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Ruins — Brain Flakes (The Lost Combo Recordings)
(Bandcamp Spittle Records no#, 1982/2024, LP)

by Peter Thelen, Published 2024-05-21

Brain Flakes (The Lost Combo Recordings) Cover art

Ruins. No, not that Ruins, not the Japanese duo featuring drummer Tatsuya Yoshida, this is the Italian Ruins formed by Alessandro Pizzin in 1978, who had a very successful single “Short Wave” in 1981, but when it came time for a follow-up album, all that could be managed was the twelve-song cassette release Art Dance in 1982. It wasn’t until their third album Marea / Tide that their work was finally pressed onto a vinyl LP, and in the years since several more albums have been released on compact disc. Through the years Ruins has gone from as few as two members to as many as five, as it was in 1982 when the Art Dance cassette was first released. Now, in 2024 all these years later, most of the songs from that cassette (plus a few more) have been remastered and are finally being released as a vinyl LP with the new title Brain Flakes, which was one of the purely instrumental cuts on the original tape release. The band at this point featured Alessandro Pizzin (keyboards, noises), Franco Moruzzi (drums), bassist Massimo Bertatto, percussionist Moreno Barbazza, and Piergiuseppe Ciranna (vocals, guitar, tapes, noises). The mood of the thirteen tracks herein, beginning with “Art Dance,” is clearly a New-Wave-meets-funk endeavor with plenty of electronics in the mix, plus through the added blessing of Barbazza’s mixed percussion, the sound finds a bounty of additional energy. In a general sense, one might be reminded of Bill Nelson’s Red Noise. Especially on the tracks that feature Ciranna’s vocals, though his experimental guitar techniques and the keyboards and noises from Pizzin certainly contribute to that general perception as well. With “Song for a Chemical Plant” the groove is steady and rapidly forward moving, with vocals that are almost over the top, while “Fit of Nerves” stands out as one of the funkier pieces with truly manic vocals. Incidentally, all of the tracks with vocals seem to be sung in English, with Ciranna’s Bowie-esqie manic antics serving the songs incredibly well. “Red Lips” here is the studio version, whereas on the original Art Dance cassette it was a live recording. All taken, we have 40+ year old recordings blessed with the mastering technology of today, and I have to say it sounds better than ever.

Filed under: New releases, 2024 releases, 1982 recordings

Related artist(s): Alessandro Pizzin (Alieno de Bootes), Ruins

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