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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


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

3.57 | 19 ratings
Stonehenge
1990
3.71 | 26 ratings
Burning Stone
1992
3.14 | 12 ratings
Graviyaunosch
1993
3.06 | 7 ratings
Ruins - Hatoba
1994
3.04 | 7 ratings
Saisoro (with Derek Bailey)
1995
3.71 | 48 ratings
Hyderomastgroningem
1995
3.00 | 12 ratings
Refusal Fossil
1997
3.93 | 48 ratings
Symphonica
1998
3.43 | 8 ratings
Tohjinbo (with Derek Bailey)
1998
3.76 | 27 ratings
Vrresto
1998
3.96 | 40 ratings
Pallaschtom
2000
3.56 | 36 ratings
Tzomborgha
2002
3.00 | 4 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
3.20 | 12 ratings
Sax Ruins - Yawiquo
2009
4.17 | 15 ratings
Alone
2011
4.00 | 4 ratings
SaxRuins - Blimmguass
2013

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

4.00 | 3 ratings
Improvisations (1996-1997)
1997
0.00 | 0 ratings
March - October 1997
1997
0.00 | 0 ratings
Ron Ruins - Ketsunoana
1998
3.00 | 2 ratings
Ron Ruins - Big Shoes
2001
4.07 | 14 ratings
Mandala 2000: Live at the Kichijoji Mandala II
2001
4.02 | 4 ratings
Live In Guang Zhou, China
2002
4.50 | 2 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)

4.00 | 1 ratings
Early Works: Live & Unreleased Tracks
1991
1.00 | 1 ratings
II & 19 Numbers
1993
3.16 | 6 ratings
1986 - 1992
2001

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

2.69 | 4 ratings
Ruins
1986
3.36 | 5 ratings
Ruins II
1987
2.64 | 5 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
 Graviyaunosch by RUINS album cover Studio Album, 1993
3.14 | 12 ratings

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Graviyaunosch
Ruins Zeuhl

Review by bartymj

2 stars Graviyaunosch is a bit of a return to the deliberately messy Stonehenge, but with the more polished production of Burning Stone, although much more minimal in terms of effects but better sound quality overall. The title track is the highlight of the whole album, a fast audio assault, before a reel of five shorter tracks which are quite stop-start and aggressive. Not much stands out particularly but I did seem to enjoy the final part of the section Knaftt more than anything else. There's a bit of a change after this, with the last three tracks all recorded live, and two of them re- imaginings of previously released tracks. Acid Blue is a 100mph jam, with an odd-timed riff breaking it up in the middle. The Big Head remake is notable for the extreme distortion of its vocals, and lengthening of the mid-section into a marimba-based melody which breaks it up very nicely. The B.U.G. remake is also a major improvement with some of the added effects.

In all, probably prefer Burning Stone, however this is a reasonable follow up, just not enough new tracks to add to a highlight reel.

 Burning Stone by RUINS album cover Studio Album, 1992
3.71 | 26 ratings

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Burning Stone
Ruins Zeuhl

Review by bartymj

3 stars I listened to the earlier Ruins EPs and Stonehenge prior to this, all of which sound like they were recorded from the bottom of a well, and a re a brutal thrashing mess. As many reviewers say here, Burning Stone is perhaps the better entry point into listening to Ruins, as its a lot more polished and produced. It also contains a bit more progression and diversity in terms of the styles used.

The opening track Zasca Cosca and third track Praha in Spring are perfect examples, still containing the brutality that is Ruins' main point of difference, but also with some genuine structure and quality musicianship. Vocals throughout the album have similarities and differences with Magma Zeuhl. The language is fictitious, and there are the high-pitched shrieks synonymous with Klaus Blasquiz, but they are much more cartoony than other exponents of the genre. Tracks like Onyx and Shostak Ombrich do show that Ruins could do the foreboding instrumental style of Zeuhl though.

There is a place for the absolutely mental - Power Shift for example sounds like they got Mr Blobby involved on vocals (one for Brits of a particular vintage there), but for me the best run of tracks is Real Jam; Misonta; Spazm Cambilist - all great rhythmic tracks with a light-hearted feel thanks to the inclusion of marimba.

 Stonehenge by RUINS album cover Studio Album, 1990
3.57 | 19 ratings

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Stonehenge
Ruins Zeuhl

Review by bartymj

2 stars So far I've reviewed Ruins' three shorter early EPs. Well here goes... a full hour of their brutality.

The first ten seconds are a good enough idea of what you're in for with thrashing drums and shrieking to the max! But if you can look past it you can see some good musicianship - the guitar work Big Head around 3 minutes in for example (just before more shrieking). Many tracks follow the mix of interesting technical passages and outright brutal thrashing and pained vocals.

At times the heavy distorted bass gives you that funny feeling... you know the one. I think. Kibbutz is a good example! And there's also some fairly punk rock elements to some of the tracks. For me Fallout is one of the better tracks on the album for this reason.

After 16 minutes of the thrashy tracks, October is a sudden gear change, with a slow and sludgy bassline, almost quite MDK-like. It picks up the pace fairly quickly though, with some excellent drumming, but still a style of vocals reminiscent of Magma. A very good track with a mix of a lot of their styles, but mainly for the drumming, which continues brilliantly on the next track Hexagon as well.

Holebones is also quite a punk style track. It would be drastically overdoing it to call it melodic, but there is something to it that's not just the thrashing of previous tracks!

For Hail, we're back to that incredibly heavy bassline. And on the steamed copy of the album I had access to, also a much clearer sound. Unlike other tracks where the drumming is the highlight, this is all about the bass rhythm. Definitely one to check out. Seems to be a one off though, with the title track and Thebbes then returning to the mix of thrash and sludge.

From here, the final run of tracks also appear on the third Ruins EP which I've previously reviewed, albeit with a different bassist. B.U.G. is a very interesting track in its absolute simplicity for most of it - a single bass note and drum hit and a slightly changing tempo - and some stop-start faster paced elements as well. On Ripples, which was one of my favourites on the EP, we get the addition of a violin, which certainly adds a new dimension to the track and I think makes it one of the best on this album too.

Somewhere around 2.5 stars for me, some good examples of the less accessible side of a genre - but hard to say it would appeal to anyone other than fans!

 III (aka Infect) by RUINS album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1988
2.64 | 5 ratings

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III (aka Infect)
Ruins Zeuhl

Review by bartymj

2 stars Like the first two LPs, in some cases the early Ruins recordings get marked down for their pretty rough sound quality as when you're dealing in a chaotic wall of noise you at least want it be clear! This is an evolution though, and actually sounds a lot more like Zeuhl than anything previous, in particular the track Hallelujah which uses a contrast of lyricless vocal styles. Tracks like Grudge also seem to get the best out of the utter chaos of the previous two EPs. Plenty of absolute nonsense but on the whole there is a lot more structure, and some of the tracks would make it onto the Stonehenge album with a new bassist.
 Ruins II by RUINS album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1987
3.36 | 5 ratings

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Ruins II
Ruins Zeuhl

Review by bartymj

2 stars Where their first EP was just a wall of distorted noise, the second (with a new bassist) has moments of structure. While they do often make chaos sound good, the primitive recording, sounding like its being recorded with the duo performing from inside a 30ft well with an 8 track machine on the ground outside. Not a fan of the raw vocals a lot of the time, sounding pretty hysterical in more short and frenetic tracks. Some glimpses of things to come though, and it does sound better when selected tracks are listened to via their remastered compilation released in 2001. Human Being and Essential Logic are the highlights I'd pick out.
 Ruins by RUINS album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1986
2.69 | 4 ratings

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Ruins
Ruins Zeuhl

Review by bartymj

2 stars Spotify has bad press for legit reasons but it does make things a lot more accessible for people on tight budgets like myself. Here's a perfect example, the fact that I and many others can listen to this rare and early debut release from the origins of the Japanese Zeuhl scene.

At just 10 minutes, I wasn't expecting a slow builder, but the wall of noise and chaos at the start still hit me like a sledgehammer! Its rough and raw and fast paced and the gain has been turned up to four million for some uncomfortable distorted bass. The influences of the likes of Magna are clear in the vocal shrieking, reminiscent of Klaus Blasquiz but much more raw. I absolutely cannot call it good, in fact its really just 10 minutes of extreme punk jamming to give you a headache. But it's definitely a collectors item.

 Vrresto by RUINS album cover Studio Album, 1998
3.76 | 27 ratings

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Vrresto
Ruins Zeuhl

Review by DangHeck
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Prepare for the assault...

I don't want the headline to be misleading. This is very much Ruins haha. Rhythmic intensity. Crazed, fun and tribal vocals and chanting. This all, of course, can be a lot, but this is part of the Ruins experience.

Some songs, frankly, don't hit. Some songs hit half the time. But throughout, really, there is that magic (on most tracks). The bassist at this time, Hisashi Sasaki, is excellent. Awesome riffage and licks, oft using fuzz tone to really beef it up (my mind goes to Hugh HOPPER).

Some personal highlights, in order of appearance: the latter half of "Warrido", the wild but brief "Dagdad", "Kpaligoth", the ending of "Zumn-Vigo", "Savollodix", "Quopern" (I would say the most memorable bass riff on the album), the middle section till the end of "Larikoschodel" (the most unique sounds utilized), and the latter half of "Vrresto".

 Symphonica  by RUINS album cover Studio Album, 1998
3.93 | 48 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 "Mëkanïk Dëstruktïẁ Kömmandöh" 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
3.71 | 26 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 | 7 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.

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

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