Drummer and composer Yoshida Tatsuya continues to be the central (and at times the only) member of Ruins, who have now existed primarily as a bass-and-drums duo for nearly 25 years. Sax Ruins are, as their name suggests, a variation on the Ruins organization, and feature saxophonist/flutist Ono Ryoko alongside Tatsuya. While a sax-and-drums orchestration might suggest a certain sonic and textural minimalism, banish such thoughts immediately: in the studio, Sax Ruins are -- there's no other accurate term for it -- a big band, with Tatsuya writing unbelievably complex and dense compositions that Ryoko plays on multiple instruments in overdubbed parts. It would be nearly impossible to listen to this entire album at a sitting: while many of the pieces are mercifully brief, all are pretty much taken at a single tempo (fast) and played at a single dynamic level (loud). Every individual composition is jaw-droppingly complicated and intense, and some are downright beautiful in a psychotic bebop sort of way; "Korromda Peimm" is high-octane postmodern bop, tight and angular and arranged with knife-point precision except for a sudden chaotic "ensemble" solo; "Zurna Taksim" is frankly joyous but also startingly brief, at 35 seconds; "Pallaschtom" is nearly goofy in tone, evoking a much less snarky John Zorn; "Znohjmo" briefly invokes Thelonious Monk and also briefly provides a respite from the otherwise consistently headlong clangor of the rest of the program ("Epigonen" also includes a rare soft moment, though "moment" is the operative term here -- the interlude lasts about eight bars). This music is consistently brilliant and actually quite varied in its content, but its presentation is so unrelievedly assaultive that listening for more than a few minutes is a real challenge. Those few minutes, though, might change your life.