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11 Jun 2016

Far Our “Nihonjin” 1973 Japan Psychedelic Rock














 Far Our “Nihonjin”  1973 Japan Psychedelic Rock….recommended…!

full album + bonus

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4OhhN82dGqQ

This early 70’s psychedelic Japanese quartet were more or less the precursors of The FAR EAST FAMILY BAND (see this band’s biography), 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……..
The history of FAR EAST FAMILY BAND is awfully confusing. I hear at least three different stories about this band that aren’t correct. All of them saying that FAR OUT became the FAR EAST FAMILY BAND. In reality, they were two separate bands, with Fumio Miya[&*!#]a being the only member in common with both bands. But the FAR OUT album is included in the FAR EAST FAMILY BAND catalog because it would get lost if placed elsewhere, sorta like Organization’s Tone Float being placed under the KRAFTWERK category. FAR OUT consisted of: Fumio Miya[&*!#]a: guitar, vocals, keyboards / Kei Ishikawa: bass, electric sitar / Eiichi Sayu: guitars / Manami Arai: drums Kei Ishikawa eventually moved to California to form a band called CHRONICLE, and of course, Fumio Miya[&*!#]a found new musicians (including someone by the name of Masanori Takahashi, who we all know as the infamous New Age star of the ‘80s and '90s, better known as Kitaro) which became FAR EAST FAMILY BAND. The FAR OUT album, sometimes called “Nihonjin” consists of only two side-length cuts. Think of the FAR EAST FAMILY BAND sound in a more primitive setting, without the elaborate synth sounds of “Parallel World”, with the only synths being the occasional sound effects, with the guitar and electric sitar being the most predominate instruments. The album starts off with “Too Many People”, where you hear this strange percussion, then lots of bizarre sound effects, before settling down with acoustic guitar and vocals. This section then goes in to ballad mood, with Fumio Miya[&*!#]a singing some cheesy lyrics (meaning the guys barely had a grasp of the English language). Eventually you get treated with some heavier guitar passages. I hadn’t quite warmed up to “Too Many People”, although I like some of the great ideas found here. It’s the second and final cut, “Nihonjin” that is nothing short of amazing! You might already know this piece from a version FAR EAST FAMILY BAND included on their “Nipponjin” album, it was that album’s title track. That version had the likes of Kitaro and Akira Ito give the song the synth and Mellotron treatment. The original is exactly the same, but without the synths and Mellotrons. Comes to prove how the Mellotron and synths on the version of FEFB’s “Nipponjin” were simply icing on the cake. I suspect FEFB simply used the original FAR OUT recording and have the synth guys (Akira Ita, Kitaro) add on those electronics. The German CD reissue on Buy or Die also includes several bonus cuts, all off FAR EAST FAMILY BAND’s first actual album, “The Cave: Down to the Earth”. All but two songs I am familiar already from “Nipponjin”, except these are sung entirely in Japanese (while the versions off “Nipponjin” were mainly in English, guessing that FAR EAST FAMILY BAND were trying to do what PFM did for “Photos of Ghosts” and that is break in to the English language market). The only two songs I weren’t familiar with was the cheesy pop ballad “Four Minds” and the luckily more interesting “Transmigration”. The FAR OUT album is definately an album worth checking in to if you want to explore the roots of FAR EAST FAMILY BAND. Definately this is no “Parallel World”, but then what is? But still recommended for those who curious of what the Japanese underground rock scene had to offer, and not to mention, Julian Cope actually likes this album a lot ……..
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!!!! ………..

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………..

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………..

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……….

Line-up / Musicians
- Fumio Miyashita / vocal, nihonbue, acoustic guitar, harmonica, moog (custom)
- Eiichi Sayu / lead guitar, hammond organ, chorus
- Kei Ishikawa / vocal, bass guitar, electric sitar
- Manami Arai / drums, nihon-daiko, chorus

Songs / Tracks Listing
1. Too Many People (17:55)
2. Nihonjin (19:52)
Re-released in 2000 with 5 bonus tracks:
3. Birds Flying To The Cave (4:32)
4. Saying To The Land (8:21)
5. Moving, Looking, Trying, Jumping (1:39)
6. Wa Wa (0:48)
7. The Cave Down To The Earth (8:17)
8. Four Minds (5:53)
9. Transmigration (11:01)

johnkatsmc5, welcome music..