BUNKR – The Initiation Well

It’s no coincidence that the first track on the debut album by Brighton’s BUNKR is titled ‘East Of Eden’, for its creator is named James Dean. Drifting forward on a serene topography of heat-haze, gauzy pads and gently-accelerating synth sprinkles, ‘East Of Eden’ is a delicate, purposeful move that ushers in a brilliantly diverse collection of nine finely-crafted electronic opuses.

From the processed vocal melodies of the spacey ‘Docking Procedure’ onwards, this is a record that neatly fuses together Dean’s interest in vintage kit with the gridded framework of techno. 4/4 beats are omnipresent throughout the album, but the resourceful Dean finds ample space within those rhythmic strictures to play with convention. The standout ‘Solar Wings’ is case in point, offering a beatific melodic poignancy over shuddering percussion that nods to the epochal ‘Spastik’ before emotive bass patterns carry the piece off into evocative, widescreen territory. Dean does something similar with the haunting closing track, ‘Rheasilvian Lakes’, delivering an atmospheric, many-layered piece that concludes with the eerie sound of distant rainfall.

Perhaps the biggest surprise here is the beatless ‘Solar Drift’, whose shimmering, tentative astral melodic counterpoints evoke sepia-tinged recollections of early electronic classical LPs, while the gently-evolving, evocative title track is nothing short of a mesmeric, understated wonder to behold.

The Initiation Well by BUNKR was released September 6 2019 by VLSI Records.

Words: Mat Smith

(c) 2019 Further.

Inside Tracks & New Remixes: Fujiya & Miyagi – Flashback

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Fujiya & Miyagi by Olly Hearsey.

Brighton quartet Fujiya & Miyagi’s latest album, Flashback, was released in May. Containing some of the group’s finest electro- and funk-inflected songs, Flashback covered everything from a political character assassination, self-importance and reflections on our collective (and absurd) paranoia that we might miss out. Further. spoke to the band’s guitarist and vocalist David Best about the tracks on Flashback and the often serious personal concerns and reminiscences that lie behind his deftly humorous lyrics.

Today we’re also premiering the latest two remixes of tracks from Flashback. Following on from Vince Clarke’s mix of ‘Fear Of Missing Out’ and W. H. Lung’s new version of the title track, the new latest mixes come from Shakedown and BUNKR. Shakedown’s robust re-rendering of album highlight ‘For Promotional Use Only’ gives the track an urgent insistency while BUNKR tap into acid house nostalgia on their new version of ‘Personal Space’. Listen to both mixes below.

Flashback

Part of getting older is spending more time remembering when you were younger. Both myself and Steve Lewis from Fujiya & Miyagi are similar ages so we both grew up in the early 80s where our childhoods were soundtracked by electro. It was all over the top 40. I think subconsciously the music that you hear in your youth becomes important later on in life, although it’s natural to initially turn away from it.

I was jealous of my neighbour’s Nike windcheater. I used offcuts of kitchen linoleum to spin on my back poorly. I briefly spray painted really bad graffiti on portacabins. I pretended I was from somewhere that I wasn’t.

‘Flashback’ is a nostalgic look to a less complicated time with no responsibilities. It’s also about the odd fragments of memories that stay with you. Often these appear inconsequential but are impossible to shift and frequently come back to me in times of stress or anxiety.

Personal Space

This takes the underlying anxiety of ‘Flashback’ and adds a layer of claustrophobia on top. Inspired by James Brown’s 70s one-chord vamps, updated to incorporate aspects of electro and finished off by a middle-aged man struggling with being bombarded with technology and other people sitting too close to him in enclosed spaces in Taiwan.

For Promotional Use Only

‘For Promotional Use Only’ is about trying to do the most with the least possible. This is possibly my favourite song on the album. My friend described it as a song to listen to while rollerskating at a disco, which is a nice image.

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Fear Of Missing Out

This has a 70s West African feel to it, hinting at William Onyeabor. It then morphs into a paranoid disco outro. Lyrically it has parallels to the end section of ‘Personal Space’. By always wanting your life to be better it’s easy to forget what you have that’s worth having. I was unsure whether to use such a relatively new and ubiquitous phrase but I wanted to cement the album in the present while being informed by the past.

Subliminal

This is a reworking of our song ‘Subliminal Cuts’. It was inspired by a Columbo episode ‘Double Exposure’ from 1973. We reversed our old song ‘In One Ear’, cut it up, and wrote a new one on top. It’s an idea stolen from David Bowie’s Lodger album.

Dying Swan Act

‘Dying Swan Act’ refers to a phrase my parents would say whenever myself or my sister were being a bit pathetic. This song was initially inspired by the origins of disco rap, hence its simplicity both lyrically and musically. It has a dissonant guitar line that also links it too ‘Fear Of Missing Out’.

Gammon

It’s hard to ignore the split in opinion in the UK so I thought we should address it. I know nobody would listen to Fujiya & Miyagi for our political insight but morally I felt I wanted it to be known where I stood. It’s easy to oversimplify the reasons why people want to leave the EU. Being a racist is definitely one of them, though. I also wanted to poke fun at the other side of the argument. It’s easy to take the moral high ground without seeing the reasons for why we got to this point.

Interview: Mat Smith

Flashback by Fujiya & Miyagi is out now on Impossible Objects Of Desire. Read the Further. review here.

(c) 2019 Further.