ELITE GYMNASTICS’ RUIN
Okay, lay off, fellas. We know; we’re late to the party. Elite Gymnastics’ debut full-length album Ruin was released a ways back on vinyl and digital download via Acéphale. We heard the duo’s jams via one well positioned CFCF remix and the unofficial single of their most recent release, the bonus remix package Ruin 4. Holy hell, are we glad we kept listening. One year later, we’ve acquired the album that started it all, and we’re here to rail and rave about it.
Kicking off with less than a minute’s worth of heavenly electric piano and violin riffs, Ruin wastes little to no time delving into a signature sound that Elite Gymnastics has crafted: a union of heavily processed whispers, early 90’s IDM percussion, and analogue orchestral touches waiting in the wings. The layout of the album is likewise unique in that there is a very distinct A-side and B-side, and that the sounds you will hear on Ruin adhere very closely to that formula. Both sides are about twenty minutes long, but the A-side is a touch longer, as it contains all of the original compositions. The B-side, on the other hand, is comprised of five redone versions of the six original tracks, most of which are slower, darker, and more stripped down. Every track from the first side gets a retouch on the flipside except for “So Close to Paradise”, which is a shame because that one is a real banger, in our collective opinion. Either way, though, listening to the B-side of Ruin is like listening to the dark underbelly of the whole album at night time in minor key. Standouts of the full experience include both versions of “Here, in Heaven”, the B-side version of which is featured above, and “Minneapolis Belongs to You”. “Here in Heaven” will always be special to us here at Tiananmen Square Dance because it is the tune we first heard by Elite Gymnastics, and the darkness collected in those three-and-a-half minutes make for the bleakest pop track we have yet to hear. Despite its heavily Squarepusher-influenced instrumentation, a brief sampling of the lyrics tell a dark, painful story of never ending loneliness and insufficiency. The drum n’ bass doesn’t fool anybody: the ever-present chanting in the background, paired with the scathing vocals undertone a serious social malfunction that the B-side featured above takes into even darker territory. “Minneapolis Belongs to You” offers a wistful marriage between tinny South Asian beach lullabies and the hard-hitting early Warp Records sound purveyed by British greats such as Aphex Twin and The Future Sound of London. Do tha right thing, and grab your belated copy of Elite Gymnastic’s Ruin by way of iTunes, Amazon, or Acéphale, and dive into this bizarrely successful juxtaposition of dance and dream today.
MP3 Download of “Here, in Heaven”, by Elite Gymnastics
MP3 Download of “Here, in Heaven 2”, by Elite Gymnastics