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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 to complete the discography and add albums

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

3.86 | 9 ratings
3.63 | 13 ratings
Burning Stone
3.39 | 10 ratings
3.06 | 6 ratings
Ruins - Hatoba
3.05 | 6 ratings
Saisoro (with Derek Bailey)
3.70 | 33 ratings
2.88 | 8 ratings
Refusal Fossil
3.92 | 37 ratings
3.44 | 7 ratings
Tohjinbo (with Derek Bailey)
3.72 | 16 ratings
3.96 | 27 ratings
3.49 | 23 ratings
3.00 | 3 ratings
Ruinzhatova - Close to the RH
0.00 | 0 ratings
Ruinzhatova - Neonlight/Big City Brights Night With a Vacant Look (OST for Dream, Sea, Vacancy, Metropolis)
3.16 | 7 ratings
Sax Ruins - Yawiquo
4.15 | 11 ratings
0.00 | 0 ratings
SaxRuins - Blimmguass

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

4.00 | 2 ratings
Improvisations (1996-1997)
0.00 | 0 ratings
March - October 1997
0.00 | 0 ratings
Ron Ruins - Ketsunoana
3.00 | 1 ratings
Ron Ruins - Big Shoes
4.10 | 10 ratings
Mandala 2000: Live at the Kichijoji Mandala II
4.02 | 3 ratings
Live In Guang Zhou, China
5.00 | 1 ratings
Ruins + Kazuhisa Uchihashi
0.00 | 0 ratings
Ruinzhatova - Liveinsomewhere

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
1.00 | 1 ratings
II & 19 Numbers
3.13 | 4 ratings
1986 - 1992

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

3.00 | 1 ratings
4.00 | 3 ratings
Ruins II
5.00 | 2 ratings
III (aka Infect)
0.00 | 0 ratings
4.50 | 2 ratings
0.00 | 0 ratings
Brother In The Wind / Gwodhunqa (split SP)

RUINS Reviews

Showing last 10 reviews only
 Ruins - Hatoba by RUINS album cover Studio Album, 1994
3.06 | 6 ratings

Ruins - Hatoba
Ruins Zeuhl

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE Team

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

Ruins II
Ruins Zeuhl

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE Team

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

Ruins Zeuhl

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE Team

— 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
3.96 | 27 ratings

Ruins Zeuhl

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE Team

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

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
4.15 | 11 ratings

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
3.96 | 27 ratings

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
3.49 | 23 ratings

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

 Symphonica  by RUINS album cover Studio Album, 1998
3.92 | 37 ratings

Ruins Zeuhl

Review by Dobermensch
Prog Reviewer

3 stars 'Symphonica' sounds like a more boisterous 'Mëkanïk Dëstruktïẁ Kömmandöh' minus the brass. The drumming patterns are very similar, but what differentiates it from 'Magma' are the vocals and the choppy stop starts.

Ruins are far more aggressive in approach. In fact the whole album is far punchier than Magma. However this is nothing compared to the superb follow up band 'Koenjihyakkei' where Zeuhl is taken to it's extreme. I still prefer Magma for their altogether more Tuetonic darkness and sense of impending doom. Ruins are a bit more unhinged and wacky.

'Symphonica' has a brilliantly clear production and I don't have many complaints with this album other than the fact that it's a bit all over the place rambling from one tune to the next with no real destination in mind.

Play it to your neighbours who annoy you with noise at 2.00am - guaranteed, they'll shut the hell up.

 Ron Ruins - Big Shoes by RUINS album cover Live, 2001
3.00 | 1 ratings

Ron Ruins - Big Shoes
Ruins Zeuhl

Review by SaltyJon
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

— First review of this album —
3 stars When I bought this album, I didn't know much of anything about Ron Anderson or his music. I still really don't, and based on this album I'm not in a hurry to look into it further. What we're presented with here is one in a series of collaborations between Ruins (with Hisashi Sasaki on bass) and Ron Anderson, best known for his work with the bands Molecules and PAK, as far as I know.

This CD is, to me, a fairly uneven show. Much of the music is what I was expecting/hoping for from a project involving Ruins - fast, complex, and generally loud and crazy sounding. That's all fine and well, but I couldn't help but wish for some larger extra element (there is some slight change to the sound, added keyboards on some tracks and trumpet on at least one, and of course guitar), or even something which changed the style (see for example the Ruins albums with Derek Bailey). This album could often pass off as a Ruins album with no collaborators if I didn't know better - the guitar tones have been present in Sasaki's playing before thanks to his absurdly large collection of effect pedals. That being said though, there are some different tracks on the album. Take for example the track Cathedral - as the name suggests, it's quite a lot more peaceful than I would have expected from any album with Yoshida and friends. He actually plays guitar on the track instead of drums, and if I'm right there is no bass, only guitar and trumpet. Unfortunately, this kind of track doesn't work as well here for me as the softer tracks do on Yoshida's collaborations with Haino Keiji. In addition to that, there are some tracks which sound more improvised, which didn't happen very often on Ruins albums - sometimes on live albums, sure, but not often even then. This kind of track is generally pretty good here, as Ron does seem to be more at home with this kind of playing than in more structured settings.

This definitely isn't a bad album. It's still got some very high quality playing from everyone involved, especially the boys of Ruins, and there are some gems among the tracks. There are just about as many tracks which I don't think are that great though, and after a while the album starts to drag in my opinion. I don't think it's exactly one of their better releases, as I've heard them being much more creative and/or aggressive on albums with no collaborators. Because of that, I feel like the album is worthy of a three star rating. If you're a fan of the style of music presented by Ruins but want to hear a (slightly) different take on it, then this is a decent place to go. I'd say it's a non-essential addition to your collection though - you aren't missing anything truly amazing without it, as far as I'm concerned. If you really want to hear some of Yoshida's best works with a guitarist, I'd suggest checking out either Korekyojinn or his collaborations with Uchihashi Kazuhisa or Haino Keiji before looking to this album.

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

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