The Ruins are known for their energetic live performances, but they truly surpassed themselves on Mandala 2000: Live at Kichijoji Mandala II. Recorded on May 12, 2000, this CD contains 23 tracks performed with merely an occasional half-second break here and there. Drummer Yoshida Tatsuya and bassist Sasaki Hisashi storm through a cross-section of compositions spanning 15 years of existence, five improvisations, and the two famous light-speed medleys "Classical Music Medley" and "Hardrock Medley" -- the group's answer to John Oswald's Plunderphonics. Electric violinist Katsui Yuji joined the duo for the last portion of the show. Throughout the years, the Ruins have covered every possible ground between symphonic progressive rock, avant punk, and free rock. By 2000, they had achieved a level of fusion between those styles and an almost inhuman technique. An unstoppable locomotive, Mandala 2000 features many highlights: the complex "Vrresto," "Bupphairodazz," "Znohjmo," the medleys, the spacy "Impro 4." Yet, after the first 30 minutes, the listener feels he has had enough; after 45 minutes, he begs for mercy. The performance is just too relentless to be sustainable and enjoyable in one session. Stop halfway and resume later in order to fully appreciate the incomparable musicianship and stunning performance found on Mandala 2000, definitely a must-have for Ruins fans and a convincing place to start for newcomers. This CD ranks very high in their discography.
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AllMusic Review by François Couture