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Ruins plays a unique form of manic and twisted progressive rock for these millennial times. Ruins' compositions are complex and can be disorienting to any listener who is accustomed to less innovative, dynamic, and demanding musics. Drummer/vocalist Tatsuya Yoshida, the founding member of Ruins, formed the band in 1985. Since that time, there have been a number of different bass players, including Kawamoto Hideki, Kimoto Kazuyoshi, Ryuichi Masuda, and Hisashi Sasaki. Bandleader/drummer/singer Yoshida credits such diverse influences as progressive rock stalwarts Magma, classical composers such as Chopin, and traditional throat singing from Tuva. Though hints of these and other influences (e.g., Bill Bruford, Rush, Pink Floyd, Gong, King Crimson, Yes, and Genesis) often come through in the Ruins sound, there is no mistaking Ruins for anyone else. Many Ruins compositions employ odd time signatures, sudden tempo changes, and passages of heavily processed noise. The bass, which unlike most has six strings, is often threaded through various effects. Vocables are meant to be nonsensical (and that's how they sound) and are usually improvised, as are portions of the songs. The overall sound is chaotic yet precise, noisy yet harmonious, catchy yet repelling, frenetic yet disciplined.
As if the demands of Ruins were not enough, Yoshida keeps himself busy with various other musical projects (e.g., Koenji Hyakkei, Korekyojinn, and Daimonji). From time to time, Ruins has collaborated with others, including saxophonist/producer John Zorn, Fushitsusha noise guitarist Keiji Haino, keyboardist Kenichi Oguchi, vocalists Eleonola Emi and Aki Kubota, acrobatic punkers Schlong, avant-proggers Guapo, Kazutoki Umezu, producer Steve Albini, and guitarists Derek Bailey and Jason Willet. Ruins has many releases in the form of singles, collaborations, and full-length CDs. Among the full-length albums are Stonehenge (1990), Burning Stone (1992), Refusal Fossil (1997), and Symphonica (1998). Pallaschtom followed, comprised of three tracks: a classical music medley, a hard rock medley, and a progressive rock medley. Critically celebrated, Ruins found time to release a compilation of rarities, titled 1986-1992, in the spring of 2002. Several months later, Tzomborgha appeared. After the departure of fourth bassist Hisashi Sasaki, Tatsuya Yoshida forged on with Ruins as a solo act, performing live as Ruins Alone and releasing the album Alone in 2011.
Ruins is a Japanese experimental rock duo of drum set and electric bass guitar. The group, formed in 1985, was supposedly intended to be a power trio; the guitarist, however, never showed up to the band's first rehearsal, so the group remained a duo. The drummer is Tatsuya Yoshida and the group has featured four different bass players over its history.
The French progressive rock band Magma is the group's most important influence, to such an extent that Ruins' original lyrics are written and sung in an invented language which, at first glance, resembles Kobaïan, the language invented by Christian Vander of Magma. Ruins' material (which Yoshida, who composes the majority of their pieces, writes out in score form) is generally of extreme complexity and thus is often described as inaccessible - potential listeners may be bewildered by the band's unrestrained yet disciplined approach, or simply astounded by the visceral energy of the pair.
In addition to the "prog rock" label, the group's music has also been described as "math rock" and "zeuhl". That said, Ruins' style has consistently evolved since the band's beginnings; this is often tied in with the bassist Tatsuya was collaborating with at the time.
Ruins have collaborated with several other musicians, including prominent avant-garde figure Derek Bailey, auteur guitarist/multi-instrumentalist Keiji Haino and Ground Zero alumnus Kazuhisa Uchihashi.
Sasaki Hisashi left the band in 2004, and since then Yoshida has been touring solo under the name Ruins-alone (Ruins Alone). He was chosen by Matt Groening to perform at the All Tomorrow's Parties festival Groening curated in May 2010 in Minehead, England.
Members Current membersTatsuya Yoshida – drums, percussion, vocals (1985–present)Former membersKawamoto Hideki – bass, vocals (1985–1987)Kimoto Kazuyoshi – bass, vocals (1987–1990)Masuda Ryuichi – bass, vocals (1991–1997)Sasaki Hisashi – bass, vocals (1995–2004)
EPs, live releases, and compilations Ruins (EP) (1986)Ruins (second EP) (1987)Early Works: Live & Unreleased Tracks (1991)II & 19 Numbers (1992)0'33" (Live Album)(1993)Split with Dawson (1993)Split with Schlong (1994)March-October 1997 (1997,2002,2003)Mandala 2000: Live at the Kichijoji Mandala II (2000)1986-1992 (2001)Live in Guangzhou (2002)Ales Stenar (2001)Split with High on Fire (2005)
CollaborationsRuins & Umezu Kazutoki (1994, with Umezu Kazutoki)Hatoba & Ruins (1994, with Omoide Hatoba)Saisoro (1995, with Derek Bailey)Jason Willet & Ruins (1995, with Jason Willet)Tohjinbo (1997, with Derek Bailey)Ketsunoana (1998, with Ron Anderson)Big Shoes (2001, with Ron Anderson)Kazuhisa Uchihashi & Ruins (1998, with Kazuhisa Uchihashi)Live In Europe (2001, with Kazuhisa Uchihashi)Knead (2002, with Keiji Haino)New Rap (2006, with Keiji Haino)Uhrfasudhasdd (2008, with Keiji Haino)Hauenfiomiume (2008, with Keiji Haino)2008 New Japan Festival (2008, with various artists, including Ruins-Alone)