoto Kazuyoshi abusing his bass and Tatsuya Yoshida going wild on his retrospective drum kit. Both men scream and holler like animals being violated in test labs and the mix of chaotic zeuhl rhythms and avant-punk chaotic dissonance destroy the musical landscape like a tsunami erasing entire coastal villages.

The main difference between the first EP and RUINS II is that this one has more moments of reflection and contrast in the form of straight forward melodic and rhythmic intros and snippets of sanity between the free-for-all noise rock meets avant-prog and zeuhl rhythms although they are short and to the point but at least recalibrate the listener's perception before taking the chaotic train to nowhere. The slower parts are much more in line with noise rock bands like Sonic Youth or The Jesus Lizard despite the wild and unhinged vocals but when the duo jump into the swirling eddies of brutal avant-prog they create a maelstrom of time sig tornadoes and unrelenting brutality that the listener finds difficult to believe that only two guys are creating. RUINS II is a step up from the debut in that it has more layers of sound, more diverse musical approaches and is slightly more accessible but still would be deemed extreme noise by the uninitiated who happened upon this.

 Ruins by RUINS album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1986
3.00 | 1 ratings

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Ruins
Ruins Zeuhl

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams

— First review of this album —
3 stars Although intended to be a power trio the Japanese band RUINS (there's an Australian band of the same name) ended up as consisting of only two members: drummer/vocalist Tatsuya and bassist of which there have been four in the history of the band. On this debut EP that to date has only been released on 7" vinyl finds Kawamoto Hideki handling bass duties. Therefore there is no guitar to be heard but rather a cacophonous noise rock production that utilizes the Magma inspired zeuhl rhythms as inspiration but at this point these guys were into free improvisation with highly distorted bass tones, frenetic brutal prog workouts and screamed, shouted and screeched lyrics that were created in their invented language (the Magma connection runs deep).

On this short but sweet debut release that came out in 1986 they manage to cram six tracks into a 10 minute and 17 second release. The whole thing comes off as an avant-punk type of sound actually as the bass gallops so fast that it sounds like a guitar frenzy at times and some of the rhythms remind me more of a Dead Kennedys on speed than anything Christian Zander pumped out however the Magma influences are quite pronounced in the vocals even if the blatant instrumental aspects hadn't quite conjured up the sophistication to evoke their favorite prog superstars. RUINS is the logical beginning of this band that has always been about speed, distortion and avant-bravado. This EP was never released on CD but is on YouTube and many of the tracks are on the compilation "1986-1992" however "Crisis," "Catastrophe" and "Nocturne," half the EP is missing. This is decent but nothing totally unexpected or overly different than their more easily obtainable 90s releases.

 Pallaschtom by RUINS album cover Studio Album, 2000
3.97 | 29 ratings

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Pallaschtom
Ruins Zeuhl

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams

4 stars And let the madness begin. Well that madness began in 1985 Japan when the overly energetic drummer and vocalist Tatsuya Yoshida (the only constant member) formed this zeuhl-gone-wild band with a single bassist. Apparently the guitarist didn't show up. The group has always simply been a duo and on this album we hear the fourth bassist of the series Sasaki Hisashi who tortures his 6-string bass like no other. This is extremely challenging music and certainly not for the faint of heart. One of the things the Japanese are great at is taking something classic from Western culture and taking it to the most extreme possible. Think of the Acid Mother's Temple and their beyond belief take on 60s psychedelia, well RUINS takes this same approach with Magma's zeuhl output of the 70s and to me this ninth album PALLASCHTOM sounds like what would happen if the noise rock / avant proggers Boredoms got together with an avant-garde extreme metal band like Psyopus or Behold...The Arctopus and really, really let loose with the Magma covers.

Think Naked City meets Magma here. Noise rock meets jazz-fusion and eclectic progressive rock. While the vocals tend to sound a lot like Christian Vander complete with squeals and recognizable Magma-esque zeuhl from classic albums, the music is on steroids. And coffee. And sugar. And speed, cocaine and then electrified. The drumming is often extreme blastbeats comparable to the absolute most extreme forms of metal. The time sigs are strangely odd- metered and there is so much start / stop time shifts that only the most determined can keep up with this sonic assault to the senses. Towards the end of this release are three cute little medleys that include different riffs from progressive rocks classics as well as classical music. This is my very first RUINS album but i am a glutton for this kind of punishment so it won't be my last. Don't expect anything remotely cute and fuzzy here. This is a pummeling hour's ride of the most intense speed-fest ever recorded with the most challenging time sigs possible. The vocals try to keep some melody in it all but it is akin to free improvisational jazz where every sound is on its own screaming tangent. Complexity for complexities sake. Noisy as hell because it can be done. Think of what you can imagine progressive punk doing Magma covers would sound like. Yeah, i love it!

 Graviyaunosch by RUINS album cover Studio Album, 1993
3.39 | 10 ratings

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Graviyaunosch
Ruins Zeuhl

Review by Guldbamsen
Special Collaborator Retired Admin

3 stars Music for madmen who love to jump!

A ferocious maniacal onslaught of caffeine driven punk and stop start zeuhl with twittering mad man scat singing - and wam bam thank you mam, you've got Ruins pegged down!

Mjeah, well maybe not entirely - I forgot to tell you about the strange avant guarde tendencies of this band often appearing like insanely paced rhythm segments galloping over the prairie like a Japanese cowboy with a samurai sword up their backside.

Tatsuya Yoshida needs no introduction, at least one should think so, since he has been a huge part of the modern progressive rock scene in Japan - punishing toms and unsuspecting high hats in bands like Koenjihyakkei, Seikazoku, Korekyojinn, Musica Transonic and an endless string of unpronounceable bands that I could be typing until tomorrow comes - either way, what you need to know about Tatsuya is that he is one beast behind the drum-kit. He can play with the best of them - poly-rhythmic, loud, fast, jazzy, rocking, off kilter, hazily and everything in between. I'll wager my front lawn that you won't be able to find any sort of music that he can't back up in some rhythmic manner. With Ruins his playing reminds me a lot of a speeding Christian Vander but also to a slighter extent of Bill Bruford - and here I am specifically thinking Larks' Tongues in Aspic. That spastic frenetic all over the kit type thing. Just remember that his style remains utterly unique - even if I use some form of reference points: this guy sounds like he never sleeps, runs in crazy sprints wherever he has to go, eats with his eyeballs and well, he genuinely just feels like a thunderstorm in a room. I'd like to think that he has been drinking coffee ever since he was born...

Ryuichi Masuda completes this duo with some zany vocal attributes, oh well Tatsuya brings those too, and some truly ingenious bass work. Whilst being an incredible funky and low down boogie boy of a bass player - keeping things nice and heavy, - he sometimes goes utterly berserk on his instrument now utilising it as a means of transportation - taking you out in the perimeter where guitars and synthesiser normally only venture.

Together these guys manage to conjure up a power ball of sound that sounds like a sped up sanitarium thrown into a tiny phonebooth - wildly tumbling down a mountainside. Basses ablazing, drums pelting away like there was no tomorrow - and two guys mimicking a pair of drunk punk peacocks.

This is music that exudes power, anarchy, fire, fun and a level of nonchalance that quite openly flips the bird to their home country with thousands of years of cultural heritage up its sleeve. 3.5 stars.

 Alone by RUINS album cover Studio Album, 2011
4.19 | 12 ratings

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Alone
Ruins Zeuhl

Review by Music By Mail

4 stars On this album, the phenomenal drummer Tatsuya Yoshida gives a new life to several of his compositions, previously recorded with Ruins. Since some years Yoshida has been working more and more alone, playing drum parts live on top of pre-recorded tapes, totally in control thanks to a meticously set up triggering system; having experimented the system quite many times on stage in clubs or festivals, he has now gained the confidence and expertise to release it on CD; it seems that the recorded parts have been remixed and/or remastered, as you will be able to hear, especially in the little present ending the CD: two hiddden tracks of the infamous medleys that became a trade mark of Ruins insanity; in just a little more than 2 minutes, each medley moves forth, frenetically lining up a plethora of quotes and having your brain working at full speed to recognize most, if not all of them; once you have recognized one, chances are that Yoshida would probably have quoted three or four more in the mean time, so I REALLY mean you have to be thinking at full speed! You will be tested on a hard rock medley and prog-rock medley and gosh how a brilliant memory exercise this is! If you survive, the only thing you'll wish will be to play it again and find those that escaped your technical abilities; so hang on and ENJOY one of the most unique brains of the avant prog Japanese scene (together with Hoppy Kamiyama, for sure one of my faves!). Warning! You will be surely mentally exhausted at the end of the CD, maybe even before!

NB! This album has been added and classified under Ruins by member "Man With Hat" but the band's real name is nevertheless Ruins Alone, with the album bearing an eponimous title.

 Pallaschtom by RUINS album cover Studio Album, 2000
3.97 | 29 ratings

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Pallaschtom
Ruins Zeuhl

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars With its super-fast changes in musical direction, chaotic and noisy playing, and generally over- the-top approach to avant-garde rock music, Ruins sounds like what would happen if Mr Bungle got together with Magma and Henry Cow to make some sort of Frankensteinian jamming collective. Influenced by more or less every rock band under the sun, Ruins underline this point with the medleys collected at the end of this album, in which they cram distinctive and recognisable motifs from a swathe of classic compositions from classical music, hard rock, and prog into a miniscule period of time. And the frenzied, delirious journey to the medleys is a treat too.
 Tzomborgha by RUINS album cover Studio Album, 2002
3.50 | 27 ratings

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Tzomborgha
Ruins Zeuhl

Review by toroddfuglesteg

3 stars A Japanese band with ten plus albums on their (guilty) conscience.

Sounding as a crossbreed between the frantic Ahleuchatistas and Magma on this album, this album is not for the faint hearted. Or for that matter; most music lovers. The band is very frantic on this album. There is not many slow pieces of music here. The vocals are zeuhl. The music is post rock RIO with a lot of jazz and some zeuhl influences thrown into the mix. This album is not a Magma copycat. The jazz is the only thing that reminds me about Magma here.

The mix of jazz and post rock makes this a pretty interesting album. The musicianship is excellent and is to be admired. The quality is good throughout. But this album does not really offer anything special and is by no means a great album in my view. But a good album, it is.

3 stars

Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition. and to NotAProghead for the last updates

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