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Fumio Miyashita (sometimes known as simply Fumio) was a staggeringly prolific yet largely unheralded new age artist from Japan. Fans of Japanese psychedelia know Miyashita best as a founding member of Far Out and Far East Family Band, two pioneering progressive/space rock bands that existed during the mid-'70s. Like Far East Family Band's most well-known member, Kitaro, Miyashita began making solo electronic music and composing soundtracks after the group broke up around 1977. Eventually he started making music specifically focused on healing, meditation, therapy, and sleep, and released over a hundred albums, which sold well in his native country.
Miyashita was born in Nagano, Japan in 1949. As a teenager, he played rhythm guitar in a rock & roll group called the Glories. However, eventually he started playing the biwa, an acoustic lute-style instrument, and became more interested in Japanese traditional music. After participating in a Tokyo production of the controversial rock musical Hair, Miyashita recorded a mellow acoustic folk album with Osamu Kitajima that seemed completely out of step with what was popular at the time. Miyashita then formed Far Out, which released one full-length album (referred to as either Far Out or Nihonjin) containing two side-long tracks reminiscent of Pink Floyd but with Japanese folk elements. Miyashita then founded Far East Family Band in 1975, taking the sound of Far Out into more cosmic territory. Klaus Schulze mixed some of their albums, and turned both Kitaro and Miyashita on to the musical possibilities of synthesizers.
Miyashita studied acupuncture in Los Angeles during the late '70s, eventually returning to Japan to practice music therapy. Miyashita scored numerous anime films during the '80s, and much of his work during this time explored a space theme. His 1984 album Journey to Space was released in the United States by Relativity, but most of his work was otherwise only available in Japan. He began releasing albums of healing music on his own Biwa Records in 1985, and continued producing soothing, meditative music that blended soft electronic textures with traditional instruments such as bamboo flutes. During the 1990s, he toured the United States with Dean and Dudley Evenson, and released music on their label, Soundings of the Planet. Miyashita remained highly active until his death (from respiratory failure) in 2003.
In 2017, the American indie label Drag City issued Live on the Boffomundo Show, an album of electronic music performances recorded for a Los Angeles cable access show during the late '70s and early '80s. ~ Paul Simpson
- Nagano, Japan
- New Age
- 6 Jan 1949
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