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Psychedelic/Space Rock • Japan

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Far Out biography
Formed in Japan in 1972 - Precursor to Far East Family Band (1975-1978)

This early 70's psychedelic Japanese quartet were more or less the precursors of The FAR EAST FAMILY BAND, guitarist/vocalist Fumio Miyashita being the only link between the two. Miyashita would later join other musicians on FEFB which included among their ranks Masanori Takahashi, better known as "Kitaro". Under the name FAR OUT, they released one album in 1973.

Although « Nihonjin » is definitely a spacey album, the keyboards are only prominent on the opening notes and the synths are used sparingly throughout, for the occasional sound effect. The psychedelic atmosphere comes mostly from the guitars, electric sitar and drums, resulting in a sound somewhat reminiscent of PINK FLOYD's "A Saucerful of Secrets". The original LP, replete with weird sound effects, consisted of two epic tracks clocking in at 18 and 20 minutes respectively. The 7 bonus tracks of the CD edition are actually taken from The FAR EAST FAMILY BAND's first album "The Cave Down to the Earth" and feature some Japanese vocals that turn out in English on "The Cave" album. These tracks also lack the spacey synths of the latter.

Recommended for fans of early PINK FLOYD, or simply for a taste of the early Japanese psych scene.

: : : Lise (HIBOU), CANADA : : :

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Buy FAR OUT Music

Far OutFar Out
Buy Or Die 2005
Phoenix Records 2009
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3.87 | 70 ratings

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FAR OUT Reviews

Showing last 10 reviews only
 Nihonjin by FAR OUT album cover Studio Album, 1973
3.87 | 70 ratings

Far Out Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams

4 stars While most of the psychedelic music of the 60s and 70s was a European and American affair oozing out of every nook and cranny of those continents, it's easy to forget that other nations like Japan had their own local scenes making an impact. FAR OUT was one of the many Japanese bands that took the influences of the English and American psychedelic scenes and added a new slant to them. FAR OUT only released one album "日本人 (Nihonjin)" (which means Japanese people), but continued on afterwards as Far East Family Band and not only released four more albums but was where Masanori Takahashi or better known as Kitaro got his start, so in effect FAR OUT is a pretty important band in the historical development of Japanese psychedelia and ambient music. The sole album of FAR OUT originally only contained two long sprawling tracks indicative of the excessive prog scene of the year 1973 when "日本人 (Nihonjin)" was released with ties not only to the heavy psych of the 60s but found themselves heavily smitten with the likes of Pink Floyd and other more progressive psychedelic and Indo-raga bands. While many of these bands were going for the jugular in terms of complexity was concerned FAR OUT took a much gentler approach and composed two lengthy tracks that utilized serene melodies as their vehicle of compositional style. The result was much like Mike Oldfield's "Tubular Bells" which came out the very same year as the melodic development of "日本人 (Nihonjin)" isn't complex it all but it displays its magic in the ever changing dynamics that surround it.

"Too Many People" begins with a simple percussive beat sounding somewhat like a heartbeat and then gives way to a gusty wind as if the steady succession of rhythmic sounds were supplicating the gods to grant us an escapist's relief from the warmongering dimension called planet Earth. After a couple minutes a beautiful acoustic guitar slowly fades in as the atmospheric turbulence drifts away into the nether worlds. A beautiful chord progression builds slowly in a repetitive but highly melodic manner in a gentle nonchalant series of arpeggios. Finally after four minutes the vocalist joins in bringing melancholy and lament in the form of lyrics and then finally the tempo picks up ever so slightly. While vocals are utilized at different stages, the long 17 minute and 56 second track is mostly composed of instrumental passages that begin soft and easy and slowly ratchet up to staccato rock chords also including twangy Eastern influenced scales for enhancing the melody. In fact the mid-section reminds me a lot of "Icky Thump" by The White Stripes but of course this was 1973 long before Jack Black had music on his his horizons and never in the context of psychedelic rock . Close to the eleven minute mark the track becomes Indo-raga rock with a sitar twanging away as the lead instrument while the rock chords and tom-tom drum call continues to beckon the higher forces of the universe in some sort of ritualistic practice that induces a trance like state. At the twelve and a half minute mark it all comes crashing down and appears that the track has completed, but the acoustic guitar has different ideas and reverts to the opening arpeggios in slow speed while a Pink Floyd inspired guitar solo slowly eggs the track on to pick up steam again. The vocalist makes a reprise repeating the earlier lyrics and then the music plays for a while before the Floydian influences really take off towards the end as female vocalists do the oooo and aaah thing and ends with a huge power chord banter abruptly.

"日本人 (Nihonjin)" begins with gongs calling out as if a meditation practice were commencing in some Bhuddist temple in the Himalayas. This track sounds much more like German Krautrock as it begins with a hazy flurry of light drum activity and musical noodlings without form but a lone sitar steps in and steers the chaos into order as a tribal drum beat joins in and the two dominate the soundscape. As these two continue it sounds more like a classical Indian raga than anything related to psychedelic rock but they suddenly disappear, a guitar begins to strum a melodic chord progression and then power chords usher in the vocalist's English lyrics as the acoustic guitars gently rock back and forth building intensity slowly and surely until the Floydian guitar solos fly into the scene. Around seven minutes the Floydian influences suddenly acquiesce to a more jittery duet of guitars that transition the track into a slightly heavier feel with the tempo increasing a bit as well. A melodic solo carries the track on for a while but there is tension in the air as everything feels unresolved for quite some time keeping a very effective transitional stage on life support for a lengthy period but then at ten and a half minutes suddenly ends and is replaced by a more Japanese traditional sound which reminds me of a samisen type of sound but is obviously a sitar. Around thirteen minutes it suddenly ends the melodic dance and becomes drony. Then the vocalist starts to deliver a chant like vocal performance as the sitar becomes subordinate to his charismatic spell. The rock guitar and bass join in and add power to the chants as does backing drone-like vocalizations. The language is now in Japanese (previous English) and this musical style carries the track to its conclusion. The chants are repeated as if we have been transported to a bizarre cult ritual and are then suddenly in the middle of a rock concert as well. As all becomes a hypnotic trance of repeating lyrics that go from subdued to shouted, the guitar solos also flair up as do the back ground call and response type vocalizations. The intensity continues the 16:30 mark and then abruptly ends. This is where my CD ends but other earlier albums include an extra three minutes of unrelated music that sounds like a flute, a Hammond organ in a traditional Japanese musical fashion as if it's some outro. The impression with the abrupt ending version is that the gods have granted the praying beings their wish to be portaled up and away from the war ravaged Earth and allowed to spend their days in a more peaceful sector of the universe.

This album has been released many times. While the original release and some remastered versions such as the one i own contain only the two long epic tracks, there are some versions that contain seven bonus tracks. I have listened to these and they are of much inferior quality as the Pink Floyd influences are far too obvious and none of these tracks have the sublimeness of spirituality as do the two original lengthy tracks, so after having listened to all possible versions of this album, i have come to the conclusion that my 2010 Phoenix Records version is the best as it eliminates the extra three minutes from the title track and simple jettisons the inferior bonus tracks leaving the listener with the proper experience however if you're a purist go for the original. The bonus tracks are nice to hear but hardly essential. The two epic tracks IMHO indeed are.

 Nihonjin by FAR OUT album cover Studio Album, 1973
3.87 | 70 ratings

Far Out Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by octopus-4
Special Collaborator RIO/Avant/Zeuhl,Neo & Post/Math Teams

4 stars I don't have the re-release with the bonus tracks so I can review just the two epics which were n the original release. "Too Many people starts with about 1:30 minutes of wind, then acoustic guitar (a little out of tune) and voice start a song that's very 60s fashioned even if the chords are the same of the first part of Marillion's Grendel (well Marillion did it later). The guitar solo that comes after about 5 minutes is nice and after it the piece progresses from melancholy and becomes darker. As in the further works as Far East Family Band, there's much of early Pink Floyd with a huge touch of Krautrock. The bass octave on which the second guitar solo is based make it very dark and psychedelic, specially when around the tenth minute the guitar sounds like a sitar accompanied by obsessive percussions. This long instrumental session is closed by few seconds of silence, then the initial theme is back, but the guitar harping is not the acoustic of the track's beginning but the sitar like sound on which, before the singing restarts, an electric slide guitar gives it a typical Gilmour's sound.

The second track is more folky. About 3 minutes of Japanese music then it's back into progressive. The solo guitar is fantastic. This suite is very close to the Eloy's style (the "Ocean" period). If you like this genre this is a great track.

A strongly recommended album for fans of space and/or Krautrock.

 Nihonjin by FAR OUT album cover Studio Album, 1973
3.87 | 70 ratings

Far Out Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by DamoXt7942
Forum & Site Admin Group Avant, Crossover & Neo Teams

4 stars All roads lead to Rome. And almost all Japanese progressive rock outfits lead to FAR OUT - FAR EAST FAMILY BAND. Yup actually this phrase may be what we (I?) overestimate FAR OUT, but we Japanese cannot avoid appreciating their influence upon younger Japanese progressive rock outfits ... they should be a great pioneer for us.

Anyway, how magnified and exaggerated their style should be ... around 1973 Japan was terribly infested with poppy cheesy songs or childish bands (and we Japanese assumed them much trendy ... what a laugh!) and a bit luckily The British Progressive Rock Scene, especially Pink Floyd, could be approved by some Japanese "professional" musicians. In such a situation, their musical style with much psychedelic essence, songs at full length, heavy riffs and fantastic technique into both sides of LP, might be terribly (in another sense) boring for most of childish-pop-polluted Japanese. On the contrary, for us progressive rock fans (especially for me a Japanese psychedelic freak :-P) they can present some competent comfort in spite of such long tracks. First, Too Many People - in the former and the last part Fumio MIYASH'TA's acoustic guitar solo sounds plaintive and depressive, with his limber voices ... a bit faltering English though ... by the way, I always wonder why he should sing in Japanese (maybe because of his strong intention for getting worldwide) and am sure he could have sung more flexible. Against the former one, in the middle part passionate but terrifically dry guitar riffs are broadened all around our brain through our ears. This part, despite of its persistence, cannot let us feel bored but relaxed. What a enthusiastic guitar solo Fumio can play. The next track Nihonjin is more aggressively Oriental ... except the lyrics. They can remind us some Japanese inner mind - Wa No Kokoro, Buddhism, and so on - his voices can get more and more free & easy particularly on the last stage, with obscure Sanskrit? Sitar, Wabue, Dora ... Japanese-tasty instruments come and attack to listeners.

Trust me my above-mentioned phrase "almost all Japanese ... " you can surely understand, can't you? Highly recommended as a Japanese!

 Nihonjin by FAR OUT album cover Studio Album, 1973
3.87 | 70 ratings

Far Out Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by Kazuhiro
Prog Reviewer

4 stars The flow of psychedelic that happened in the latter half of the 1960's visits Japan at once and has extended. At that time, the power to involve demonstrated the power of the counterplan enough as cultures such as music and the arts and plays. An original custom of Japan and the thought of the Orient exactly appeared enough to the music of psychedelic in Japan. Or, the deriving music exhausted the musician in various Japan as one flow. A lot of bands in Japan influenced by the music of the United States and Britain for the situation of Japanese music at that time existed and the band in known Japan existed as a result of digesting those elements also in the world now. Members of the band in various Japan created original music in the one flow while studying hard mutually valuing the flow. And, it was one band to which this "Far Out" had started also establishing an original route in the flow of such music.

It was at 1971 that they were formed. It is said that they were performing music that exactly receives the influence of Hard Rock at that time and makes Rock a center. However, the music character has been improved while gradually taking the element of psychedelic. The band in a lot of Japan made original music of Japan absorb the music such as psychedelic, Blues, and Rock and created without limiting the activity such as bands of Pink Floyd, Black Sabbath, and psychedelic of the other to the band in Japan and influencing and limiting it to them.

In the back, this band to which Fumio Miya[&*!#]a is mainly formed will change the form into "Far East Family Band". It is known as a band of the antecedent to the arrival there. However, the listener who knew this band became in the minority also in Japan now. However, it is likely to be able to count as one of the bands that support the dawn of the music of Japan very important band.

Involved power and flow of "Too Many People" create one space. The culture and the thought of the Orient in Japan might be reflected well though it looks like the sound of initial Pink Floyd and King Crimson. The progress of the sound of the float in the space exactly feels the sound of psychedelic and a few Blues. The guitar of Eiichi Sayu will exactly invite the listener to the world of psychedelic.

"Nihonjin" can be translated into "Japanese". The entire flow of the album is united. The culture and the thought of the Orient are reflected in music as for this tune. It advances with quiet power and progress.

In Japan at that time, such a lot of bands existed. If the situation of music the meaning of the existence of this band and at that time is considered, it is likely to be able to enjoy it as one of the bands to which Japan is psychedelically related though this band certainly becomes a mother's body and it connected with Far East Family Band.

 Nihonjin by FAR OUT album cover Studio Album, 1973
3.87 | 70 ratings

Far Out Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars This sounds so much like Krautrock, and we get two side long suites of psychedelic bliss !

"Too Many People" is quiet for about a minute, when you can start to hear what sounds like the wind blowing. This sound actually becomes quite harsh on the ears. Then the sounds of acoustic guitar slowly rise out of the wind storm until that is all you hear. Vocals 4 minutes in are in English and suit the music pefectly. We get some absolutely blistering guitar 7 minutes in, as a dark BLACK SABBATH like riff comes and goes.The drums are great as is the sitar. What a heavy, hypnotic melody ! The song pretty much stops and starts over again as vocals come back along with some ear piercing guitar melodies played slowly. The drumming is incredible.

"Nihonjin" features some sitar and methodical drumming before the song kicks in after 3 minutes with vocals. This is such a mellow, drifting song. Some killer guitar after 8 minutes. Vocals are back.

My re-issue cd has 7 bonus tracks. "Birds Flying to the Cave" has organ and Japanese vocals. The guitar is outstanding ! "Saying To The Land" is mellow with flute, organ and vocals. Drums and guitar come in at 4 minutes, but it's still a laid back tune. "Moving,Looking, Trying, Jumping" and "Wa Wa" blend together. Waves of synths flow as vocals are spoken in Japanese. "The Cave Down to the Earth" sounds so much like a PINK FLOYD song from after 3 minutes to the end of the song. Especially the organ play. "Four Minds" is a spacey, slow moving song. "Transmigration" is the longest bonus track. It is another dreamy tune with vocals. The sound of a baby crying can be heard as drums, organ and synths create the melody.

I highly recommend this album to both Krautrock and Psychedelic fans.This was a real find for me. I really like the aggressive guitar that is often played on this record, but there are too many highlights to mention that make this a must have.

 Nihonjin by FAR OUT album cover Studio Album, 1973
3.87 | 70 ratings

Far Out Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by Sean Trane
Special Collaborator Prog Folk

4 stars This is the first chapter (or prologue if you wish) to the Far East Family Band group, one of the Japanese prog precursors. The album was released under this name, but has the same line-up than FEFB's Cave Down To Earth album. The TRC semi-legit reissue of this album present a glove hanging from a clothesline and even manages to misspell the name of the group (For Out ;-) and even forget the album's name, avoids staring the tracks and the line-up, but the transcription was rather good as the sound is quite satisfying (even though I never saw or heard the original vinyl). The line-up includes future new age stars Kitaro, Myi[&*!#]a and Akira Ito, so this album also has its historical importance.

Just two sidelong tracks on this album, but both are excellent and not holding any lengths or are not indulging in themselves. Both are a bit influenced by Pink's psychedelic Floyd influences as well as a good dose of early 70's UK proto-prog sound, but there is an undeniable personal feel as well, lying in an Indian music influence. Definitely lying in the last rays of the hippy culture, this album radiates a contagious happiness much the same way that Sweet Smoke was doing in their short discography.

Definitely worthy of investigation, even essential, especially in regards with the Japanese prog scene, this album deploys its charms to the listener and despite some obvious inspiration that are not concealed enough, the charms are operating an aural seduction to your brains. Recommended for those enjoying the early 70's pastoral hippy ambiances.

 Nihonjin by FAR OUT album cover Studio Album, 1973
3.87 | 70 ratings

Far Out Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by oliverstoned
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

2 stars "Far out" is an early incarnation of the famous japanese prog band "Far east family band". The music has nothing to do with german prog, but rather belong to a gentle symphonic vein with very light spacey/experimental influences. It doesn't progress much, especially on the two long pieces constituting the original album. The same theme is developed within both movements, making the music repetitive. The omnipresent singing is too gentle, quite ridiculous even if bearable. Only the good guitar save the album from disaster and its gilmourian tone may evoke DSOTM (same year). Drum is unfortunatly flat and binary. Some japanese world/ethnic touches, but too light and too rare. Poor sound quality probably due to an amateurish production. A minor record.

 Nihonjin by FAR OUT album cover Studio Album, 1973
3.87 | 70 ratings

Far Out Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by hansdoesburg

4 stars FEFB is one of the bands I wil never forget. The music is SO good, at home and in the car: this is the music that blows your mind. If you listen for example to Parallel World; this kind of music is not possible anymore; the best there is. I can listen to this over and over again, this makes it the best music in my life.

Thank you FEFB, a pity there are no live recordings!!

 Nihonjin by FAR OUT album cover Studio Album, 1973
3.87 | 70 ratings

Far Out Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by dodo69

5 stars As far as I know this is masterpiece, I mean you just swallow whole album in one breath, for everyone who likes pink floyd this is your music.I wish that were more bands like this especially from Japan because their music is one of the greatest prog rock music. I also recommend far east family band who grew up from far out. Listen with big earphones turn it loud and enjoy.:-)
 Nihonjin by FAR OUT album cover Studio Album, 1973
3.87 | 70 ratings

Far Out Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by hdfisch
Prog Reviewer

4 stars It's just a co-incidence that I got this one to listen right after HELDON's "Stand By" and maybe it's not quite fair to compare these two records. But actually why? It's the same sub- genre and this one was released even a few years before. What these guys produced here is art rock like it should be, just fascinating! Actually it's very similar kind of music like Krautrock, a sub-genre I can usually not appreciate everything in. But this one is just great, although there are just two one-side long tracks, it does not becoming boring at any moment like many Krautrock outputs did. It's early 70's Psychedelic at its very best!!!!

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED not only to every Krautrock fan!!

Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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