“We were just pretending to be Japanese,” say Fujiya & Miyagi. Surprise! Fujiya (reference to the cult record player) and Miyagi (pop reference to Pat Morita’s Karate Kid character/racist stereotype) are three white men from Brighton, UK. Much like fellow Brits Hot Chip, they bring minimalist, poised electro with their ambiguous irony.
Fujiya & Miyagi cite Krautrock such as CAN and Neu! as influences. Certainly the German imprint is there in the album’s low-key, layered grooves and artful calculation. But Fujiya & Miyagi's style is more playful and light, lacking the aggression and grittiness of either CAN or Neu!. Rather, Transparent Things is preciously clever in the vein of a subtler LCD Soundsystem.
Despite their off-putting inclination towards composing entire albums of ironic racist and musical insider references, I enjoyed this record a great deal. Fujiya & Miyagi utilize their expansive musical vocabulary and impressive chops to cut some fabulous tracks, and their lightheartedness is charming. It’s a great record, but it would be a lot better if Fujiya & Miyagi were a little more race-conscious.