Exposé Online banner

Ruins — Symphonica
(Tzadik TZ 7215, 1998, CD)

Ruins — Vrresto
(Skin Graft GR 76CD, 1998/2005, CD)

by Peter Thelen, Published 1999-01-01

Symphonica Cover artVrresto Cover art

Vrresto is classic Ruins as we’ve come to know them over the last eight or so releases, a high intensity power duo of drums, bass and operatic vocals that is often compared to Magma — a comparison that is accurate only if one is speaking of a distillation of the very rigid bass-heavy sound of Üdü Wüdü, complete with lyrics in an assumed language (not Kobaïan, however), and stripped of all of Magma’s spiritual, jazzy, and more reflective elements. In other words, punk Magma. But Ruins is in fact much more than just that, as they incorporate numerous elements of the Japanese noise scene, as well as the perpetual bottom-end riffing that gives life to their spastic meter-shifts. With Vrresto the duo is in top form, more cohesive than the earlier Hyderomastgroningem or Graviyaunosch, and in fact the compositions and arrangements are the best this writer has heard from the two-piece band.

Whether the changes that occurred between Vrresto and Symphonica are just a one-off lineup expansion or a permanent change in direction for the band remains to be seen. But the change that has resulted from the addition of three new members (keyboardist Kenichi Oguchi — ex-Kenso, and female vocalists Emi Eleanola and Aki Kubota — from Demi-Semi Quaver and Koenji Hyakkei respectively) to core members Tatsuya Yoshida (drums, composer) and Sasaki Hisashi (bass) is nothing short of remarkable. Though the compositions and attitude are basically the same as before, the arrangements are better filled out by the keyboards, adding a whole new dimension to their sound, while the added vocalists pull ever closer to the operatics of Magma, as well as other Japanese avant-noise experimenters. It seems at least a few of the eight titles on Symphonica are remakes of earlier ruins efforts. Hopefully this is not a one-off, as this five-piece lineup still has a lot of territory left to explore. Either of these releases would be an excellent introduction to the band.


Filed under: Reissues, Issue 16, 1998 releases, 2005 releases

Related artist(s): Tatsuya Yoshida, Ruins

Latest news

2020-01-21
Gong Announces UK Tour for 2020 – Having spent the last few years touring the world, including dates in Japan with psych legend Steve Hillage, multiple headline European tours and festivals, America’s Cruise to the Edge festival, a South America headline tour, and a headline performance at Tomorrow Festival in China, the band have won the hearts of both traditional and modern Gong fanbases. During this live journey, Gong has delved further into the truly psychedelic, exploratory, and mind-expanding side of the music. » Read more

2020-01-15
Carlos Alvarado RIP – Carlos Alvarado, pioneering composer, multi-instrumentalist and pioneer of progressive rock and electronic experimental music in Mexico, passed away January 14th, 2020 at age 68 after a two year battle with cancer.  » Read more

2020-01-12
Wolfgang Dauner RIP – Pianist Wolfgang Dauner, one of the pioneers of both European free jazz and jazz rock, has died at the age of 84. With his own groups and with the United Jazz+Rock Ensemble, his playing and compositions were a prominent presence in European jazz from the mid-60s until just recently. » Read more

2020-01-12
Michael Allison RIP – Michael Allison, who since 1997 has been recording as Darshan Ambient, passed away on January 9th after a long and brave battle with cancer. He has been at at the forefront of the new ambient/electronic music scene, with over eighteen releases to his credit. » Read more

2020-01-10
Neil Peart RIP – One of rock music's defining drummers has died at the age of 67. Neil Peart's work with Rush provided one of the templates for percussion in rock, and he certainly ranks in the top ten most influential drummers of the 20th Century. Peart retired from playing in 2015 due to health issues, and succumbed to brain cancer on January 7, 2020. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

You Are Here - You Are Here – You Are Here are a new band out of Toronto with this eponymous EP as their debut. First off, I should point out that while a keyboard player is present, this quintet have a much newer and younger...  (1998) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues