Monday, May 25, 2009

AOTW - Far East Family Band - Parallel World





Well, seeing as no-one else has, here's one i've had up my sleeve for a while.


Far East Family Band were formed in the early 1970's in Tokyo, with the band developing their esoteric and otherworldly sound around the nucleus of Fumio Miyashita in a sort of improvised commune on Miyashita's parents' farmhouse in the shadow of Mt. Fuji.

Released in 1976, this album was their fourth release and is a world away from the previous three (the others are more prog-rock than space-rock, but still well worth a listen). Recorded in England (Manor Studios - the birthplace of "Tubular Bells", no less) by a German producer, the acclaimed Krautrock producer and musician Klaus Schulze. "Parallel World" is a prime example of mid- 70's space-prog that occasionally tips over into cliche and self-indulgence and, for me at least, is all the better for it.

Julian Cope said: " Virtually without vocals, "Parallel World" occupied the kind of vast and eternal kosmiche space that only the greatest Krautrock albums had thus far commanded. Whatever crazy titles Miyashita would at a later date decide to impose on these tracks, Klaus had created one seamless and ever unfolding earth-shaking, occasionally skanking masterpiece".

I say: I always go back to this album if I get the flat to myself of an evening. The perfect soundtrack to a late night tipple that has the power to transport my mind to another realm for an hour or so.

Pull your best prog-cape over your knees pour a glass of port, kick back and enjoy!

Quite unbelievably, there doesn't seem to be a Wiki for them yet!

N.B. A quick note about the song titles. I've given the English titles that are on the record sleeve which mostly bear no resemblance at all to the Japanese ones. Also, track 2 is in two parts, but i've only given the one title to keep it simple. And the epic final track is broken down into 7 parts, which has seven song titles, but as they all blend into one i've just kept the main song name.

21 comments:

snadfrod said...

Panther - looks like I'm in the perfect position for this: just got in, house to myself, large singe malt and time to enjoy. Looking forward to it.

Sadly though, I WILL have to see if i can find room above the mantle for a stuffed panther head to go alongside my hippo... *Takes long, omionous sip of whisky* PLEEEEASE can I have AOTW next week? I'll get round to it on a Monday and everything...

Japanther said...

sorry Snadfrod! I did wait until nearly midnight (your time), it's all yours for the next one!

snadfrod said...

Panther - I fully accept that I left it too late, I got a bit bank holidayed, shall we say? You were more than justified.

As for the album, it really goes nicely deep, doesn't it? I easily lost about 20 minutes in it to begin with. Everything builds subtly but it ends up sounding strong. And, for 1974, it also sounds fairly timeless. I will be giving it another listen later today (but hopefully not as late or as, um, wobbly). Cheers.

snadfrod said...

*1976. Stupid fat hands...

Chris said...

"Virtually without vocals" appears to be an understatement...
Er, where is the music, Mr P? Have you put it in the secret last dropbox, unspotifyable by ordinary mortals?

DarceysDad said...

...a-a-n-n-d there goes my evening tonight, between this and Shoey's posting.

Good job I can't stand Roddy Frame, or I'd be in head-bursting mode again!!

;o)

goneforeign said...

Chris: I knew I'd find you lurking somewhere around here; to digress for a moment.
You recall the conversation we had about a month ago re. films which evolved off into a thread about long camera takes? You recommended Soy Cuba, a film I'd never heard of but I put it on my Netflix list and I watched it last night knowing nothing more than your call.
By the middle of that first scene I was ready to quit, my wife actually did but she did have a lot of schoolwork piling up. I stayed with it primarily because I know quite a bit about photographic theory and was intrigued with the B/W images created with
infra- red film and the use of various filters, I'd never seen a film with those effects before. Plus I made a mental comment that the cinematographer must have seen a lot of Eisenstein's work.
It got better after the first scene and I constantly found myself asking [myself] 'Where the bloody hell does he have the camera to get that shot?' And then I started seeing amazing tracking shots where there was no posibilty of laying track. At one point I backed up the film to a close-up on a girls face in the crowd at the funeral procession and paused it. I called my wife back and said 'Watch this, you won't believe it', over a period of several minutes the camera tracks back to reveal the entire scene and starts to rise adjacent to a 3 story building 'til it's looking down from on the roof, it tracks right across the roof still following the funeral and enters a cigar makers workroom on the other side of the street with several blokes busy at their benches, it continues past them and then looks out of another window again at the funeral, the workers come to hang a banner from the window and the camera tracks over their heads out into the space above the procession and moves down the street with it still shooting from the height! Not a single cut since the camera left the girl's close up and never a loss of focus, absolutely phenominal, impossible to do, no idea how he did it but I saw it with my own eyes. It was not a zoom lens, they were all tracking shots, if you know what to look for it's easy to see the difference between a tracking shot and a zoom. It puts everything else of that genre in the shade, it should get an academy award for the greatest ever tracking shot.
And then in the credits I saw that he was a Soviet cinematographer and the Eisenstein penny dropped.
Thanks for the tip, everybody should see it.
Sorry to intrude, back to AOTW business.

DarceysDad said...

What is the correct track order, please JP? I'd like to listen to it properly rather than the alphabetical my PC has given it.

ToffeeBoy said...

@ DsD - have you heard the Roddy Frame solo stuff? You might like it even if you're not so keen on Aztec Camera. Can't stand's a bit strong though, isn't it? I mean, it's not Coldplay ...

ToffeeBoy said...

@ Japanther - am I missing something or am I just being thick (I know, the two are not mutually exclusive). I can't find any music to listen to here ...

DarceysDad said...

Hi, TB.

I was assuming the AOTW May 25th folder in the DropBox was the appropriate album ....

Re Roddy: see my comment over yonder.

ToffeeBoy said...

@ DsD - that would make a lot of sense - thank you.

Chris said...

GF: Oh dear, I lurk, do I? Isn't that what Gollum did in the Misty Mountains? Preciousssss!
It is an odd film, being a Soviet artists' romanticised view of a country completely different from theirs. And, yes, there is too much earnestness and almost melodrama. But I thought the cinematography throughout was outstanding, before you even consider those tracking shots.
There is a documentary about the making of the film and its resurrection from the back of a cupboard somewhere. It's called 'Soy Cuba: O Mamute Siberiano' or 'I Am Cuba: the Siberian Mammoth' and has interviews with several of the crew.

And if you, or anyone else, likes films that make you really think, go see 'Synecdoche, New York', if can find it.

Still don't know where to find the music.......

Japanther said...

sorry for the lack of clarity all round.

Correct tracklisting order is:
1. Metempsychosis
2. Entering
3. Kokoro
4. Parallel World

Japanther said...

...and the music in Dropbox under AOTW 25th May

DarceysDad said...

Thanks, JP. Just starting to play it now . . .

DarceysDad said...

YYYEEEESSSSSS!!! Get in!! Thank Gawd for that!

Found an AOTW that I absolutely LOVE.

I was seriously beginning to feel that I was turning into The 'Spill's resident nay-sayer, with out a good word to say.

Thankyouthankyouthankyou, Japanther.

"Released in 1976" you say?
That explains why I can hear huge echoes of The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway's weirder moments, and nods to Phaedra to Stratosfear-era Tangerine Dream.

"Klaus Schulze" you say?
So it'll be Manuel Göttsching's guitar-style that's being fondly adopted, then. Or maybe Pink Floyd at their furthest-out-there.

It all makes sense.

Never heard of this lot Japanther, and I see what you mean about a lack of results from googling them, but I have to say this album is BRILLIANT.

When late-period Talk Talk or even E2-E4 is too intrusive, but Goldmund or Clint Mansell is too gossamer, this album will make a perfect soundtrack to accompany some late night DsD keyboard-bashing.

Domo arigato.

Japanther said...

my pleasure DsD!

I love this album so much too, but wasn't sure anyone else was going to "get" it.

Weirdly, i've only just started getting into Tangerine Dream etc through listening to Far East family Band! Funny how these things work!

ejaydee said...

I am LOVING the drumming on Entering!

nilpferd said...

Quite like the more spacey sound effects and the percussion, the parts with more standard synth or guitar don't grab me quite as much though. I have to say that although Krautrock is the sort of thing I ought to like, given my tastes, I've never really taken to it, so I like the hints of electronic music in this most.
Nice to listen to, thanks.
It's made me grab my own favourite, mid 70's, Japanese recorded, out there, alone-in-the-house album (or at least, without-child-in-the-house-album), Miles Davis' Agharta, which also happens to be a good accompaniement to some pretty churning income tax statement work.. back to the grind..

Shoeyislate said...

Waaay late. Great pick & album. Terrific rhythm section, although the synth stuff was a bit lame in places & tend to date it all a bit. Would probably enjoy this more if not already a huge fan of Can - who outgun them in every department.