Far East Family Band

Parallel World (1976)


A great album from these Japanese psych legends. The influence of Klaus Schulze (producer) is far stronger here than it was on Nipponjin (where he was basically re-recording older songs, anyway), as the blatant Pink Floyd worship turns to blatant krautrock worship. That’s not a bad thing because these guys are exceptionally skilled at both. Things start off with the ambient piece “Metempsychosis” that I’d probably believe was composed by Schulze himself. “Entering” follows and for its first half is more of the same before it really gets going about five minutes in, approaching something like an Ash Ra/Cosmic Jokers type climax with a lot of synth and some excellent drums. “Kokoro” is a return to their older sound with a focus on soaring guitar and pleasant vocals, but once again using a lot more synth this time. The title track is the big half hour epic to close out the album, a highlight to be sure. In the krautrock tradition, a tripped out bass line evolves out of the ambient wash, with the occasional appearance of ghostly voices and more synths. Just when you think the song’s over, it goes on for another fifteen minutes of twinkling keyboards, mellotron experiments, and the like. The influence of band member Kitaro is also notable here, who in short time would go on to create many, many albums of new age claptrap. I do hope my review doesn’t come across as being negative, because this is a tremendous album and definitely their most experimental work. While this is generally regarded as their finest album and a magnum opus of Japanese prog, I’m just not so big into the electronic noodling that makes up a good portion of the songs and generally prefer their earlier output. I’m in the minority with this opinion though, so don’t take my word for it.