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FAR EAST FAMILY BAND

Psychedelic/Space Rock • Japan


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Far East Family Band biography
This is a legendary Japanese band, the first line-up included the known synthesizer player KITARO. The FAR EAST FAMILY BAND released a lot of records in the Seventies and Eighties, they sound quite unique (an Eastern sound) with echoes from PINK FLOYD.

The first album "The Cave Down To Earth" from '74 is mostly recommended, it has a spacey and slight psychdelic sound (like early PINK FLOYD) and contains ethnic elements which gives the music an original twist. Another fine album is "Nipponjin" ('75) with a keyboard version of FAR OUT's "Nihonjin" (FAR OUT was the precursor of FEFB). It's in the vein of the debut-album, the climates ranges from bombastic to more mellow. The album "Parallel World" was produced by the famous electronic pioneer KLAUS SCHULZE.

See also:
- Far Out

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TenkujinTenkujin
Phoenix Records 2011
Audio CD$8.50
$22.08 (used)
Parallel WorldParallel World
Phoenix Records 2010
Audio CD$20.57
$19.60 (used)
Cave Down to the EarthCave Down to the Earth
Phoenix Records 2010
Audio CD$18.19
$15.75 (used)
NipponjinNipponjin
Phoenix Records 2009
Audio CD$19.89
$14.99 (used)
the cave down to the earth LPthe cave down to the earth LP
PHOENIX
Vinyl$25.00 (used)
Chikyuu Kuudou SetsuChikyuu Kuudou Setsu
Import
Disk Union Japan 2009
Audio CD$296.90
$55.36 (used)
Nipponjin LP (Vinyl Album) UK Phoenix 2012Nipponjin LP (Vinyl Album) UK Phoenix 2012
Phoenix
Vinyl$28.00
Tagen Uchuu He No TabiTagen Uchuu He No Tabi
Import
Disk Union Japan 2009
Audio CD$58.32 (used)
tenkujin LPtenkujin LP
ALL EARS
Vinyl$35.00 (used)
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FAR EAST FAMILY BAND discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

FAR EAST FAMILY BAND top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.49 | 31 ratings
The Cave Down To The Earth
1975
3.60 | 52 ratings
Nipponjin
1975
4.17 | 84 ratings
Parallel World
1976
3.08 | 24 ratings
Tenkujin
1977

FAR EAST FAMILY BAND Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

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FAR EAST FAMILY BAND Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Tenkujin by FAR EAST FAMILY BAND album cover Studio Album, 1977
3.08 | 24 ratings

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Tenkujin
Far East Family Band Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by stefro
Prog Reviewer

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

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 Parallel World by FAR EAST FAMILY BAND album cover Studio Album, 1976
4.17 | 84 ratings

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Parallel World
Far East Family Band Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

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.

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 The Cave Down To The Earth by FAR EAST FAMILY BAND album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.49 | 31 ratings

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The Cave Down To The Earth
Far East Family Band Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

3 stars A competent and enjoyable space rock album from Japan, The Cave Down to the Earth is a great showcase for guitarists Fumio Miya[&*!#]a and Hirohito Fukushima, whose low-key riffing and trading of solos show a more subtle touch than is usual for space rock. Combining the pacidity and tranquility of the Floydian end of space rock with the fuzzed-out tones of Hawkwind, the band create a distinctive sound which is entertaining enough, though isn't quite enough to secure them a place in the space rock pantheon on the strength of this particular recording. A high three stars which could have got a fourth star if the compositions had just been a little bit tighter.

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 Nipponjin by FAR EAST FAMILY BAND album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.60 | 52 ratings

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Nipponjin
Far East Family Band Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by Einsetumadur
Prog Reviewer

2 stars 4.5/15P.: a somewhat boring Pink Floyd copy with many Mellotrons and guitar ballads which doesn't flatline due to the Pink Floyd cloning, but due to a lack of energy and authenticity

To be honest, I'm utterly disappointed by this album. This is an album which was mixed by Klaus Schulze and on which three persons play keyboards (one of them is Kitaro, whose New Age records I enjoy quite a lot). Perhaps the music is intense and captivating at a wavelength that I do not get, but merely 5 or 6 minutes fascinate me. The rest is utter boredom.

You might ask yourself why I judge that drastically about this record, especially regarding the mostly positive reviews here. Well, the key problem - in my opinion - is (as always) that there is more style than substance here. In fact, the band desperately wants to be Pink Floyd, but copying Pink Floyd's sound is a hazardous affair, and this attempt went horribly wrong.

In fact, the album consists of a) slow ballads with predictable chord progressions, bad English vocals and worn-out guitar solos and b) short Kitaro pieces with atmospheric sounds. And each piece is pervaded by these awful chirping synthesizer sounds. I don't object to chirping synthesizer sounds, but it's the same sound which appears in nearly every song, and it must have sounded horribly dated even in 1975. The whole attitude reminds me quite a lot of German psychedelic rock la Eloy, but there are just too few moments that are satisfying.

The album begins with Nipponjin, the 18 minutes long title track, and it actually starts out fine with the aforementioned chirping noises, electric sitar and a slow floor tom rhythm: nothing special, but (as in Close to the Edge) promising. After three minutes or so we move into a slow 4/4 ballad (one of many), stuffed with Mellotron strings and with accent-laden, but at that point still listenable vocals. In fact it's a nice vocals melody which rescues the whole affair. Inbetween we get a guitar solo which is really decent, but when the vocals enter again that strange accent cannot be ignored. Why didn't they sing everything in Japanese? It would be more authentic and a more exotic experience to listen to it. Nonetheless this part has a certain charme, especially at the places when the vocals are double-tracked. Yes, the first 7 minutes are guite okay, but from this moment on things deteriorate: guitar noodling on a one-chord-background, chirping sounds and more chirping sounds, leading into a pointless Mellotron break. Nice sounds, but with no direction. The end of the piece resembles the blues rock part of Pink Floyd's "Echoes", but adds a Japanese mantra. This is not a bad idea, but the music is so unexciting. The few seconds solo Mellotron in the end are at least a well-done ending.

The Cave is not too different: Hammond organs in the vein of Rick Wright, but to a funkier rhythm. The middle part goes into a fast rhythm which is close to creating a dense sound (including a sweet Moog solo), but I miss the authenticity and straightforward "psychedelia in your face" attitude of, for instance, German Krautrock bands. The Far East Family Band is too diffident in what it does.

Kitaro delivers three electronic miniatures here. Undiscovered Northern Land could be my favorite piece on this record since it really creates its own sonic world. The Asian bamboo flute appears as a lead instruments, accompanied by creepy Mellotron choirs, wind sounds and other keyboards. The God Of Water has the same wind sounds, but nothing happens here except for some guitar notes in the background which sound like they have reached the master tape via leakage of a malfunctioning tape machine. The God of Wind features a fast drum rhythm and one Hammond organ chord which is sustained through the whole piece. It ends where it has started and, er, that's it - again.

The remaining two miniatures can be regarded as the intro to Mystery of Northern Space, the intended final epic of the album. Movin' Lookin' is, essentially, recitation of solemn words, heavy with meaning, with lots of chirping sounds again whilst Yamato is most annoying with obtrusive 'wa wa wawawa' vocals. Mystery of Northern Space finally is another guitar-heavy ballad with soaring guitars, and the standard chord progression (A-G-F-E) is maintained from the first to the last second. A small string section in the end brings slight diversification, but cannot change the fact that the piece lacks substance.

Timeless is uninteresting in a different way: no standard chord progressions here, but rather a standard blues riff. Okay, Mellotron strings from time to time add some texture, but nothing's happening in this piece either.

River of Soul (E-G-A-E, for those who want to jam along with the piece), one of the longer tracks on this album, is slightly better. The bamboo flute is present again and the Mellotron choirs are a pleasant listen, as well. Of course, the composition isn't really stunning, but this is the only piece which is perfectly listenable from the beginning to the end, including some beautiful moments that raise a little smile when you listen to it.

Don't get me wrong: I listen to quite a lot of music, and there are even certain David Guetta pieces which I like quite a lot, and David Guetta pieces are 100% bland in terms of chord progressions. But when the chords aren't too elaborate, the songs need to have a great arrangement, or a good melody, or something different which grabs my attention. "Careful With That Axe Eugene" has just one chord, and in spite of this every second captivates me fully. But this album simply lacks inspiration, at least in my opinion. Actually, the source of (good) music should be the musician himself, his thoughts/feelings/etc, music should be authentic self-expression - and he shouldn't care if the musical idea which he has in a certain moment sounds like his idol or doesn't. This album leers at the British psychedelic rock scene all the way through - but forgets to cast a spell on the listener. Since there are many people who appreciate this album very much I apprehend that it's most probably me who doesn't get the music, but there's too little going on in a time of nearly 55 minutes. So, not more than 2 stars due to the many boring moments, and (in turn) not less than 2 stars because of the pleasant moments in "Nipponjin", "Undiscovered Northern Land" and "River of Soul".

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 Parallel World by FAR EAST FAMILY BAND album cover Studio Album, 1976
4.17 | 84 ratings

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Parallel World
Far East Family Band Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by Sinusoid
Prog Reviewer

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.

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 Parallel World by FAR EAST FAMILY BAND album cover Studio Album, 1976
4.17 | 84 ratings

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Parallel World
Far East Family Band Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by friso
Prog Reviewer

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.

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 Parallel World by FAR EAST FAMILY BAND album cover Studio Album, 1976
4.17 | 84 ratings

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Parallel World
Far East Family Band Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by stefro
Prog Reviewer

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

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 Nipponjin by FAR EAST FAMILY BAND album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.60 | 52 ratings

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Nipponjin
Far East Family Band Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by Sinusoid
Prog Reviewer

3 stars The archetype of space prog. A lofty title for a virtually unknown Japanese sextet.

NIPPONJIN has every element you want out of a psychedelic prog effort; loads of mellotron, lots of jamming, a few buzzing lead guitar figures, stable rhythm section and long epic pieces. NIPPONJIN has all of these but also has a few small transitions that merely stall for the next big song. There are five major songs here; the title epic, ''The Cave'', ''Timeless'', ''River of Soul'' and ''Mystery of Northern Space''.

''Nipponjin'' the epic is the major highlight of the album as the speed and dynamics of the piece vary throughout. It is the final theme that is the most captivating as it is as intense as the album will get. ''Timeless'' has a distinguishable guitar line and the vocal figures of the ''The Cave'' hit the right spots. Unfortunately, this has to be one of the worst produced albums I've ever heard; the production is all over the place with ''River of Soul'' sounding like the inside of a urinal.

If you haven't had enough of a psychedelic fix, come here if you can get your hands on it. It lacks power that Nektar and Eloy have, but good enough of a psych/prog album to be kept in the back of your mind.

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 Parallel World by FAR EAST FAMILY BAND album cover Studio Album, 1976
4.17 | 84 ratings

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Parallel World
Far East Family Band Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by snobb
Special Collaborator 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.

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 Nipponjin by FAR EAST FAMILY BAND album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.60 | 52 ratings

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Nipponjin
Far East Family Band Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by octopus-4
Special Collaborator RIO/Avant/Zeuhl Team

4 stars This is my second taste of FEFB and was a surprise.

There are not the krautrock athmospheres of parallel words. The album opens with a long song whose introduction is folky (in the Japanese sense) but later turns to Floydian when the singing arrives. The 3rd part of this quite epic song has a good even if not exceptional guitar riff. I think "not exceptional" is because Gilmour would have been perfect on this base. Good because it is psychedelic/bluesy enough, at least for my tastes. Some gimmicks "a la Vangelis" contribute to the track's mood. Acoustic string instruments (a sitar? a japanese folk instrument?) take the place of the guitar and this is another section. The "folky" part proceeds until singing is back. This part makes me think to Uriah Heep or to early Eloy, even if the tempo is, of course, slower. All this is NIPPONJIN.

THE CAVE starts with "winds" and keyboard. I was expecting to hear the bass of Set the controls of the heart of the sun...well, it's not that song, but should FEFB perform it in Pompeii nobody will say it's a scandal. The keyboard parts, in particular, are very close to Richard Wright's sounds. The second part of the song is driven by bass and drums. it's a completely different song. A descendant sequence of bass notes reminds clearly to Astronomy domine, even if the guitar part could have been used as soundtrack for a western movie. The last two minutes are again different. They are now very close to Eloy, also in the sound.

The B side of the vynil starts with 3 minutes of Krautrock. You can stil hear Japanese melodies (the flute), but if you told me that this was a Tangerine Dream's song I would have believed. This is called UNDISCOVERED NORTHERN LAND. Effectively, if you think to the track's title, it gives you the idea. This fades into FATELESS. Also this appears to be Floydian, but I hear some reminds to Italian prog. Probably just a coincidence even if RPI is quite appreciated in Japan.

THE GOD OF WATER is a short interlude followed by RIVER OF SOUL. This is a typical Kitaro song. I like Kitaro also in his newage most recent shape, so I really like this relaxing track.

Another two minutes interlude, THE GOD OF WIND, then MOVIN LOOKIN and YAMATO.Very short tracks but withsomething to say. They are short because they have to be so. There's a touch of Canterbury here (Caravan).

Finally MISTERY OF NORTHERN SPACE is another very enjoyable Floydian track. Please note that when I say Floydian, I don't mean that they are copying. They are probably inspired and influenced, but their music is original. 4.5 stars really.

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