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FM biography
This trio came from Toronto around the end of the 70's but got slightly over-shadowed by the profusion of bands exploding all over the album charts. I mean with RUSH, TRIUMPH, SAGA, MAX WEBSTER etc.. It is no wonder some could not get their share of sunlight, among which GODDO, MOXY, ZON, SANTERS and most certainly FM. Their first Lp full of a weird sort of hard rock with strange studio tampering alerted most potential fans that this was a very particular band with their lead violinist Nash The Slash playing as a mummy and Martin Deller at the drum seat as well as Cameron Hawkins on bass. Unfortunately, their crazy frontman opted for a fairly successful solo career (crazy videos on MuchMusic - the equivalent of MTV in the early 80's) and the remaining duo had to find Ben Mink as a replacement but they never managed to regain the magic of their first album. They will still manage another three albums.

: : : Hugues Chantraine, BELGIUM : : :

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Buy FM Music


Heroes And VillainsHeroes And Villains
Frontiers Records 2015
Audio CD$9.50
$10.53 (used)
TransformationTransformation
Import
Imports 2015
Audio CD$21.99
Nearfest 2006: DeluxeNearfest 2006: Deluxe
Import
Imports 2014
Audio CD$11.32
$11.34 (used)
Right Now on Ebay (logo)
FM / Aphrodesiac JAPAN+3 Overland Shadowman AOR OOP!!!!! B USD $39.99 Buy It Now 37m 46s
TERENCE FM feelin' kinda high 12" VG+ CAJ 281 House Vinyl 2001 Record USD $25.00 Buy It Now 56m 26s
The Ramones - WBUF FM BROADCAST, BUFFALO, NY, FEBRUARY 8TH 1979. New CD + sealed USD $8.44 [6 bids]
1h 3m
FM - HEROES AND VILLAINS - NEW CD ALBUM USD $18.20 Buy It Now 1h 5m
FREDERIC HAND Baroque And On The Street EX+ CBS FM-36687 LP USD $15.10 Buy It Now 1h 5m
FM - HEROES AND VILLAINS - NEW VINYL LP USD $30.34 Buy It Now 1h 7m
Radio Times Classic FM Nation's Favourite Vol 1 inc Bruch Violin Concerto + CD USD $3.78 Buy It Now 1h 17m
BIG JOE TURNER HONEY HUSH LP Magnum Force MFLP P96 Jazz Fm Library Excellent USD $8.48 Buy It Now 1h 17m
FM- Frozen Heart - Rock 45 USD $4.99 Buy It Now 1h 18m
FM BATS Everybody Out Shark In The Water CD Punk Rock Brand New USD $3.99 Buy It Now 1h 21m
Sound Of Jazz Fm 2011 [CD New] USD $17.09 Buy It Now 1h 30m
Stars of 2003 (Lesley Garrett,Nigel Kennedy,Maria Callas etc) Classic FM CD USD $4.48 Buy It Now 1h 47m
Elgars Finest Cello Concerto,Enigma Variations,Salut d'amour etc Classic FM CD USD $4.48 Buy It Now 1h 47m
The Best REcordings of 2005 Classic FM CD No.134 (Joshua Bell,Angela Hewitt) USD $4.48 Buy It Now 1h 47m
All Time Great WIND Chamber Music - Classic FM CD No.10 USD $4.48 Buy It Now 1h 47m
Best of 2003 - Classic FM CD No.106 USD $4.48 Buy It Now 1h 47m
Chamber Music Favourites Schubert's Trout,Saint Saens The Swan etc Classic FM CD USD $4.48 Buy It Now 1h 47m
WOR FM 98.7 DOUBLE ALBUM WITH LENNON MINT POSTER FIRST PRESSING USD $2.76 [3 bids]
2h 3m
Mielck,E. - Sym (Fm)/Concert Pc Vn/Orch (CD New) USD $14.87 Buy It Now 2h 8m
SKINTS, The - FM - CD USD $17.06 Buy It Now 2h 20m
Various Artists - Classic Fm Weddings 2008 NEW CD USD $18.97 Buy It Now 2h 23m
Fm - Rockville Ii NEW CD USD $15.74 Buy It Now 2h 25m
TWELVE OLIDES CASSETTES WCBS FM AND OTHER WITH CASE FIVE SEALED USD $20.00 [0 bids]
2h 32m
Fm Belfast - Brighter Days [Vinyl New] USD $25.35 Buy It Now 2h 39m
fm tough it out 12" EP vinyl EPC 465589. matrix no. DINK T1 A1 USD $24.27 [0 bids]
USD $41.31 Buy It Now
2h 46m
CD SPORT FM HITS KOKOTAS DANTIS KATSINIS TOPAZI ZOUGANELIS KAKA KORITSIA AXIOTIS USD $11.00 Buy It Now 2h 51m
CD SEALED MAVROS OKEANOS PAPADOPOULOS HRISTOS SOUNDTRACK FM 1247 USD $11.00 Buy It Now 2h 51m
Hardbase.Fm - Vol. 2-Hardbase.Fm [CD New] USD $20.40 Buy It Now 3h 7m
SOUND OF JAZZ FM 2011 Various Artists NEW 2X CD SOUL / FUNK (JAZZ FM) R USD $18.20 Buy It Now 3h 9m
SOUND OF JAZZ FM 2009 VOL 1 Various Artists NEW 2X CD SET SOUL (JAZZFM) USD $18.20 Buy It Now 3h 9m
V/A-98.7 Kiss Fm Presents Shep Pettibone's Mastermixes (Special R.E.M.I.X.E.S.) USD $22.77 Buy It Now 3h 15m
SOUND OF JAZZ FM 2011 / VARIOUS (UK) NEW CD USD $19.38 Buy It Now 3h 25m
Cisco Houston, Archive of Folk Music, FM-105, Woody Guthrie USD $18.00 Buy It Now 3h 37m
AM/FM PRIVATE PRESS FUNK LP "THE WORD" STILL SEALED! USD $40.97 Buy It Now 3h 44m
Johnny Donovan Rock Radio Program- over WOR -FM New York 8/19/1971 USD $9.00 [0 bids]
USD $11.70 Buy It Now
3h 51m
PRESIDENT JIMMY Breakfastside Chats With FM106 KBPI ROCKS DENVER VG+ RARE LP USD $47.40 Buy It Now 3h 58m
Wcbs FM: Motown Soul & Rock N Roll - Soul, Wcbs-FM: Motown Soul & Rock N Ro, Goo USD $25.96 Buy It Now 4h 24m
FM (CANADA) - DIRECT TO DISC [REMASTERED] - NEW CD USD $10.07 Buy It Now 4h 27m
Magnum/On A Storytellers Night.1985 UK FM LP. USD $15.16 Buy It Now 4h 35m
KISS 94FM 2nd Anniversary Party @ THE WAG (12th Nov 1987)....(Rave Flyers) USD $4.84 [2 bids]
4h 35m
Steve Clark Rock Radio Show - WOR-FM New York 8/9/68 USD $9.50 Buy It Now 4h 40m
Konstruktivits "A Dissembly" On Flowmotion. Fm002. Import Lp. Uk. USD $19.98 [1 bids]
4h 54m
Tommy Edwards Rock Radio Show- WOR-FM New York 12/31/70 USD $9.50 Buy It Now 5h 4m
High Fidelity Hits of 70's FM USD $7.63 Buy It Now 5h 16m
Classic FM Album Great Composers Hall Of Fame 2007 Volume 2 Sealed BNIB 150b USD $7.57 [0 bids]
5h 25m
Classic FM Summer Serenade 2008 Classical Album Sealed BNIB 165 USD $7.57 [0 bids]
5h 25m
Classic FM The Passion of Puccini 2008 Classical Album Sealed BNIB 164 USD $7.57 [0 bids]
5h 26m
FM - Takin' it to the Streets / New CD 2008 Remastered / 90s AOR U.K. OVERLAND USD $14.50 Buy It Now 5h 26m
DOVERCHIVAYA - HOLLYWOOD FM UKRANIAN POP MUSIC BRAND NEW CD USD $12.95 Buy It Now 5h 41m
Happy Fm Fan Edition (CD Used Very Good) USD $13.29 Buy It Now 5h 48m
FM - Someday - 1989 Epic Records 7" Vinyl Single USD $5.31 Buy It Now 5h 54m
FM Tough It Out LP Vinyl Record USD $1.52 [0 bids]
6h 14m
FM Indiscreet LP Vinyl Record USD $1.52 [0 bids]
6h 15m
Classic FM - Radio Times (CD) USD $2.57 Buy It Now 6h 22m
Classic FM - Tenor Arias (CD) USD $3.02 Buy It Now 6h 22m
Classic FM - Romantic Reflections (CD) USD $3.02 Buy It Now 6h 22m
Classic FM - Christmas USD $3.02 Buy It Now 6h 22m
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Classic FM - The Best Of 99 (CD) USD $3.02 Buy It Now 6h 22m
Classic FM - Tenor Arias (CD) USD $2.57 Buy It Now 6h 22m
Classic FM - Love Duets (CD) USD $3.02 Buy It Now 6h 22m
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PHILIPS 4FM 10005 Shura Cherkassky Piano Recital 1968 EX/EX Stereo LP USD $9.87 Buy It Now 6h 34m
STRIKE ANYWHERE Dead FM LP NEW SEALED USD $17.99 Buy It Now 6h 47m
Classic Fm Babies (CD Used Very Good) USD $20.68 Buy It Now 6h 49m
Home For Christmas: Fm100 2011 Christmas (CD Used Very Good) USD $8.99 Buy It Now 6h 50m
ASA RHYTHM SYNDICATE BREEDER NEW YORK FM ROCKSTONE 12" TECHNO HOUSE TRANCE USD $4.99 Buy It Now 6h 55m
FM 'TOUGH IT OUT' REMASTERED ROCK CANDY 5 BONUS TRACKS! 2011 SEALED! USD $16.68 [1 bids]
7h 4m
FM 'INDISCREET' 2 CD SPECIAL EDITION REMASTERED 18 BONUS TRACKS! 2011 SEALED! USD $16.68 [1 bids]
7h 4m
DJ "Spoke" Groovy Radio Show -- WLS FM Chicago from 8/8/1968 very Unique! USD $9.00 [0 bids]
USD $11.70 Buy It Now
7h 13m
Classic FM - Discovering Mozart (CD) USD $3.02 Buy It Now 7h 16m
GEORGE CARLIN FM & AM Little David Records LP COMEDY Standup 1972 Recorded live USD $9.00 Buy It Now 7h 16m
Classic FM - Discover Mahler (CD) USD $4.54 Buy It Now 7h 18m
Classic FM - Discover Vaughan Williams (CD) USD $4.54 Buy It Now 7h 18m
Classic FM Great Composers "Greatest Handel" (Classical - Various Artists) New USD $2.96 Buy It Now 7h 38m
Classic FM "Best of 2002" (Classical - Various Artists) Brand New CD USD $2.96 Buy It Now 7h 38m
FM4 SOUNDSELECTION VOL.23 2 CD NEW+ USD $29.35 Buy It Now 7h 58m
OST / We May Never Love Like This Again FM-1083 EP wb7717 USD $4.99 [0 bids]
8h
BURT BACHARACH Come Touch the Sun FM-1088 EP wb7781 USD $4.99 [0 bids]
8h
MANTOVANI My Way FM-1097 EP wb7692 USD $4.99 [0 bids]
8h
Andreas Vollenweider - Caverna Magica LP - CBS Records FM37827 - New Age USD $13.99 Buy It Now 8h 4m
Andreas Vollenweider - Down to the Moon LP - CBS Records FM42255 - New Age USD $9.99 Buy It Now 8h 4m
OST / "Plagio" Che Vuole Questa Musica Stasera FM-2045 EP wb8048 USD $4.99 [0 bids]
8h 5m
OST / "Il Ferroviere" Il Ferroviere FM-1001 EP wb8070 USD $4.99 [0 bids]
8h 5m
OST / "The Towering Inferno" We May Never Love Like This FM-1083 EP wb7842 USD $4.99 [0 bids]
8h 5m
OST / "Il Ferroviere" Il Ferroviere FM-2031 EP wb7685 USD $4.99 [0 bids]
8h 5m
CLASSIC FM-SMOOTH CLASSICS-THE ULTIMATE COLLECTION - NEW CD BOXSET USD $19.87 Buy It Now 8h 27m
FM Bad Luck (PS) 12" Vinyl USD $9.87 Buy It Now 8h 30m
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FM shows & tickets


  • FM - Heroes & Villains Tour on 3 May 2015
  • FM - Heroes & Villains Tour on 5 May 2015
  • FM - Heroes & Villains Tour on 6 May 2015
  • FM - Heroes & Villains Tour on 8 May 2015
  • FM - Heroes & Villains Tour on 9 May 2015
  • FM - Heroes & Villains Tour on 10 May 2015
  • Graspop Metal Meeting 2015 on 18 Jun 2015
  • Rock the Ring Festival on 19 Jun 2015
  • Bospop 2015 on 11 Jul 2015
  • Ramblin' Man Fair on 25 Jul 2015
  • Steelhouse on 25 Jul 2015
  • Helgeåfestivalen 2015 on 31 Jul 2015
  • Skogsröjet 2015 on 31 Jul 2015

FM discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

FM top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.04 | 93 ratings
Black Noise
1977
3.91 | 54 ratings
Headroom: Direct to Disc
1978
3.46 | 41 ratings
Surveillance
1979
3.11 | 32 ratings
City of Fear
1980
3.07 | 14 ratings
Con-Test
1985
2.10 | 12 ratings
Tonight
1987
0.00 | 0 ratings
Transformation
2015

FM Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

FM Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

0.00 | 0 ratings
Nearfest 2006
2014

FM Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.17 | 6 ratings
Retroactive: Archives I
1995

FM Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

FM Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Black Noise by FM album cover Studio Album, 1977
4.04 | 93 ratings

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Black Noise
FM Prog Related

Review by Aussie-Byrd-Brother
Special Collaborator Rock Progressivo Italiano Team

5 stars 1977's `Black Noise' by Canadian trio FM is their one sole defining near-classic album! While the band seem to constantly be compared to Rush and Saga (likely simply due to the similar Canadian background), there's really not too much on this album that sounds like those two acts. Instead, despite offering a few accessible and melodic rock tracks, `Black Noise' jump backs and forth between Kansas-styled violin-driven instrumentals and deep space synth dominated atmospheres not far off the 80's Eloy albums. Violin player, the future charismatic and fascinating performance artist Nash the Slash makes such a big impression here that the follow-up albums, while some of them not being without their own strong merits, couldn't hope to make the same impact as this one does.

Sleek vocal rocker opener `Phasers on Stun' drifts the closest to Saga, but with more opportunity for plentiful swirling mini-moog spirals and gleaming synths all round. The only thing that lets it down are some cheesy laser gun sound effects throughout, but they're hardly surprising when you look at the track name! `One O'Clock Tomorrow' races through several ideas within six minutes, with low-key violin, shiny synth outbursts and foot tapping vocal passages to open and close. The first instrumental `Hours' could have appeared on any early Kansas album (if they'd been looking after an alien colony on the moon as opposed to a grounded dirt farm back on Earth!), driven by searing violin, colourful synth loopiness and breakneck drum soloing all racing together with incredible energy. `Journey' is a pleasing pop-rocker with a chorus so catchy and memorable that it could have appeared on an early Alan Parsons Project album.

The short but joyful and upbeat instrumental `Dialling for Dharma' offers groovy slinking synths bubbling under atmospheric violin and some bashing drums. The absolute highlight of the album is another instrumental `Slaughter in Robot Village', a spiky, brooding spacerocker almost in the manner of early Hawkwind, full of urgency and thrashing power. Heavy and dramatic, snaking violin slithers along the background behind heavy pounding drumming and delirious synths. If you're curious about this album, do yourself a favour and investigate clips of this piece, and it will convince you right away to hunt the album down! `Alderberan' could almost be an outtake from the first three Collins- led Genesis albums, a sweet dreamy melody with a distant `Afterglow' quality floating throughout it. The almost ten minute closing title track is most ambitious of all, a spacey epic with long ambient passages, electronic drones, hypnotic vocals and rising mantra-like violin, with a nice run of grumbling slab-thick bass near the end.

Amazingly for an album that features no electric guitars, `Black Noise' still seriously rocks with great power and finesse. It achieves a perfect balance of accessible melodic rock music with impressive progressive technicality, the two woven together to strong and exciting arrangements. That combination is really not so easy to achieve, but FM get it spot on here. Nash the Slash would depart after this album, but the band would go on to record `Headroom: Direct to Disc', well-regarded by fans of the band. But the career highlight will always `Black Noise', a truly essential classic Seventies prog work.

Five stars.

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 Headroom: Direct to Disc by FM album cover Studio Album, 1978
3.91 | 54 ratings

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Headroom: Direct to Disc
FM Prog Related

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

2 stars Nash The Slash would soon get off the FM vehicle, as he thought that the presence of a drummer forced the band towards more commercial music.Ironically he pursued a solo career, which was way more commercial stylewise, compared to FM's early albums.He was replaced by Ben Mink, yet another violin/mandolin player of Canadian-Polish descent, who had previously played in the Folk Rock act Stringband.In late-77' the new FM trio visited the Phase One Recording Studios in Toronto and recorded a second album with the direct to disc recording method, lacking the use of recording tapes.The album was originally released in 1978 as ''Direct to disc'' on the small Labyrinth Records, while a few other reissues have surfaced later, some of them under the title ''Headroom''.

The album consists of only two sidelong tracks, each clocking at about 15 minutes.''Headroom'' is the introduction, a 5-theme piece, which combines elements from Jazz, Space Rock and Electronic Music.In fact this time FM sounded more focused and determined on the style they followed.Their sound was very polished and refined with melodic violin drives by Mink and a spacey bass performance by Hawkins, surrounded by the omnipresent synthesizers in an electronic enviroment.The music is pretty smooth with DIXIE DREGS references and very limited vocals, often passing through Lounge Jazz moments, ending up to be trully ethereal, but lacking some of the debut's dynamics.''Border crossing'' is divided in four parts and sounds a bit more Electronic-drenched that the opening piece, but also a bit more versatile.One certain reason are the opening notes, performed on electric mandolin and the constant change of moods.Electronic ambiences, Fusion orientations, a slight Neo Prog feel during the vocal parts and strong Classical hints towards the end, reminding of EDDIE JOBSON.There are however a couple of dead holes with minimalistic synths and effects in here, while FM insisted on playing on the dreamy side of Art Rock with the gears down and the atmosphere remains pretty calm all the way.

I could say that FM's approach on this effort was pretty genuine.But not passionate enough to keep the listener's full attention due to the lack of inner dynamics.Nice album for background listenings and propably for anyone into CLEARLIGHT-like Space Fusion...2.5 stars.

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 Black Noise by FM album cover Studio Album, 1977
4.04 | 93 ratings

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Black Noise
FM Prog Related

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

5 stars FM's black noise presents a talented trio sounding like a massive band thanks to Deller, Hawkins and Nash the Slash's fearsome technical chops and exciting, energetic compositions. Nash the Slash is the standout performer on here, making his sole album appearance with the band before he departed to continue his own eccentric solo career, because between his violin, mandolin and glockenspiel he is able to incorporate a dizzying variety of unexpected sonic textures into the band's work. Far from your typical power trio, FM here have a sound based on a mixture of symphonic prog, jazz fusion, and other genres of 1970s art rock and at points are able to attain a strange futuristic sound reminiscent of the electronic music of the coming decade. A prog classic.

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 Headroom: Direct to Disc by FM album cover Studio Album, 1978
3.91 | 54 ratings

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Headroom: Direct to Disc
FM Prog Related

Review by Sean Trane
Special Collaborator Prog Folk

4 stars Despite having lost their original (and very original) frontman Nash The Slash, FM managed to find some kind of deal that had them enter a studio and engrave directly a disc. This DTD process had become quite rare by the late 70's and was sometimes still used for demo acetates. This process implies that the direct engraving forbids any kind of mixing and production work, even down to overdubs, etc? So whatever was played in the take was final. Sure the band actually took four takes of each tracks of this "EP", and chose the better one. As you can guess, the "untouchable" results can be relatively raw and even have a jam feel at times, but fear not the overall results is astounding: difficult to be more demanding, and while not improvised, the music takes a slight JR/F slant at times, to counter (or complement) the space rock; the latter still being their main influence.

Just two lengthy instrumental tracks over this EP (lasting just about a half-hour), but both of them are divided in four or five movements. Opening on Headroom (giving the album's other name), the trio embarks on a breakneck speed movement, where Billy Cobham would not disown Deller's drumming. Yes, the feeling is very much JR/F during the Tyra movement, but as soon as the composition calms down the Reflections movements, the mood goes spacey (but not cosmic), but once the tempo picks up, it gets jam-like, notably in the closing movement Scarberia (a nickname for the eastern-county Scarborough, extending the Toronto city limits way out east). On the flipside, Border Crossing also reaches towards JR/F sonics, Mink almost pulling a Santana-like solo around 2:30. More spacey effects (sometimes dissonant) are happening during the second movement, The only time vocals are to be heard, they're muffled in deeply in the mix at the start of the third movement, but this doesn't mean that the track comes back to a sense of normalcy. Indeed, when FM crossed that border, there was no turning back, but the trio almost loses itself two thirds of the way into their cosmic expedition. Once they finally find their way, it's a slow jazzy violin (between Ponty and Lockwood) return to base.

This limited-number release DTD album had become quite rare (I lost my vinyl copy somewhere crossing the pond), because it had never seen, a reissue, beit in vinyl or on CD, until early 2013, when Esoteric finally released it, along with the splendid Black Noise and the band's following two albums (also never released legit), still with Ben Mink. Personally, if DTD/HR is absolutely essential, I find that both Surveillance (79) and City Of Fear (80) fail to maintain the level of their first two albums, so unlike this essential album, they're quite expandable, partly because they hold shorter AOR-formatted songs. In the meantime, despite the change of violin/guitarist (always a big gamble), DTD is definitely worthy of the excellent debut Black Noise.

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 Black Noise by FM album cover Studio Album, 1977
4.04 | 93 ratings

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Black Noise
FM Prog Related

Review by Menswear
Prog Reviewer

5 stars A lost gem, eh?

Indeed, these canucks are a rather pleasant surprise since I thought having heard everything Canada had to offer. FM is canadian as a moose with a Maple Leafs shirt dipped in maple syrup. The sound is typical Canada 80's and I might add that it's the closest sound to Rush' Signals I've heard so far. Good thing, I'm mad about Signals. Oh, and Neil Peart wore a tee of the band in an old Rush interview...that's what got me curious.

Everything is very well played, and even if they're only 3 (e-violin, drums, keys), they pack a rather thick sound. Not everything is perfect taste unfortunately, some parts are what I call a 'space-ballad' (alderberan and such) that only the 80's could regurgitate. Apart from the occasionnal cheese factor, this band is original (underlined) and somewhat spacey...think dry ice smoke with green laser.

In the recent years I fell for a band called Singularity. I thought their approach was irresistible, with lots of hypnotic synths and reverb vocals. Well I'll be damned, they ripped off FM. Like big time. It's sad to find that one of your favorite band is a clone, but I'm consolated by the finding of the anthologists of that particular sound!

Classic and original etherial sound. Colorful as the laser shows of the early 80's.

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 Headroom: Direct to Disc by FM album cover Studio Album, 1978
3.91 | 54 ratings

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Headroom: Direct to Disc
FM Prog Related

Review by Gooner
Prog Reviewer

5 stars Run! Do not walk to pick this up. It has now been officially released on CD on the great Esoteric Recordings label. 2 long tracks of prog rock greatness from the underrated year of 1978. It has all the hallmarks that fans of King Crimson, SFF, UK, mid-period Hawkwind and jazz rock have come to enjoy. If you relished FM's "Black Noise"...this one really kicked the door down for what FM was capable of. Tight, super-human drumming from Martin Deller, stratospheric vocals/spaced out keyboards from Cameron Hawkins and the warm yet at times rustic sounding electric violin of Ben Mink taking it over the top (yeah...THAT Ben Mink! The guy on Rush's "Losing It" from Signals). A little on the improv. side at the times but nothing too crazy like the crash and bang of Henry Cow. This is all "space". A soundtrack for riding the rings of Saturn. Recorded live directly to a lacquer in the studio with no overdubs. This is the real deal. Definitely a Canadian prog rock classic.

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 Surveillance  by FM album cover Studio Album, 1979
3.46 | 41 ratings

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Surveillance
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Review by b_olariu
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Third album of FM named Surveillance from 1979 is equaly loved by me as previous one. This time they gone almost Saga in manner of composing in places with more AOR atmosphere on some pieces with more mainstrema sound, but overall is more then ok , really, no bad moments at all. Still plenty to enjoy here, for prog listners like short Orion, Sofa back both excellent instrumental pieces showing that they are still in bussines. Also I like the vocal arrangements, nice smooth vocal parts, warm tone providing by Cameron Hawkins specially on Random harvest, really nice tune. Closing track Destruction is another highlit for me, strong one, intelligent instrumental parts. Seventh heaven has some great synthesizers, a nice one. All in all I like it, to me is same succesfuly as Direct to disc even as a clear mainstream direction. 3 stars rouned to 3.5.

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 Headroom: Direct to Disc by FM album cover Studio Album, 1978
3.91 | 54 ratings

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Headroom: Direct to Disc
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Review by b_olariu
Prog Reviewer

3 stars FM from Canada were a quite promissing band in late 70s opening concerts for Rush, Saga, etc and releasing a handfull of albums untill disbanding in 1988 as far as I know. Direct to disc was the second offer from this discret band issued in 1978 on vinyl and only this year 2013 the album saw the re issue on CD on Esoteric. Here we have only 2 pieces clocking around 32 min both, one piece for each side, and they are like a long jam session where each musician done a fairly decent job. To me FM sounds ike a combination of Jean Luc Ponty, because of Ben Mink violin giving a jazzier atmosphere, some spacey moments with intresting keyboards and all melted with prog rock ingredients, the result is intresting for sure. Specially the second track Border crossing is more close to my taste, but aswell the first is ok for sure. I like it, maybe as much as their next one Surveillance even they almost gone Saga in that period. 3.5 stars to this one, quite underrated band .

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 Headroom: Direct to Disc by FM album cover Studio Album, 1978
3.91 | 54 ratings

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Headroom: Direct to Disc
FM Prog Related

Review by Neu!mann
Prog Reviewer

4 stars I guess there was room in the late 1970s for only one superstar Prog Rock trio from Canada, and FM wasn't it. Their reputation never extended very far below the 49th parallel, maybe because the band employed a violin / mandolin ace instead of an electric guitarist, and played (at least on this album) a style of jazzy but accessible Space Rock that didn't lend itself to the increasingly narrow radio format referenced in their own name.

It's unfortunate too that the band's best album remains their least heard. The studio master disc was apparently lost, leaving only a limited handful of now very rare vinyl LPs to represent FM at its creative zenith (my own digital copy is a secondhand dupe, only recently re-acquired after stupidly purging the record from my music library long ago).

But the album was a unique achievement for the group, and well worth the detective work needed to find it today. The lack of magnetic tape in the original recording process provided a state-of-the-art clarity rarely heard in the pre-digital dark ages, but more than that the technique liberated their music in a way the band would never recapture. The performances, and the music itself, was looser here than anywhere else in their sporadic discography, and at the same time tighter than ever, presenting two LP-sides of spontaneous yet well-rehearsed jams, miles away from the more commercial, song-based output of other FM albums.

The authoritative punch of the opening bass lines (imagine Geddy Lee auditioning for a spot in the Mahavishnu Orchestra) paces off an introductory duel between keyboard / bass guitar player Cameron Hawkins and new violinist Ben Mink, replacing Nash the Slash after the latter defected to pursue a solo career. Each suite flows smoothly from one (mostly instrumental) movement to the next, seamlessly blending rockier synth and violin workouts with episodes of cybernetic, free-form Space Rock, showing none of the clichés (musical or lyrical) of the band's earlier "Black Noise" album.

It's hard to believe the entire thing was performed live in the studio, and even harder to reconcile the exciting results with the relative sellout of "Surveillance", released by the same line-up the following year. Call it what you want: bad timing; marketplace pressure; a lack of confidence in their own abilities...for whatever reason, it's a two-fold pity that a) the sound of the album was never developed further, and b) the original disc was misplaced. This kind of negative karma never happened to that other Canadian Prog trio.

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 Black Noise by FM album cover Studio Album, 1977
4.04 | 93 ratings

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Black Noise
FM Prog Related

Review by Neu!mann
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Guilty pleasures don't get much guiltier than this prime slice of Canadian Prog Rock. And not only guilty, but hereby convicted in the court of hindsight and sentenced to a slow, painless death by analog nostalgia.

Any overview of the music is going to read like a damning litany of Progressive sins: the ham- fisted sci-fi themes (including a song titled "Phasors On Stun", complete with Star Trek sound effects); the cheesy synthesizer runs (left over from the last Rick Wakeman album); and other assorted transgressions against good taste, like a violin/mandolin player with the dubious nom-de-prog of Nash the Slash, who would later tour alongside Gary Numan while swathed head-to-toe in surgical bandages, like Claude Rains portraying "The Invisible Man" (take a look at his undisguised mug shot on the inner LP sleeve to see what he was hiding...and why).

The musicianship is what saves the album, and the contagious songwriting. Every track has its hook, and every hook is catchy as hell. Nash the Slash (real name Jeff Playman, which apparently lacked the necessary rock star cachet) was a talent to be reckoned with, always challenging keyboard wizard Cameron Hawkins with his virtuoso electric violin solos, most effectively in the ten-minute title track. And Martin Deller was one of the smoothest drummers this side of Bill Bruford or Curt Cress, practicing an assertive yet swinging style that never failed to rock, even at its most subtle.

I loved the album as a kid, when I was too young to know any better. But only now, as a more jaded adult, can I fully appreciate its proggy charms, precisely because of (and not despite) all the dated clichés. It helps, of course, to have been there when the album was new. But, unlike a lot of music from the mid-1970s, the FM debut can still be heard without prejudice.

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