Music Collection – Fujiya & Miyagi
Frontman David Best on his love for E.S.G., Donna Summer, Can, Terry Riley, The Units, The Beta Band and others
Ahead of Fujiya & Miyagi’s Irish shows next week, frontman David Best has put together a list of tracks and albums which have influenced his music and outlook on music-making over the years, as well as a new mix of what he’s currently listening to. Fujiya & Miyagi play Hangar, Dublin on Friday November 13 with support from Everything Shook (tickets here) and Roisin Dubh, Galway on November 14.
(1) Donna Summer “I Feel Love (Patrick Cowley Mix)”
To my mind, the greatest song ever written. It morphs arguably my two favourite types of music, electronic and soul. It still feels futuristic to these ears. I’ve chosen the Patrick Cowley mix as I am a big fan of his music too, especially this and “I Need Somebody To Love Tonight” by Sylvester. There has also been some great soundtrack stuff by him unearthed recently which is worth hearing if you haven’t yet.
(2) E.S.G “Moody”
If there was a blueprint for our group’s sound, a large chunk of it would come from E.S.G. Nothing is there thats not needed. There is a lot of space left in their music which i like a lot. There is always the tendency to overcook songs but often the more layers the less distinct the elements become.
(3) Can “Vitamin C”
A pretty obvious choice of group and song, but this still really resonates with me. When I was 15 or 16, I had a tape with “Ege Bamyasi” on one side and “Future Days” on the other. I used to go to sleep to this. I would stay awake long enough to flip the tape over from “Ege Bamyasi” to “Future Days”. This went on for around 18 months – so much so that I seldom listen to Can now, I just dial them up on my internal jukebox. Still my favourite group ever.
(4) Aphex Twin “Alberto Balsalm”
When I started making music with Steve from the group, we went back to stay in a granny annex attached to his parents’ house in Chelmsford. We did this so we could save up for a sampler. We worked nights in the post office then, in a cold storage place, moving yogurts around. This song was from that era. Aphex’s melodies are second to none.
(5) Kraftwerk “Computer Love”
This is probably Kraftwerk’s most beautiful song – it can even survive being disemboweled by Coldplay. It’s precise and synthetic, but still has a lot of heart. Normally I prefer music that keeps its rough edges on show, but sometimes perfection works too.
(6) The Beta Band “It’s Not Too Beautiful”
This group were really important to us when we began. They showed that it was possible to have a hybrid of guitars and electronics and that you didn’t have to be solely doing techno or solely doing guitar songs. I don’t think they got the credit they deserved.
(7) Dinosaur “Kiss Me Again”
It seems no musicians’ list is complete without something by Arthur Russell on it nowadays. It’s a shame he didn’t get this much recognition in his lifetime. I love his disco stuff and his quieter stuff equally. His music has a way of absorbing itself into your skin. This is one of his disco numbers. What I like about his stuff is that it is seldom mean spirited. It’s pretty positive. but not in a happy clappy sort of way. It has real depth to it.
(8) Jamie Principle “Your Love”
The backing track is probably more famous for the Candi Staton mash-up which was subsequently squawked and pecked to death by Florence and the Machine. The original gives me the same feeling that the Dinosaur or Donna Summer songs do. I find it hard to explain what it is i love about this so much. It must be the combination of electronics and the human voice. There’s such a purity to it.
(9) The Units “Warm Moving Bodies”
I’m quite into a lot of the synth punk groups that came from San Francisco or LA, groups like The Screamers and The Units. They obviously have a little bit in common with Devo and Pere Ubu. Again, what attracts me to all of these groups is the way they incorporate electronics into their music without it being overly slick. In some cases, it’s pretty brutal. But I think music suffers from over production, it sucks the life out of it. If you iron out all of creases, what you’re left with is going to be flat.
(10) Terry Riley “In The Summer”
I adore Terry Riley’s music and this is probably my favourite of all the amazing music he has made. It’s almost proto-My Bloody Valentine. I’ve found that I listen to one type of music for a large chunk of my life then move onto something else. I listened to Terry Riley pretty much exclusively in the nine months before my first son, Riley, was born. It’s perfect music for waiting, it almost stops time. Now I am a lot busier so I am propelled by Devo and Husker Du. I’m looking forward to the time when this swaps back around again.
The Fujiya & Miyagi autumn mixcloud