Album Review: Fujiya & Miyagi – Transparent Things

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Fujiya & Miyagi – Transparent Things (Electronica, Funk, Krautrock) [2006]

 

The deceptively named British indie-electronica group Fujiya & Miyagi are a bit of a musical curiosity. At first listen the music of this group might sound pretty run-of-the-mill; there were plenty of bands doing similar things in the mid 2000’s. But if you lend a more careful ear, you can begin to hear and identify the multitude of opposing musical styles that Fujiya & Miyagi blend seamlessly together. Genres that are often not associated with one another all manage to squeeze their way into this album without detracting from the relaxed electronic vibes.

The true beauty of Transparent things is in its subtlety. Like I mentioned before, at first listen it might not sound like anything too special. But in fact there are many layers of nuanced influences hidden in the depths of each track. The most evident example is the bands obvious appreciation for Krautrock. Almost every song contains some element of the groovy, trance-inducing music that is Krautrock. From the simple,repetitive, hypnotizing guitar and bass lines to the droning synth accompaniment. As well as a focus on rhythm and meter instead of any kind of melody. Even the whispery vocals seem to be a tip of the hat to the vocal stylings of Damo Suzuki of the famous Krautrock band Can.

Funk plays a major role in Transparent things also. In order to give their modern Krautrock sound a much needed edge, Fujiya & Miyagi  incorporate some snappy drumming and funky bass lines to form a nice, dance-able beat. They tone it down a bit of course, to fit in with the chill tone they have set for themselves. You wouldn’t normally think that Funk would work well in the world of indietronica, but interestingly enough, this usually sharp and spirited form of music actually mixes well with the low-key electronic grooves they create. The synthesis of these musical styles helps the band achieve quite a unique sound that is still very accessible to the common listener.

As impressive as all this genre blending and musical mixology is, Transparent Things is not without its flaws. The reliance on repetition and rhythm over chorus and melody is both a blessing and a detriment. When the songwriting is solid, you get delightful tunes like “Collarbone” and “Suckerpunch” that just implant their hooks right into your brain and stay their. But on the weaker tracks, namely “Transparent Things”, you are forced to listen to the same bland riff repeated ad nauseam, making the tracks feel twice their length. Fortunately the album is paced well with instrumentals breaking up the more personified and lively tracks. I found myself enjoying Transparent Things quite a bit, but the formula does wear a little thin by the end and I’m not really sure if another full album of material like this would impress me as much. That being said, I strongly recommend Transparent Things.

Favorite Track: Collarbone

Rating: ** (great)

OVERDRIVE 10/21/15

SHUFFLE DAY (aka I didn’t feel like making a separate playlist so here is my full OVERDRIVE playlist on shuffle)

Tracks I have never played on my show before have a * next to them.

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  1. Overdrive – Oliver Heldens
  2. Get Lucky – Daft Punk
  3. South London Boroughs – Burial
  4. Ghostwriter – RJD2
  5. Revolution (Panic City Remix) – Diplo
  6. A Lot Like Love (Oliver Heldens Mix) – the Voyagers
  7. Now You Know – Arca
  8. Pull It – Dillon Francis *
  9. How To Be A Heartbreaker (Dada Life Remix) – Marina + the Diamonds
  10. Distant Light – Burial
  11. Earthquake – DJ Fresh + Diplo
  12. Hayling – FC Kahuna *
  13. Night Bus – Burial *
  14. Hate or Glory – Gesaffelstein *
  15. Sexy Boy – Air *
  16. Riding Solo (Njomza Remix) – Hippie Sabotage
  17. Prayer In C (Robin Schulz Remix) – Lilly Wood and the Prick
  18. Express Yourself – Diplo

OVERDRIVE 10/7/15

Throwing it back this Wednesday with some old-school instrumentals & synth industrial stuff.

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  1. Overdrive – Oliver Heldens
  2. Concept 1 – Kodomo
  3. Concept 10 – Kodomo
  4. Concept 15 – Kodomo
  5. Burnout Eyess – oOoOO
  6. Moon – Little People
  7. Start Shootin’ – Little People
  8. Basique – Little People
  9. Strawberry Skies – Games
  10. Archangel – Burial
  11. Southern Comfort – Burial
  12. Porcelain – Moby
  13. Mic Control – RJD2
  14. Ghostwriter – RJD2
  15. Plastic People – Four Tet
  16. Talamak – Toro Y Moi
  17. U Hurt Me – Burial
  18. Broken Home – Burial
  19. Night Bus – Burial
  20. Angel – Massive Attack

OVERDRIVE 9/30/15 – BIRTHDAY SHOW

IT’S MY BIRTHDAY AND I’LL DJ IF I WANT TO

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  1. Overdrive – Oliver Heldens
  2. Runway E (1st) – Death Grips (Youtube)
  3. Runway N (2nd) – Death Grips (Youtube)
  4. Runway E (2nd) – Death Grips (Youtube)
  5. Now You Know – Arca
  6. Thievery – Arca
  7. Harder Better Faster Stronger – Daft Punk
  8. Technologic – Daft Punk
  9. You Know You Like It – DJ Snake & AlunaGeorge
  10. Get Low – Dillon Francis & DJ Snake
  11. Bruk Bruk (I Need Your Love) – Dillon Francis
  12. Holdin On – Flume
  13. Left Alone – Flume
  14. Sleepless – Flume
  15. Take U There – Jack U
  16. To U – Jack U
  17. Where Are U Now – Jack U
  18. Too Original – Major Lazer
  19. Roll the Bass – Major Lazer
  20. Sweat – Major Lazer
  21. Bruk Out – Major Lazer
  22. Sweatmother – Tobacco
  23. Grape Aerosmith – Tobacco & Beck
  24. Overheater – Tobacco
  25. Habits (Hippie Sabotage Remix) – Tove Lo

 

OVERDRIVE 9/16/15

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  1. Overdrive – Oliver Heldens
  2. Holy Hole Inna Donut – Kaytranada
  3. Golden (Kaytranada Extended Edition) – Jill Scott (Youtube)
  4. Technologic – Daft Punk
  5. Face To Face – Daft Punk
  6. Fitzpleasure (Internet of Odd Future Remix) – alt-J
  7. What’s Your Name – Dillon Francis (Soundcloud)
  8. Bun Up The Dance – Dillon Francis (Soundcloud)
  9. Vegan Vampire – Major Lazer & Ezra Koenig
  10. Lean On (Dillon Francis Remix) – Major Lazer
  11. Sweat – Major Lazer
  12. Rhymes – Hannah Wants
  13. Ain’t Nobody Loves Me Better – Felix Jaehn
  14. Set It Off (Sleepy Tom Mix) – Diplo
  15. Revolution (Panic City Mix) – Diplo
  16. We’ve Got Our Obsessions – 2Sugars (Youtube)
  17. Contramelt A – Toy Selectah & Vampire Weekend (Youtube)
  18. Contramelt B – Toy Selectah & Vampire Weekend (Youtube)
  19. Cousins (Cumbia Mix) – Toy Selectah & Vampire Weekend (Youtube)
  20. Too Original (Beats Antique Remix) – Major Lazer (Soundcloud)
  21. Hold On – Grandtheft & Sleepy Tom (Soundcloud)
  22. Drop (Retrohandz Remix) – Diplo & DJ Snake (Soundcloud)