Sax Ruins: Blimmguass
(Skin Graft, 1/14/14)
As the band name suggests, in this modified incarnation of the noise-jazz duo Ruins, drummer/founder Tatsuya Yoshida (John Zorn, Bill Laswell) plays alongside saxophone in lieu of bass guitar. Yoshida’s second album with alto saxophonist Ryoko Ono under the name Sax Ruins, Blimmguass again includes re-workings of Ruins material.
To say the least, Yoshida and Ono value freedom, which means that fans already familiar with the Ruins catalog will still find plenty of new textures and moods to sink their teeth into here. At the same time, the spastic quality that defines Ruins only intensifies as Ono creates huge swells of chaos via a dizzying range of sounds.
Four bonus tracks, simply titled “Improvisation 1,” etc., capture Ono and Yoshida in a somewhat more playful mode. The improvisations go on for much shorter running times than the Ruins pieces, but because the duo makes greater use of space and buildup, these additional off-the-cuff jams sound more expansive (if not any less expressive). After all the bluster and structural audacity of the main album, the change of pace acts as a kind of palette cleanser.