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Far East Family Band - Tenkujin CD (album) cover


Far East Family Band


Psychedelic/Space Rock

3.22 | 52 ratings

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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.

Aussie-Byrd-Brother | 3/5 |


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