Fujiya & Miyagi deliver one of the year’s best, Mars Volta man disappears into the abyss, Happy Mondays revel in dirt and Prince spanks his funky monkey. Getintothis listens in…
Fujiya & Miyagi: Transparent Things – Album of the Week
If Can‘s Future Days is the daddy of improvisational space-age Krautrock, then Transparent Things is its 21st Century younger cousin.
Coming on like a pair of Japanese superheroes, Brighton’s Fujiya & Miyagi meld the seminal German pioneer’s gift for fluid, organic instrumentation with tight, motorik rhythms atop of whispery, heavily enunciated vocal ticks.
Every inch of Transparent Things‘ 36 minutes exudes effortless, dynamism; from the Neu!-out groove of Ankle Injuries, to the Harmonia meets post-punkisms of Collarbone through to the kettle-drum assisted Tangerine Dream on uppers Conductor 71.
Elsewhere the robotic funk of Photocopier (with Miyagi, aka David Best chirruping ‘You’re off your bleedin’ rocker’) and the swampy melodica-driven Suckerpunch add swathes of meaty clout to the mix.
If James Murphy has raised the bar in terms of crossover electronica then Fujiya & Miyagi have drop kicked their way to the top of the tree with this most special of records.
Can You Dig It?
Omar Rodriguez Lopez: Se Dice Bisonte No Bufalo
In 2003 Mars Volta‘s De-Loused in the Comatorium set new standards in commercial alt-rock. Subsequently the Volta’s songwriter’s in chief Cedric Bixler (vocals, big hair) and Omar Rodriguez (guitars, production, bigger hair) have ploughed their jazz rock fusion furrow regardless of critical or mainstream appeal. SDBNB is the latter’s third solo voyage into the land of noodle and rather sadly, and inevitably, while there’s the usual spatterings of barnstorming riffs and bombastic time signatures, there’s little here to shake the foundations that was evident in the Volta’s debut or even follow-ups Frances the Mute or 2006’s Amputechture, for all the components are if anything predictable – a quality which these very statements of artistic endeavour rally against.
That said 11-minute centre-piece Please Heat This Eventually carries enough fret-board ingenuity and moog navigation to get the average Mahavishnu Orchestra fan wetting the seat if his tight pantaloons.
Bixler adds his trademark strain to the title track (a spidery ballad akin to The Widow) and Rapid Fire Tollbooth (a Blaxploitation guitar feast of wah and fuzz), but unfortunately Omar’s reliance on dusty atmospherics and studio found sounds hampers the pace resulting too often in a void desperate to be filled.
Happy Mondays: Uncle Dysfunktional
Imagine Richard Dreyfuss Jaws-style gutting the swollen carcass of Shaun William Ryder. Along with every form of intoxicant known to man, there would surely be more filth than the entirety of Manchester’s sewage system. And some 15 years since the debacle that was Yes Please! and countless side projects later Ryder and his beastly bunch return to reclaim their nasty crown. Every inch of Uncle… is dripping with back-alley grime; from the scuzzy production, expletive-ridden lyrics and as if to re-affirm their reputation the sex toy gremlin depicted on the cover. Quite simply Ryder makes Irvine Welsh novels read like Jack & Jill.
Musically all things Mondays are intact – loose, funky-gibbon rhythms (Jellybean), swaggering riffs (check Angels & Whores‘ jiggling, lascivious banjo), club stonk (Anti-Warhol on the Dancefloor) and slurring street poetry (Deviant) trades with sunshine gospel harmonies (Dr Dick).
Sure there’s the usual colostomy bag of filler, but for the most part Uncle Dysfunktional is one big, oozing dirty monster.
Prince: Planet Earth
It’s almost inevitable that furore proceeding Prince‘s revolutionary idea to toss out his 46th record (24th official studio release) with the Sunday Mail will somewhat overshadow Planet Earth‘s musical content.
But any notion that this ‘freebie’ is a reflection of poor quality deposited within is rendered obsolete after one quick spin where his Royal Badness displays his trademark effortless fusion of pop, rock, jazz and soul.
Three killer cuts find the diminutive genius at the top of is game; Guitar is a one lick ode to his one true love, Somewhere Here On Earth is a Parade-era piano-led pearler while Chelsea Rogers is a brassy, sassy swinger guaranteed to be shaking the O2 to it’s foundations during Prince’s 21 night residency. Sure, this aint Sign O’ The Times, but if you were ever in doubt Prince still reigns supreme as the King of Pop.