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Far Out - Nihonjin CD (album) cover

NIHONJIN

Far Out

 

Psychedelic/Space Rock

3.81 | 46 ratings

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Proghead
Prog Reviewer
4 stars The history of FAR EAST FAMILY BAND is awfully confusing. I hear at least three different stories about this band that aren't correct. All of them saying that FAR OUT became the FAR EAST FAMILY BAND. In reality, they were two separate bands, with Fumio Miyashita being the only member in common with both bands. But the FAR OUT album is included in the FAR EAST FAMILY BAND catalog because it would get lost if placed elsewhere, sorta like Organization's Tone Float being placed under the KRAFTWERK category. FAR OUT consisted of: Fumio Miyashita: guitar, vocals, keyboards / Kei Ishikawa: bass, electric sitar / Eiichi Sayu: guitars / Manami Arai: drums Kei Ishikawa eventually moved to California to form a band called CHRONICLE, and of course, Fumio Miyashita found new musicians (including someone by the name of Masanori Takahashi, who we all know as the infamous New Age star of the '80s and '90s, better known as Kitaro) which became FAR EAST FAMILY BAND. The FAR OUT album, sometimes called "Nihonjin" consists of only two side-length cuts. Think of the FAR EAST FAMILY BAND sound in a more primitive setting, without the elaborate synth sounds of "Parallel World", with the only synths being the occasional sound effects, with the guitar and electric sitar being the most predominate instruments. The album starts off with "Too Many People", where you hear this strange percussion, then lots of bizarre sound effects, before settling down with acoustic guitar and vocals. This section then goes in to ballad mood, with Fumio Miyashita singing some cheesy lyrics (meaning the guys barely had a grasp of the English language). Eventually you get treated with some heavier guitar passages. I hadn't quite warmed up to "Too Many People", although I like some of the great ideas found here. It's the second and final cut, "Nihonjin" that is nothing short of amazing! You might already know this piece from a version FAR EAST FAMILY BAND included on their "Nipponjin" album, it was that album's title track. That version had the likes of Kitaro and Akira Ito give the song the synth and Mellotron treatment. The original is exactly the same, but without the synths and Mellotrons. Comes to prove how the Mellotron and synths on the version of FEFB's "Nipponjin" were simply icing on the cake. I suspect FEFB simply used the original FAR OUT recording and have the synth guys (Akira Ita, Kitaro) add on those electronics. The German CD reissue on Buy or Die also includes several bonus cuts, all off FAR EAST FAMILY BAND's first actual album, "The Cave: Down to the Earth". All but two songs I am familiar already from "Nipponjin", except these are sung entirely in Japanese (while the versions off "Nipponjin" were mainly in English, guessing that FAR EAST FAMILY BAND were trying to do what PFM did for "Photos of Ghosts" and that is break in to the English language market). The only two songs I weren't familiar with was the cheesy pop ballad "Four Minds" and the luckily more interesting "Transmigration". The FAR OUT album is definately an album worth checking in to if you want to explore the roots of FAR EAST FAMILY BAND. Definately this is no "Parallel World", but then what is? But still recommended for those who curious of what the Japanese underground rock scene had to offer, and not to mention, Julian Cope actually likes this album a lot (although I find his opinions of it a bit overexaggerated).
Proghead | 4/5 |

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