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Far East Family Band

Psychedelic/Space Rock

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Far East Family Band Tenkujin album cover
3.18 | 47 ratings | 3 reviews | 9% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Studio Album, released in 1977

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Descension (2:05)
2. Tenkujin (5:11)
3. Timeless Phase (6:53)
4. Nagare (7:21)
5. From Far east (8:43)
6. Ascension (4:11)

Total Time: 34:24

Line-up / Musicians

- Fumio Miyashita / lead vocals, acoustic & electric guitars, synths (Teisco 100F, Hillwood SY 1800, Combo, Basky and Rockyboard, Korg 700S, Mellotron, Solina Strings Ensemble), bamboo flute, producer & mixing
- Hirohito Fukushima / electric guitar, koto, vocals
- Akira Fukakusa / bass
- Yujin Harada / drums, percussion

- Mitsuo Miyamoto / string arrangements

Releases information

Artwork: Paul Whitehead's "Tenkujin" painting

LP MU Land ‎- LX-7029-M (1977, Japan)

CD TRC Records ‎- TRC 053 (1995, Germany)
CD Columbia ‎- COCA-15239 (1998, Japan) Remastered (?)
CD Super Fuji Discs ‎- FJSP-86 (2010, Japan) Remastered (?)

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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FAR EAST FAMILY BAND Tenkujin ratings distribution

(47 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(9%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(35%)
Good, but non-essential (43%)
Collectors/fans only (13%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

FAR EAST FAMILY BAND Tenkujin reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Proghead
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.

Review by stefro
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
Review by Aussie-Byrd-Brother
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Rock Progressivo Italiano Team
3 stars The last hurrah for the Far East Family Band, a Japanese space/symphonic rock prog group active for a short period of a few years in the early to late Seventies, `Tenkujin' from 1977 was their fourth and final disc sung in both Japanese and English, and while the three works that came before it are far superior, it remains a very respectable and lovely LP with much to recommend it. Even though future new-age keyboard icon Kitaro had departed the band by this point, `Tenkujin' still offered plenty of the lengthy flowing keyboard-heavy spacey atmospheres, dreamy Pink Floyd-like guitar reaches and gentle ethnic elements the group was known for.

After an sedate yet experimental sound-collage of twitching electronics to introduce the album, the title-track `Tenkujin' launches straight into reaching glissando-like strains, skittering drumming over quickening programmed beats, chiming guitar shimmers and placid washes of deep-space synths wrapping around a plaintive lead vocal. The mellow `Timeless Phase' rather shamelessly borrows the chords and melodies of Pink Floyd's `Brain Damage', but there's also a pleasantly plodding quality that reminds of the similar Floydian laid-back moments of German band Jane throughout.

The second side's `Nagare' marries Sensations' Fix-like bleeding and whirring synth caresses over aching Camel-esque phasing guitar wisps, sweetly murmuring bass and a steady beat that turns frantic and racing in the final moments. `From Far East' is a softly bouncing and pleasing chill-out tune that grooves gently with swallowing bass and brisk drumming, slowly drifting into unhurried and softly stormy deep-space instrumental floating that reveals little traces of German group Novalis seeping out, in the way that the Far East Family Band always did so well. Gentle trilling Kitaro-like synth prettiness and dignified Mellotron choirs close the album on `Ascension', but some overly swooning orchestration that eventually enters the piece is completely unnecessary and overbearing.

The Far East Family Band are like groups such as Fruupp and Finch, bands that retain a nice compact run of consistently good albums from the vintage progressive rock era, some of which approach true greatness and are very special, much-loved works. They arrived and left before the rot of disco, punk and the over-commercialisation of so many progressive rock-related bands fully set in, which ensures the Far East Family Band have a perfectly satisfying and untarnished legacy , nicely wrapped up with the constantly lovely and humble `Tenkujin'.

Three stars.

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