Fujiya & Miyagi are David Best, Steve Lewis and Matt Hainsby. The trio met while warming the subs bench during Sunday league football and discovered a mutual hero-worship of world heavy weight sumo wrestler Kendo Nagasaki, '70s Kroutrock and early '90s electronica. Transparent Things has international press and DJ's going nuts for these boys from Brighton, Errol Alkan, James Murphy, Optimo and Andrew Watherall are among the celebrated artist/DJ's to proclaim their love for these electronic maestros. Fujiya & Miyagi borrow from some of the best: Can, Kraftwerk, Air. As for Fujiya, It's the name of a record player, and Miyagi, just like you thought, is the wise martial arts master from The Karate Kid. Already receiving major critical acclaim in the UK, get ready for some major waves this side of the shore.
Fujiya & Miyagi are not Japanese nor are they a duo, but are in fact a trio of rather cheeky Brits. Keeping with the multi-cultural theme, they also love Neu!
-style Krautrock, with its metronome rhythms and cerebral melodies. This second release after 2003's Electro Karaoke in the Negative Style
is filled with sly statements and cute jokes about commodity and materialism--Transparent Things
is a particularly apt title--but more than anything else it's a goofball lark. With the music-nerd navel-gazing of LCD Soundsystem
, but also the sonic aesthetic of Stereolab
, it can be enjoyed regardless of whether you want to get geeky. Some might say it's best
enjoyed that way, as some of the record's most enjoyable moments, like the skittery last few minutes of "Photocopier" or the instrumental "Cassettesingle" aren't about words at all. At times it's downright danceable, with tracks like "Reeboks in Heaven" exhibiting an abstract, electro grooviness. Their devotion to quirk ends up being a little too cute occasionally (like when they use the band name as a chant in "Ankle Injuries"), but their energy is so harmless it's easy to overlook it. Don't worry about getting all the jokes; Fujiya & Miyagi would likely be happier if you turned your brain off and cut a rug instead. --Matthew Cooke