12 Songs, 42 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

It was with this, their fourth studio album, that Brighton, England’s Fujiya & Miyagi decided to work with a producer for the first time and add a fourth member to their trio (drummer Lee Adams). Thom Monahan (who has also worked with Devendra Banhart and Vetiver) helps Ventriloquizzing maintain a balance between its shadowy cool and comforting warmth. The title-track opens with Krautrock-inspired rhythms that pulse and flicker like a fluorescent light bulb under David Best’s detached and disarming vocals — where 2008’s Lightbulbs had him singing like he just woke up, 2011 Ventriloquizzing sounds like Monahan set up a microphone under the comforter so Best wouldn’t have to leave the bed while tracking vocals. But his deadpan delivery works perfectly with somber selections like “Cat Got Your Tongue” and the icy “Pills.” The latter along with the NEU!-influenced “Yoyo” are dotted with mechanized chirps, drones and analogue electro flourishes reminiscent of old-school Stereolab and Broadcast’s obsession with all things Joseph Byrd. Best’s vacant cool even makes sipping soup sound sexy on the standout “Minestrone.”

EDITORS’ NOTES

It was with this, their fourth studio album, that Brighton, England’s Fujiya & Miyagi decided to work with a producer for the first time and add a fourth member to their trio (drummer Lee Adams). Thom Monahan (who has also worked with Devendra Banhart and Vetiver) helps Ventriloquizzing maintain a balance between its shadowy cool and comforting warmth. The title-track opens with Krautrock-inspired rhythms that pulse and flicker like a fluorescent light bulb under David Best’s detached and disarming vocals — where 2008’s Lightbulbs had him singing like he just woke up, 2011 Ventriloquizzing sounds like Monahan set up a microphone under the comforter so Best wouldn’t have to leave the bed while tracking vocals. But his deadpan delivery works perfectly with somber selections like “Cat Got Your Tongue” and the icy “Pills.” The latter along with the NEU!-influenced “Yoyo” are dotted with mechanized chirps, drones and analogue electro flourishes reminiscent of old-school Stereolab and Broadcast’s obsession with all things Joseph Byrd. Best’s vacant cool even makes sipping soup sound sexy on the standout “Minestrone.”

TITLE TIME
4:09
3:29
3:54
2:44
3:10
2:59
2:48
4:31
2:29
4:37
4:24
3:16

About Fujiya & Miyagi

Despite the name, Fujiya & Miyagi are neither Japanese nor a duo. The electronic trio of singer and guitarist David Best, synth player Steve Lewis, and bassist Matt Hainsby are deeply indebted both to vintage '70s Krautrock and the '90s bands that were themselves influenced by the likes of Neu! and Kraftwerk, from Stereolab and Broadcast to Aphex Twin and the Orb. The group started in the coastal city of Brighton, England in 1999, when Best and Lewis first met in a pickup football game. Taking their name at random from Mr. Miyagi in The Karate Kid and a brand of stereo equipment, Best and Lewis recorded their first album, Electro Karaoke in the Negative Style, as a duo, releasing it on the Tirk Records label in 2003. In preparation for touring behind the album, Best and Lewis formed a full-band iteration of Fujiya & Miyagi, including bassist Grunder and drummer Matthew Avery. When recording sessions started for the band's second album, Best and Lewis felt the four-piece lineup didn't work in the studio and reverted briefly to a duo before adding Hainsby on bass and additional keyboards. Thus constituted, Fujiya & Miyagi completed their second album, Transparent Things, which was released in the spring of 2006. The band's third studio album, Lightbulbs, was released in 2008 and featured new drummer Lee Adams, while 2011's Ventriloquizzing found the group exploring its darkest terrain yet with the help of producer/engineer Thom Monahan (Vetiver, Devendra Banhart). Adams departed before the issue of their next album, 2014's stripped-down and upbeat Artificial Sweeteners.

~ Stewart Mason

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