Sax Ruins: Yawiquo (Ipecac)

Leave it to the Japanese to take any medium—comic books, film, rock—to its logical and extreme conclusion. Just when you thought nothing more could be done in the jazz-based idiom with a saxophone and a drum kit, along comes Sax Ruins, a deadly duo featuring improvisational sax player Ono Ryoko and Ruins skinsman Tatsuya Yoshida.

For those who don't know, Ruins was a powerful prog-rock two-piece featuring Yoshida and a rock bassist. In this latest incarnation, the language is jazzcore, with Ryoko's multi-tracked performance giving Sax Ruins' debut what can only be described as a big-band-on-massive-steroids sensibility. Except for a few tracks—like the nimble yet lethal "Pig Brag Crack"—the 17 instrumentals gathered here are titled via the band's own made-up language (e.g., "Hyderomastgroningem").

The music itself is a scary Frankenstein patchwork of Sabbath, Zorn and Glenn Miller, shambling its way down a path of free musical expression. Ryoko reportedly uses "nonbreath circulation technique and multi-phonics" to generate her awesome noise, but her real strength lies in her ideas, which are genre-spanning. Is the world ready for the drop-on-a-dime turnarounds in "Znohjmo," which goes from Slayer to "Superfly" to Sinatra in the space of a few heartbeats? Who cares? These are exceptional experiments any way they slice you.

Sax Ruins demolishes the last remaining walls between musical categories like no other band.