The legendary British free guitarist Derek Bailey playing with the Japanese avant-core duo the Ruins? Yes, it happened, and, moreover, it has been documented on Tohjinbo. Recorded in the studio on April 4th, 1997, this CD puts together a driving force of creative music, a man who seems to be able to constantly reinvent himself, and the crunching dynamo that is the group consisting of Yoshida Tatsuya (drums, occasional vociferations) and Sasaki Hisashi (bass). The major issue arisen by this encounter is rhythm: When improvising, the Ruins tend to settle on a beat, while Bailey plays free improv, not free-form rock. For this session, both stayed in their respective camp, and tracks like "Ssuirakka" and "Vannachitta" have moments of unbridled steadiness with the guitarist moving in and out of synchronization. More important is the energy and enthusiasm displayed. The Ruins are clearly enjoying themselves and their fans will not feel lost here, while more serious (and probably older) followers of Bailey may find this release too violent and lacking subtlety. The Ruins' zeuhl-inspired rhythmic playing, grunts, and track titles sounding like they come out of H.P. Lovecraft's demonology have little in common with the abstract British free improvisation scene. The album is billed as Derek and the Ruins but it really should be the other way around: The Ruins definitely lead this game. Sometimes, subtlety can take a hike: just do a lot of noise and do it well. Recommended.
AllMusic Review by François Couture