Saturday, July 3, 2010

Ruinzhatova - Close to the RH Kiki (2003)

One of the most strangely obscure bands of the Japanese underground. By names alone, this should be considered a go-to classic for sure. A joint effort from the twisted minds of Ruins (Yoshida Tatsuya (also appears on: nearly every Japanese underground band that requires drumming) and Sasaki Hisashi (one of Ruins' bassists. The most recent and one of the most noted, for sure)) and Omoide-Hatoba(Seiichi Yamamoto (Boredoms (although probably(?) left after Vision Creation Newsun, claiming they have perfected their sound (I won't pretend to understand Boredoms or their history)), ROVO, Novo Tono) and Atsushi Tsuyama (Acid Mothers Temple))* it must certainly be known that this is no amateur effort. Combining some of the most humorous and technical of the Japanese noise rockists, they create a thrill ride.

And it starts with what should be innocence. The first track is a cover of Kraftwerk's piece, Trans Europe Express, although you would hardly be able to tell. Sure, it starts off with the famous repetition of "Trans Europe Express", but, suddenly, as the last of the chants goes off, there is one final "Express", a clang on the drums and then suddenly you're floating in a maze of drums, buzzing guitars and misaligned rhythms, not at all reminiscent of Kraftwerk's synth pop tune. And this sort of comical experimentation happens throughout. Surely one of the highlights is the plainly named, Sex Machine/Larks Tongue in Aspic pt.II. You could notice the names apart, but the complication comes when the song kicks into gear, with one guitar playing the groovy James Brown hit Sex Machine in your right headphone while the other plays the King Crimson classic Larks Tongue in Aspic pt.II on your left. With only the drums and the noticeable feeling that they stop trying to cover songs as quickly they announce it, to blend the tracks, the creation inbound is so strange, so surreal, it's intoxicating.

They do have their original tracks, however. As only Yoshida/Seiichi/Atsushi can, they create their own esoteric noise rock/improvisational mayhem leaving any sort of logical train derailed. Even if the disc is dominated by what they seem to consider cover tracks (the longest and most traditional is their version of the Yes epic, Close to the Edge), it is absurd to think of this album as anything other than originality in it's most pure essence. Hidden rhythms, Yoshida's traditional linear drumming and gibberish vocals, Seiichi and Atsushi's well known, effect-ridden guitars and Sasaki's sound bass along with their collective penchant for inserting personality and humor into this music creates a sound that plays more like a couple of competent musicians jerking around with what they do naturally rather than a band going out and focusing on what they've practiced for ages. By creating this album which feels so unplanned, so effortless, it creates somewhat of a personal connection with the band. You're peering into what these guys do as a hobby, not a job.

*couple of notes on the members. 1. Sorry to namedrop, but for those familiar, it should relate the sound in a more abstract manner. 2. Some places list Sasaki as the bassist and Atsushi another guitarist, some list Atsushi as a bassist and Sasaki on guitar and some list Atsushi on bass and Sasaki not in the band at all. I'm not sure at all on the complete issue, but I don't think it changes much.

Buy (this is just a link to Yoshida's label. I don't think it's available, but you can double check/contact Yoshida to make sure. Sorry to complicate, if I find something easier it'll be in comments)

1 comment:

  1. Downloaded this a while ago, finally getting around to listening to it. What a trip! You didn't mention the cover of "Close to the Edge" which sticks surprisingly close to the original, though with a noisy edge Yes never approached.