RUIN / HISTORY
Leicester's best-kept secret
proudly presented by Alan
Undoubtedly the most ironic thing about doing your own magazine is how do you go about reviewing your own releases without seeming biased or egoistic. Often the trick is to do an interview or weave it into a feature. Or, best of all, get someone else that's a fan to do it! But there are cases where none of that is possible, and the only solution is to "throw the gauntlet".
A case in point here is Ruin, a Leicester band that have existed for many years, kind of lurking in the "underground" refining and developing their style from more basic post-punk, blues and rock roots. A brother of the band leader, who we know as Wilf brought in some discs to the Ultima Thule shop a few years back that he thought we may like. My reaction was basically "like the jams and more experimental bits - dump the singer" a reaction that often means I never hear from the band again. But years later Wilf presented me with a new disc, grinning "I think you're going to like this one" - and sure enough, he was right.
This disc comprised rehearsal jams from 10 November 2011, with the usual trio of: Curly and Jack on guitars, plus Stu on drums, with Wilf featuring on electronics. Just three tracks of extremely creative music, that indeed showed many influences but also had a creative spirit unique to Ruin. I guess they'd put themselves into a special frame of mind and decided to do some post-rock type jams that would fit the Auricle Music ethos. The fresh vitality, disregard of convention (all buzzing, crackles and noises are intentional) and spirit of it all reminds me of Can in their heyday. Put that against their punky roots, and they come up with surprising results, a bit Public Image, a bit This Heat or Metabolist, and quite Krautrocky too, akin to the late great Rancid Poultry. Each track is a surprise, not least the last track which gets a lot more prog, and has a hint of early Twelfth Night or instrumental Courtyard Moth feel about it!
This November 2011 disc was later issued on Auricle as THE KNITTER (AMCDR 185) as a numbered edition of 20 copies. Soon after that Wilf turned up with yet more session discs, some involving him some not, and virtually all of them were excellent. After a few repeated listens and discussions with band members I distilled the March through to May 2012 sessions into two lengthy discs.
TENTACLES OF THE TRIPOD MASK (AMCDR 195) features seven tracks, five big ones and two short bridge/interludes. I was given free reign to mix and play with it however I liked, but I opted only to add effects and processing with the recorded material as source. Here we have a range of tracks including psychedelic jams, a spacey blues, freeform space-outs, at least one number that reminds me of early Volcano The Bear. Metabolist and Can are in there again, and two crazed Krautrocky freak-outs to finish it off. It leaves me emotionally breathless every time!
Keeping with the strange album titles SLIGHT RETURN OF THE HALF BAKED (AMCDR 196) is another double album's worth of material, this time with Curly expanding his instrumentation further (adding violin, Indian banjo, mouth organ) and some vocals - not normal singing though, but chanting in the manner of Faust or Metabolist. Jack also adds some keyboards. Again we have a track in the vein of Public Image Ltd., circa METAL BOX given a very strange stutter treatment, a venture into Hawkwind / High Tide territory, some really big extended space-rock treks and lots more, ending with the vast 23 minute opus War Neuro'sis.
By my reckoning Ruin can easily rival any of the best around at the moment. They have that special feeling of wanton abandon, daring to challenge themselves, experimenting fusing together elements we've never heard before. And they've been busy. So watch of for more from Leicester's best-kept secret!
from Audion #58
THE KNITTER - CDR Auricle AMCDR 185 (2012)
download sampler releases...
Ruin article in Audion - #58/23
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