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Far East Family Band - Tenkujin CD (album) cover


Far East Family Band

Psychedelic/Space Rock

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3 stars "Tenkujin" was the final album for FAR EAST FAMILY BAND. After the Klaus SCHULZE style of electronic experimentations of "Parallel World", the band decided to go back to the earlier sound, concentrating, once again, on ballads. A lot of reasons for that was KITARO left, embarking on his soon to be famous solo career. Akira Ito also left, also to embark on a solo career, but he ended up not being very well known in New Age circles. This is a trimmed down FAR EAST FAMILY BAND with guitarist/vocalist Fumio Miya[&*!#]a, guitarist Hirohito Fukushima, and bassist Akira Fukukusa. For a new drummer, they brought in Yujin Harada.

Yujin Harada was in a band called SAMURAI back in the late '60s and early '70s. Not to be confused with the UK band with the same name that featured future GREENSLADE guy Dave Lawson. This SAMURAI was a Japanese band that resided in London, with Tetsu Yamauchi (later of Free and Rod Stewart's Faces), as well as a few British musicians they recruited while staying in London (including Graham Smith on harmonica, he was later the violinist for STRING DRIVEN THING, and VAN DER GRAAF GENERATOR during their final days). This SAMURAI released an album in 1970 called "Green Tea" which is basically late '60s psych, with some prog leanings and the occasional Japanese influences.

Let's get back to "Tenkujin". This album had an American release on the small and short-lived California-based All Ears label, hoping to break them in the American market. Without KITARO and Akira Ito anymore, all synth duties were left to Fumio Miya[&*!#]a. The album opens up with a synth experiment called "Descension" before seguing in to the wonderful title track. This piece has vocals in Japanese, with great guitar and spacy synthesizers. "Timeless Phase" is a PINK FLOYD-like ballad with more than a passing resemblance to "The Dark Side of the Moon". It also features some cheesy strings that threw me off. "Nagare" and "From Far East" are more of the typical ballads found here, with the occasional Japanese influences (koto, shakuhachi). These songs are sung partly in English and in Japanese. Unfortunately the album bottoms out with the awful "Ascension". It's a rather cheesy instrumental piece sticking too close to that dreaded New Age style.

But the big reason for the three star rating is some of the music tends to drag on longer than needs to, and after you hear "Parallel World", you begin to wonder why the band returned to this earlier style. This is truly the album from FAR EAST FAMILY BAND you should worry last. Go get "Parallel World" without hesitation, then go for "Nipponjin" before you come here.

Report this review (#28088)
Posted Sunday, May 2, 2004 | Review Permalink
3 stars Often branded the poor cousin to the Far East Family Band's first three albums, 1977's 'Tenkujin'' - their final studio effort - has had a rather rough critical deal over the years, especially considering the fact that it furrows the same hazy cosmic path of it's predecessors. Just why is a question for debate, though the overall quality of the group's debut album 'The Cave Down To Earth' and its superb follow-ups 'Parallel Worlds' and 'Nipponjin' meant that the bar had been set extremely high. For 'Tenkujin' there would be no Klaus Schulze behind the mixing desk, instead replaced by group leader Fumio Miya[&*!#]a and his wife Linda, whilst the album also proved much shorter than all three of its predecessors, coming in at a rather snappy thirty-five minutes. However, despite these minor glitches, 'Tenkujin' still remains a fine album. All the ingredients that made 'Parallel Worlds' and 'Nipponjin' so good are here - woozy synthesizers, ghostly percussion, cosmic sound effects, wailing psychedelic guitars - with the beautifully-wrought 'Timeless Phase' and the eight-minute mini- epic 'From Far East' the obvious stand-outs. Yes, it doesn't reach the same exulted heights of the groups previous material, but to chastise 'Tenkujin' as a result is a mistake. This is a warm and woozy slice of Japanese space-rock, created by the country's premier exponents of such things, and any Far East Family Band fan who is yet to experience the synthesized soundscapes of this highly-relaxing album is urged to grab a copy any way they can. So, don't believe the hype on this one folks; just like its brothers and sisters this member of the Far East Family Band is well worth the price of admission. STEFAN TURNER, STOKE NEWINGTON, 2013
Report this review (#930283)
Posted Friday, March 15, 2013 | Review Permalink

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