Far East Family Band - Parallel World (Digipack)
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Original release 1976
FAR EAST FAMILY BAND Parallel World
This is without a doubt the best album FAR EAST FAMILY BAND has ever done. Unlike other albums where the band focused mainly on ballads influenced by PINK FLOYD, on Parallel World they decided to merge the prog rock style of the time with electronic music in the vein of Klaus SCHULZE. And just like their previous album, Nipponjin, this album was also produced by SCHULZE, and you could swear he actually played on the album (he didn't). All the synth duties here are Fumio Miya[&*!#]a (who also played guitar and sang), Akira Ito, and Masanori Takasaki (who we all know as the future New Age star of the '80s and '90s, that is KITARO).
For Parallel World, the band went to England to record at Richard Branson's Manor Studios to strike a deal with Virgin Records. Unfortunately Virgin rejected the album (their loss), so it was left released only in Japan (with two different album covers, depending what you got, mines is the lesser known one with the peering eyes cover). About these two different album covers, I am unable to determine if what I own is a reissue, but probably is. Let's say this new electronic direction for the band was an excellent move as they produced their ultimate masterpiece. Here you get Metempsychosis which shows the band in a more experimental setting, complete with synth drones and percussion. Entering and Times will fool you for SCHULZE's own works, Shizuo Takasaki's drumming often reminds me of Harald Großkopf (WALLENSTEIN member who was often found playing on SCHULZE's albums), and it's packed with same kind of space electronic effects found on a SCHULZE album. It's the presence of guitar (from Fumio Miya and Hirohito Fukushima) that separates this from a SCHULZE album. Then you have Kokoro, which harkens back to their earlier works. This is basically a slow ballad, sung in Japanese that could easily fit on The Cave: Down to the Earth. This is the only song like this on Parallel World.
And then you get the 30 minute title track that is just so amazing that it totally justifies the five star rating I give this album! Here the band goes on a lengthy jam, with the Akira Fukakusa's bass dominating with tons of killer synths, lots of great spacy string synths and Moog. After about halfway through this piece, the bass and drums gives away to straigh-up synth experiments. Somewhere you hear some chanting and references to Zen Buddhism. There are some truly mindblowing use of Mellotron that pop up on occasions, and this one synth solo I am pretty sure none other than KITARO is responsible for. I can't believe this album, it's hard to believe that a guy whose later music is often dismissed as New Age fluff (KITARO, that is) is on this album. Truly a wonderful album and if the description of this album sounds good to you, find a copy.