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Far East Family Band - Parallel World CD (album) cover


Far East Family Band

Psychedelic/Space Rock

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5 stars This is without a doubt the best album FAR EAST FAMILY BAND has ever done. Unlike other albums where the band focused mainly on ballads influenced by PINK FLOYD, on "Parallel World" they decided to merge the prog rock style of the time with electronic music in the vein of Klaus SCHULZE. And just like their previous album, "Nipponjin", this album was also produced by SCHULZE, and you could swear he actually played on the album (he didn't). All the synth duties here are Fumio Miya[&*!#]a (who also played guitar and sang), Akira Ito, and Masanori Takasaki (who we all know as the future New Age star of the '80s and '90s, that is KITARO).

For "Parallel World", the band went to England to record at Richard Branson's Manor Studios to strike a deal with Virgin Records. Unfortunately Virgin rejected the album (their loss), so it was left released only in Japan (with two different album covers, depending what you got, mines is the lesser known one with the peering eyes cover). About these two different album covers, I am unable to determine if what I own is a reissue, but probably is. Let's say this new electronic direction for the band was an excellent move as they produced their ultimate masterpiece. Here you get "Metempsychosis" which shows the band in a more experimental setting, complete with synth drones and percussion. "Entering" and "Times" will fool you for SCHULZE's own works, Shizuo Takasaki's drumming often reminds me of Harald Großkopf (WALLENSTEIN member who was often found playing on SCHULZE's albums), and it's packed with same kind of space electronic effects found on a SCHULZE album. It's the presence of guitar (from Fumio Miya[&*!#]a and Hirohito Fukushima) that separates this from a SCHULZE album. Then you have "Kokoro", which harkens back to their earlier works. This is basically a slow ballad, sung in Japanese that could easily fit on "The Cave: Down to the Earth". This is the only song like this on "Parallel World".

And then you get the 30 minute title track that is just so amazing that it totally justifies the five star rating I give this album! Here the band goes on a lengthy jam, with the Akira Fukakusa's bass dominating with tons of killer synths, lots of great spacy string synths and Moog. After about halfway through this piece, the bass and drums gives away to straigh-up synth experiments. Somewhere you hear some chanting and references to Zen Buddhism. There are some truly mindblowing use of Mellotron that pop up on occasions, and this one synth solo I am pretty sure none other than KITARO is responsible for. I can't believe this album, it's hard to believe that a guy whose later music is often dismissed as New Age fluff (KITARO, that is) is on this album. Truly a wonderful album and if the description of this album sounds good to you, find a copy.

Report this review (#28087)
Posted Sunday, May 2, 2004 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars 4,5 stars

Clearly the most accomplished album from the band. A summit of Japanese cosmic rock, an impressive aerial electronic cosmic spacerock with obvious Klaus Shultze influences, such as the synthe sound and the rhythmic pulse. The drum is also reminiscent of Nick Mason's play, but it's the weakest instrument on a technical level. It doesn't spoil the beauty of the music, especially the very long eponym piece. A must!

Report this review (#109320)
Posted Monday, January 29, 2007 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
4 stars There are two albums from this band that are absolutely must haves for anyone who is into Krautrock or Psychedelic / Spacerock music. There's this one called "Parallel World", and the other is the only album they put out under their original incarnation called FAR OUT. I prefer the latter for it's killer guitar, while this one is more trippy with plenty of electronics and influence from producer Klause Schulze.

"Metempsychosis" opens with the sound of the wind blowing as drums come in and a catchy beat with them. Spacey sounds arrive before 3 minutes. "Entering" is a 16 minute track dominated by spacey sounds. We get some mellotron in this one, and the first 5 minutes are mellow and drifting. Some vocal sounds before we finally get a beat 6 minutes in led by drums and bass. The dreamy sounds continue though,and we get some synths shooting around 10 minutes in. The drumming sounds great after 11 minutes. The song explodes 14 minutes in as cosmic debris is falling everywhere.

"Kokoro" is a slow moving song with Japanese vocals, mellotron and spacey sounds. The guitar 3 1/2 minutes in is a highlight as it simply soars as a full sound arrives. Nice. The melancholic melody is back 5 minutes in before the guitar and a powerful soundscape closes out the song in an amazing way. The final track "Parallel World" clocks in at over 30 minutes. This song is a trip filled with spacey sounds, some spoken words, bass, synths, mellotron and drums leading the way. Maybe you have to be into Krautrock and Psychedelic music to appreciate how incredible this song is. It's a ride, just like the picture on the front cover of the album.

Easily 4 stars but i'm sure to many this is a 5 star record.

Report this review (#145868)
Posted Thursday, October 18, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars This album sounds like a combination of Klaus Schulze and Pink Floyd, which is not a bad thing! The vocals are few and far between here. Mostly we get far out trippy psychedelic music with a definite electronic bent to it. Highly recommended to fans of Psychedelic or Electronic music or Krautrock.
Report this review (#173993)
Posted Sunday, June 15, 2008 | Review Permalink
Avant/Cross/Neo/Post Teams
5 stars I wonder if this work should be an occasional product or their real answer for Japanese psychedelic rock.

Please deliberate on what I've mentioned above for listening to Japanese psychedelic rock. This Parallel World was released in 1976, just the same year (or a year later) BRAST BURN's Debon was released. Nobody knows if Debon could influence on this work or not, but Parallel World produced and mixed by Klaus Schulze (a Krautrocker) is one of the pioneers of Japanese Krautrock genre without any suspicion. Around this work, on the basis, there are dry electronic wind, chorus and voices with hoarseness, plaintive and melancholic melodies - that can remind us OKURASHOTEN (Ege Bamyasi by CAN) - shot by Fumio Miyasita or Masanori Takahashi, two multi-players. (Anyway, they've got to be famous Japanese musical healers and I consider their origin should be here.) Of course there is an exceptional song like Kokoro, with typical Japanese pop or enka flavour plus slight electronic psychedelia. However basically Metempsychosis has exotic percussive sounds with spacey electronic noises, and in the next Entering / Times, spiritual space riffs with heavy keyboard and rhythm section, following over four minute stardust chandelier. These sounds and styles should be, in my opinion, not occasional products. (For example, those by SHINKI CHEN can be called as junkie products and therefore they should be lazy and slack - ah, no doubt I feel good as well.) FAR EAST FAMILY BAND did construct them with their rigid intention and purpose...I always feel. The last suite Parallel World is absolutely suitable for the signboard of Japanese Krautrock. Strict, rhythmical and palpable sounds produced with electric guitars, keyboards, and percussion can push us into far east psychedelic scene.

There is no gloom or cloud in their strong policy for music. They should be a model of JAPAUTROCK. Okay?

Report this review (#230227)
Posted Thursday, August 6, 2009 | Review Permalink
RIO/Avant/Zeuhl,Neo & Post/Math Teams
4 stars This is not the first incursion of Klaus Schultze in Japan. He collaborated with Stomu Yamash'ta some years before. The influence of Krautrock is huge even if some parts, specially the long suite "Parallel World" contains a lot of typical Japanese sounds. This album has more contact points with other Japanese electronic specialists like Kitaro than with Pink Floyd or other Space/Psychedelic artists. Mainly in the opening track that reminds to the opening of Kitaro's "Dream".

I agree about calling it JAPAUTROCK, but I'd like to invent words like SUSHITRONIC.

Jokes apart, the 30 minutes suite is a masterpiece. An eastern answer to Tangerine Dream's "Zeit".

4.5 stars really.

Report this review (#284454)
Posted Tuesday, June 1, 2010 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars One of the greatest album of Japanese progressive rock (or at least - of that part of Japanese prog I heard). Light, cosmic-atmospheric-but not lightweight-combination of early Pink Floyd spacey sound, German kraut rock and early electronics.

Even if you can hear some recogniseable influentions in moments, the music in whole is original and has it's Japanese flavour, coming from Japanese folk tradition. Produced by Klaus Schulze, this album has strong touch of German early electronic, but this component is very organically incorporated in common album's side.

This sound could be labelled as "Japanese krautrock", but in fact it is more then just krautrock - spacey/psychedelic compositions are taken a big part of the album. Masanori Takasaki ( who will be a new age music star later under the name Kitaro) plays there as well.

It's difficul to describe this music - easy but serious listening, light, but no way commercial - strange and attractive mix of known sounds and techniques in new combination. Fresh till now - I think this album is one of the best entrance to Japanese progressive for newcomers.

Very recommended. My rating - 4,5 , rounded to 5.

Report this review (#287864)
Posted Tuesday, June 22, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars Imagine Gong eschewing their zany brand of psyched-out humour and teaming-up with Tangerine Dream and you have 1976's 'Parallel Worlds', the third album from legendary Japanese group Far East Family Band. And the Tangerine Dream link is not a tenuous one either; keyboardist and drummer Klaus Schulze, who appeared on Tangerine Dream's debut album 'Electronic Meditation before quitting the group and turning into one of the foremost innovators of early electronica, produced 'Parallel Worlds', lending his sonic signature sounds - ethereal synth washes, strange bleeps, mystical clicks and whirrs, primitive keyboard effects - to Far East Family Band's highly-psychedelic brand of cosmic rock. It would mark Schulze's second stint as producer for the group, his first coming a year earlier on the 'Nipponjin' album, but this time his influence appears much more pronounced. The album is made up of just four lengthy tracks, with the final, album-titled piece clocking in at the thirty-minute mark and featuring all the hallmarks of Schulze's early albums, as well as some intensely-trippy jamming from the band that drifts almost aimlessly through the space-rock haze without ever resorting to mundane repetition. 'Nipponjin' found the group attempting to hone and develop their prog/psych sound; 'Parallel World's' perfected it. Fans of Yatha Sidhra's 'A Meditation Mass', Tangerine Dream's 'Alpha Centauri' and 'Phaedra', Schulze's own material and Gong's 'You' should find this blissed-out slice of cosmic psychedelia right up their street. STEFAN TURNER, LONDON, 2011
Report this review (#379948)
Posted Friday, January 14, 2011 | Review Permalink
3 stars Far East Family Band - Parallel World (1976)

FEFB is a Japanese electronic, space-rock band with an minimalistic approach to progressive music. On 'Parallel World', the only album I own of this band (try to find their finals here in Holland...!) the band makes a semi-professional impression. The album is an hour long, and I think the sound must be a bit better on the cd-issue, my vinyl has little volume.

Far East Family Band experiments with an atmospheric approach to composition/improvisation. There's an emphasis on electronic keyboard equipment (with electronic Gong/Hawkwind-like loops and other effects), almost drum-machine like drums (with an unstoppable pulse on high-hat and patterns on toms). The music is repetitive, but the band manages to let most compositions evolve in a natural way. Albeit, a bit too slow for my tastes. The atmospheres are spacey, slightly psychedelic and sound-scape/soundtrack like. Now and then there's a moment with Japanese vocals and baths of mellotrons, but the song- writing doesn't seem to head anywhere. The band has three keyboard players, but I would wish there would have been some more involvement of the electric guitars.

To be honest with you all, this album didn't hit the right spot for me. The album has a duration of 60 minutes, but I think there's just 40 minutes of music here. A famous fantasy figure once stated; 'like butter stretched out on too much bread'. Having this said, I must say the atmosphere created (eventually) are definitely worthwhile and in some cases even exciting. Furthermore it's interesting to listen to a Japanese take on space-rock.

Conclusion. I'm afraid I'm going to be the first one to say that I think this album doesn't fully live up to it's reputation. It's decent progressive electronic music, but I can't find a lot of direction or intelligent design of the music. The sounds created are however fine and the music has a relaxing effect. A good addition to your international collection of progressive rock and excellent electronic music. Three and a halve stars for this one.

Report this review (#435092)
Posted Monday, April 18, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars Very well has the potential to be THE represenative of the site's ''Psychedelic/Space Rock'' sub- genre.

I was first exposed to Far East Family Band via NIPPONJIN, an album that I thought had a lot of potential but marred by relatively weak production and too many filler segues. Despite being longer than NIPPONJIN, PARALLEL WORLD seems to weed out filler. I believe Klaus Schulze is involved with the production of this album; I'm not familiar with his solo works, but in terms of FEFB albums, the production takes a quantum leap forward making PARALLEL WORLD far more enjoyable.

Most importantly, the psychedelic pieces flow well, as if time is going in slow motion as you listen (I want to say it's a goal psychedelic band strive for). The Floydian ''Kokoro'' is the only lagging track, but still enjoyable in the least. ''Metempsychosis'' sounds like more of a lead-in to ''Entering/Times'', but those two tracks sound better played consecutively. ''Entering/Times'' has that great climactic build that I am a complete sucker for, complete with hypnotically stellar drumming from Shizuo Takasaki.

The real treat is that title epic that runs for a half hour. It is an excellent piece of psychedelia, that sounds something like Tangerine Dream cross-pollenating with Eloy, but not an exact clone of either band. The first major guitar riff is the highlight moment of the pieces augmented when the vocals puncuate everything great that is going on musically. The trance inducing keyboard section at the end works as effectively as those Tangerine Dream moments of beauty.

FEFB push the most effective buttons here. PARALLEL WORLD is a stunningly wondrous work of psychedelic music that represents its genre quite effectively.

Report this review (#463035)
Posted Thursday, June 16, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars This bold and innovative album substantially improves on Far East Family Band's earlier style, presenting a space rock melange unlike nothing previously heard. With parts that sound like Tangerine Dream, other sections which call early Pink Floyd to mind, still more which resemble You-era Gong, and some which sound decades ahead of their time, the band produce an exceptional album which features some fantastic guitar work on the part of Fumio Miya[&*!#]a and Hirohito Fukushima, as well as the talents of no less than two dedicated keyboardists (Masanori Takahashi and Akira Ito), backed up by Fumio here and there when the synths need a little extra power. An excellent achievement.
Report this review (#552388)
Posted Tuesday, October 18, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars If there is a prog-band that embodies the whole spirit of this new merge of sub-genres, in a single record, (electronic/psychedelic/indo-raga/krautrock), it has to be (oddly) Japan's, Far East Family's 1979, release: "Parallel Worlds". But of course as great as this sounds alone, it is just part of what this record has to offer.

Their soberness in their psychedelic expression turns out quiet groundbreaking. Considering that this precisely, frees its songwriting from the average guitar's or keyboard's endless twisting and turnings, one usually expects to find in this kind of efforts.

Opposite to that , their slow paced psychedelic/spacy songwriting approach opens the door to something quiet more experimental sub-genre wise speaking. Therefore this work travels flowingly through very creative prog-lands and never ceasing to dare to go to others.

So expect an unusual blend of styles at its best. From the before mentioned spacy/psychedelia to some brief multinational forms to pure progressive electronic moments, which I myself enjoyed throughly, to other passages which are more in tune with Krautrock's raw melodical experimentations, singing in that kind of tone included.

A deep, slow paced, multi-shaped trip which is as bright and fresh as it is haunting.

****4 "This one stays home" PA stars!

PD please do not be fooled by the constant mention of the Floyd in this band's reviews. These guys have enough self musical language at this point, for such lame comparissons.

Thanks for having been invited to Prog Archive's PSIKE Team!

Report this review (#1340141)
Posted Sunday, January 4, 2015 | Review Permalink
4 stars 4.5: The third album by the Japanese band Far East Family Band. Always regarded as the first prog band from japan, it is a band pretty influenced by the experimental era of pink floyd and tangerine dreams. In fact, one of the things that make me get interested is the participation of Klaus Schulze as a mixer and producer, they met him in a trip in europe. Musically, is pretty good it has a classic space rock feeling mostly using the keyboards and synths to set the ambient and background of the music, one thing that I am grateful is that they have a direction in the music composition, because most of the space rock bands tends to only make jamming and thats it. About the vocals, I can only say that they go well and make the songs more enjoyable, although I can tell what they talk about, because they are in japanese. Finally, I really liked this album, this was too close for being a masterpiece but the first song (Metempsychosis) is not as good as the others, so sadly it is not consistent. An excellent addition to any prog collection and a must to have for any space rock fan.
Report this review (#2120346)
Posted Tuesday, January 22, 2019 | Review Permalink

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