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Far East Family Band - Nipponjin CD (album) cover


Far East Family Band


Psychedelic/Space Rock

3.69 | 93 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars FAR EAST FAMILY BAND is one of the pioneering prog bands to emerge out of Japan. Several musicians who later made careers of themselves by releasing New Age albums in the 1980s were members of this band. They were Fumio Miyashita, Akira Ito, and most of all, Masanori Takahashi, which most of you don't know by that name, but by the name of Kitaro. Other band members included guitarist Hirohito Fukushima, bassist Akira Fukakusa, and drummer Shizuo Takasaki. Fumio Miyashita was previously with a band called FAR OUT (which many just simply regard as another FEFB album, even if only Fumio Miyashita was the only person in common with both bands). Now, if you're expecting the music of FAR EAST FAMILY BAND to be more cheesy New Age, throw that thought at the window. FAR EAST FAMILY BAND is pretty much to KITARO what VANGELIS was to APHRODITE'S CHILD, that is, these bands music are much more rock oriented than the careers these keyboardists later pursued in the 1970s and '80s. "Nipponjin", with the subtitle of Join Our Mental Phase Sound is the second album from FAR EAST FAMILY BAND. Basically these songs are remakes of stuff from "The Cave - Down to the Earth" and the FAR OUT album. The album starts off with the title track, which sounds exactly like the original, but with added on synthesizers and Mellotron (and if you ever heard the FAR OUT original, you'll noticed how effective that song is without the synths and Mellotron). The music starts of with spacy electronic effects, synthesizers, and electric sitar. Mellotron is used as well, then the music kicks in to a wonderful ballad, with drug oriented lyrics. After a few minutes, the ballad is over, and kicks in to a wonderful guitar jam. After a couple minutes, the music slows down once again, with the electric sitar once again. Then the song ends with chanting in "Om", with some chanting in Japanese as well. The next song, "The Cave" is more the style of FAR EAST FAMILY BAND. Most of the music is sung in English, but the more intense passage has Fumio Miyashita singing in Japanese. "Undiscovered Northern Land" sounds like something Klaus SCHULZE might do, with the big exception of the Mellotron and bamboo flute (SCHULZE did produce the album, but did not play on it, and the album was recorded in Japan). "Timeless" is one of the more rocking numbers on this album. "The God of Water" is simply an ambient piece, that segues in to the ballad "River of Soul". Several more pieces segue in to each other, before the final piece, "Mystery of Northern Space". First few listens, I hated this piece, but it started to grow on me. It is more dramatic than the rest, and it also has some strings. But in light of that, I'm glad to say it's nowhere as bad as that wretched "Four Minds" off The Cave: Down to the Earth. Although an excellent album, and this pretty much demonstrates what FAR EAST FAMILY BAND is about, their following album, "Parallel World" blows "Nipponjin" (and everything else they did) out of the water, still "Nipponjin" is recommended.
Proghead | 4/5 |


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