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Far East Family Band - Tenkujin CD (album) cover


Far East Family Band


Psychedelic/Space Rock

3.17 | 43 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
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 Miyashita, 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 Miyashita. 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.

Proghead | 3/5 |


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