Fujiya & Miyagi

Fujiya & Miyagi

Sunday, 26 November 2006

“The original blueprint was to combine Carl Craig or early Warp records sounds with that of German groups like Kraftwerk and CAN,” explains David Best of UK’s newest innovation, Fujiya & Miyagi, about their 2007 release Transparent Things. “I like the fact that we can incorporate different styles into our music and it hopefully still sounds like us.”

From the first note on “Ankle Injuries,” your ears perk up like when you’re driving down the freeway and you hear a siren off in the distance. It’s a modern-influenced Kraut experience, but much—much—easier to comprehend than, say, ANYTHING off Ege Bamyasi. What was taken are the simple, minimal, repetitious grooves and beats, but added into the mix is straight up funk—not to mention comprehensive vocals. “‘Sucker Punch,’ for example,” says Best, “is basically a funk song and that can sit next to 8-minute motorik mongs.” Now, what does motorik mean exactly? Who cares, as long as the song rules. But if you must know, it’s a term coined to describe the 4/4 beat popularized by original Krautock bands like Neu! and Kraftwerk.

The group consists of three members: Steve Lewis (Beats, Programming, Synths, Backing Vocals), Best (Vocals, Guitar, Korg) and Matt Hainsby (Bass Guitar, Backing Vocals, Korg). They are all multi-instrumentalists and the ideas are not all generated from one leader. “There is no one way that we write,” explains Best. “Sometimes it will be a collaborative effort, such as ‘Cassettesingle’ and other times it will stem from an idea like a beat or a riff and sometimes the basic song is already written. Steve programs as well as writes, I write a lot of songs with a guitar, and all three of us work it till it sounds how we want it to.” The aforementioned cut starts off with a bassline that would humble Armistead Smith, a little click sample and a mood-altering synthline that guides you to the drums about a minute in. It’s this type of timing that shows you how much this band gets it. Moments later an oh-so-subtle guitar enters stage-left and joins the festivities. There’s an appropriate break-down, then right back at it for all to enjoy. This is every track on Transparent Things. Each one transports you to the next part and the precise moment you get antsy and need something to change. It’s like they are reading your thoughts and sensing your mood.

It’s good to know the press is welcoming the band rather than doing its usual song and dance, name-dropping criticism as it would do with a band that has hints of others in their music. “I thought we might be dismissed as ripping people off, which I think would have been unfair as there is a lot of us in there,” admits Best. “I would have understood why people might think that though on first listens.” The album has been out in the U.K. already and next up is North America. “In terms of Europe or the U.S., I just want people to hear us,” says Best. “We have no master plan for world domination. We are looking forward to playing the states next year though. Especially New York.”

Transparent Things is the musical equivalent of wearing your heart on your sleeve. From the mellow-toned head-bobber “Collarbone” to the pop and groove of “Photocopier,” Fujiya & Miyagi make music for hungry ears and starving feet. The recording is crisp and precise and pulls you from sound to sound until you give in and allow the music to overwhelm you once and for all. Knowing what these guys are into and where they come from, Best says of the band’s intentions, “We all just want to make records as good as the ones we listen to.”

Transparent Things is out January 23rd, 2007


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