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FM

Prog Related • Canada


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FM biography
Founded in Toronto, Canada in 1976 - Disbanded in 1989 - Reformed in 1994-1996, 2006 and again since 2011

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 : : :

FM Videos (YouTube and more)


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Buy FM Music


The Italian Job (Live) (CD/DVD)The Italian Job (Live) (CD/DVD)
FRONTIERS MUSIC SRL 2019
$14.03
$14.20 (used)
MetropolisMetropolis
Riff Uk 2010
$13.15
$33.61 (used)
Atomic GenerationAtomic Generation
FRONTIERS MUSIC SRL 2018
$10.22
$10.17 (used)
IndiscreetIndiscreet
Remastered
ROCK CANDY 2012
$13.31
$11.99 (used)
Right Now on Ebay (logo)
Andreas Vollenweider - Down To The Moon FM 42255 USD $5.00 Buy It Now
Radio 1 FM sessions Vox Cassette 1990s Live Tapes 1 & 2 U2 Robert Plant Pulp USD $3.96 [0 bids]
Plus Grands Succes de Noel Ry [ECD] (CD, Jan-2006, 2 Discs, Rythme FM) USD $6.99 Buy It Now
Fm-surveillance-lp-original Lyric Sleeve-arista-4246 USD $2.99 Buy It Now
Classic FM - Classic Romance - Music For Lovers - CD Album - 12 Great Tracks USD $3.30 Buy It Now
THE CRANBERRIES-1996 RIF/CBC Pre-FM Michigan-EXCELLENT REEL TO REEL TAPE USD $100.00 Buy It Now
MONTEZUMA'S REVENGE "First Run" LP 1976 FANFARE STUDIOS FM 76051 USD $21.95 Buy It Now
The Classic FM Most Wanted (2006) New and Sealed USD $14.49 [0 bids]
FM - Tough It Out Epic Records Vinyl LP Hard Rock 1989 Bad Luck USD $15.81 [0 bids]
ROBINS NearMINT 45 MAGIC OF A DREAM ~MARY LOU LOVES TO HOOTCHY KOOTCHY KOO FM441 USD $24.00 Buy It Now
WOGL Oldies 98.1FM: Millennium's Greatest Hits, Volume 1 NEW CD USD $18.00 Buy It Now
ROUGH TRADE (ROCK/METAL GROUP) Crimes Of Passion 7" VINYL UK Fm 1985. Heavy Rock USD $3.30 [0 bids]
Smooth Classics - Do Not Disturb Classic FM Disc 4 CD Album USD $6.53 [0 bids]
Children's Hall of Fame Classic FM no. 76 CD Album USD $6.53 [0 bids]
Fm-Italian Job Cd+Dvd CD NEW USD $18.40 Buy It Now
CLASSIC FM ITALIAN OVERTURES 1998 CD ALBUM - NEW & SEALED USD $3.94 Buy It Now
WOGL OLDIES 98FM -1210AM GROUP SOUNDS VOLUME 2 NEW SEALED USD $5.00 Buy It Now
WCBS-FM-101 THE HISTORY OF ROCK THE ROCKIN 60'S NEW SEALED USD $5.00 Buy It Now
FM 'CITY OF FEAR' CD NEW SHIPS FREE TO CANADA & USA USD $15.00 Buy It Now
(IQ380) Classic FM: Aled Jones, One Voice - 2016 CD USD $4.60 Buy It Now
VARIOUS ARTISTS Cassette Album - THE RADIO 1FM SESSIONS VOLUME 2 (VOX GIVIT 10) USD $3.02 Buy It Now
John Williams Plays Paul Hart LP FM FM42332 EX/EX 1987 made in Holland, Plays Pa USD $7.91 [0 bids]
Vinyl LP, FM The Original Movie Soundtrack 1978 MCA2-12000 USD $19.99 Buy It Now
Felix And Me - CD Musical highlights from ABC classic FM ABC 476 176-2 2004) USD $14.17 Buy It Now
All Time Great String Solos (Classic FM) USD $3.49 Buy It Now
NEIL YOUNG PROMO LP "Rocking the free" former fm record USD $19.00 Buy It Now
Tony Mitchell - Beggars Gold +1 (2018) Japan CD+obi, Dante Fox, Dare, FM,Tyketto USD $26.99 Buy It Now
PAUL McCARTNEY 1993 NEW WORLD TOUR PENLIGHT / CAPITAL FM USD $9.22 Buy It Now
Echoes Of London LP (John Williams - 1986) FM 42119 (ID:15350) USD $10.00 Buy It Now
Echoes Of London LP (John Williams - 1986) FM 42119 (ID:15350) USD $8.57 Buy It Now
Paul Dianno S/T 1st Solo LP Clear Blue Vinyl FM Records 1984 Iron Maiden EX COND USD $20.00 [0 bids]
KROQ 106.7 FM - Summer 2002 Compilation - Jimmy Eat World - No Doubt - P.O.D. USD $3.99 Buy It Now
FM DE ZACAPA LA FUERZA MAYOR DEL MERENGUE CD - BRAND NEW USD $9.99 Buy It Now
'LIFE IS BEAUTIFUL' ABC Classic FM 2007 Australian Compilation Promo CD Album USD $3.54 [0 bids]
DJ Kokolo 80's FM Non Stop Old School Pop Party Mix Eighties (Mix CD) Mixtape USD $8.99 Buy It Now
R. Schumann - Humoreske Op. 20/Novelleten Op. 21/Son Pno (FM)/& [New CD] Spain - USD $26.50 Buy It Now
CLIMAX BLUES BAND FM LIVE DOUBLE LP VINYL VG+/VG+ SIRE RECORDS USD $4.90 Buy It Now
POWER 106 FM FUTURE FLAVAS WINTER 2002- MYSTIKAL- KILLER MIKE-CD USD $3.98 Buy It Now
12" VINYL - FM - ONLY THE STRONG SURVIVE - UNPLAYED USD $5.28 Buy It Now
Head Room direct to disc Limited Edition Rock Recording Prog Rock Trio FM USD $19.99 [0 bids]
USD $25.99 Buy It Now
WDAS 105.3FM: Classic Soul Hits, Volume 10 NEW CD USD $14.41 Buy It Now
WDAS 105.3FM: Classic Soul Hits, Vol. 5 by Various Artists (CD, Nov-2000, 2 Disc USD $8.95 Buy It Now
ANDREAS VOLLENWEIDER-DOWN TO THE MOON-CBS RECORDS FM 42255-INSERT-LP USD $2.99 Buy It Now
'CLUB HITZ' 2001 Australian Compilation CD - Hitz FM Clubhitz USD $3.54 [0 bids]
2000 96.4 FM BRMB Party In The Park 2 Tickets (Alexander Stadium) (28 August) USD $1.32 [0 bids]
TONY SORACI "Self Titled" FM-77021 Vinyl LP 33 Vocal Pop Album EX Stereo 1977 USD $10.00 Buy It Now
CITY FM ~ Volume 1 ~ 2 CD Album ~ GC ~ FREE POST! USD $6.73 Buy It Now
SCHUBERT TROUT QUINTET : A CLASSIC FM CD INC ARPEGGIONE SONATA USD $4.35 Buy It Now
THE LOOP FM98 AM1000 FAMILY ALBUM 1990 LOOP RECORDS SEALED USD $19.95 [0 bids]
opera arias and duets a classic fm cd inc flower duet pearl fisher's duet etc. USD $3.92 Buy It Now
STATETROOPER - S/T- OOP 1987 FM RECORDS IMPORT WKFM LP91 LP VG+ EX USD $15.00 Buy It Now
MEADOWLARK SINGERS s/t LP Jewel 0018 gospel Fm496 USD $18.00 Buy It Now
MARVELETTES Greatest Hits LP Tamla 235 motown soul 1966 compilation Fm502 USD $18.00 Buy It Now
Brenda Lee Coming On Strong 7" vinyl single record South African FM.7284 DECCA USD $39.17 Buy It Now
The Spydels ?SOUL doowop R&B orig.ADDIT 45 Big Mc Goon b/w We're In Love FM455 USD $12.95 Buy It Now
7" ANN LEWIS I?fm A Lonely Rady /Love Me Tonight SV6598 VICTOR JAPAN Vinyl USD $7.28 Buy It Now 8m 15s
Mirage Summer Grooves Flamingo FM127 Soul Northern Motown USD $98.91 Buy It Now 16m 8s
MANDRILL Is 1972 STEREO Polydor #5025 LP early FM underground favorite USD $16.99 Buy It Now 17m 6s
LARRY WALKER AND ORCHESTRA.CALCUTTA LP PIROUETTE.FM 83.STEREO.VG+. USD $4.00 Buy It Now 20m 3s
FM (No Static At All) Steely Dan UK 7" vinyl single record MCA374 MCA 1978 USD $14.44 Buy It Now 37m 32s
Magnum Chase The Dragon vinyl LP album record German WKFMLP112 FM 1988 USD $24.99 Buy It Now 38m 53s
FREE US SHIP. on ANY 3+ CDs! USED,MINT CD Various Artists: Hot Power 106 FM Mixe USD $5.99 Buy It Now 47m 44s
MULTI-STORY THROUGH YOUR EYES LP 12" VINYL VINYL 1987 VG/VG + FM UK EDITION USD $23.73 Buy It Now 47m 57s
FM COAST TO COAST LP 12" VINYL VINYL WEST GERMAN EDITION 1987 VG/VG FM RECORDS USD $22.54 Buy It Now 48m 5s
Bombers Let's Dance UK 12" vinyl single record (Maxi) 12-FM4 FLAMINGO 1979 USD $15.76 Buy It Now 48m 53s
Various-Pop EQX 25th Anniversary USA CD album (CDLP) MTJ9300 EQX FM 2006 USD $21.75 Buy It Now 53m
Sweet Africa Volume 2 CD MCM Africa -Africa No1 FM 107.5-DMS Entertainment 1997 USD $5.95 Buy It Now 56m 44s
98.7FM Los Angeles Live CD 2008 OneRepublic KATY PERRY Gavin Rossdale THE KOOKS USD $5.99 [0 bids]
USD $7.99 Buy It Now
58m 18s
Lite FM: Body & Soul - NEW! CD ,KOOL GANG,TEMPTATIONS,SHAI,MARVIN GAYE,SMOKEY USD $5.88 Buy It Now 1h 4m
Let Love Be The Leader FM box set UK MERVB1 CBS 1987 USD $24.99 Buy It Now 1h 9m
Original Soundtrack FM: The Original M... UK 2-LP (Double ) USD $21.43 Buy It Now 1h 17m
VINTAGE 1964 THE BIG 3 LIVE AT THE RECORDING STUDIO RECORD FM RECORDS FM311 USD $9.95 Buy It Now 1h 19m
CD WCBS FM 101 History of Rock: 60s Part 2 Original Artists/Recordings 24 Hits! USD $7.20 Buy It Now 1h 31m
Useless & Modern by FM Knives (CD, Mar-2003, Broken Rekids) USD $3.99 Buy It Now 1h 39m
Boogie Man Match 7" vinyl single record UK FM2 FLAMINGO 1979 USD $13.77 Buy It Now 1h 43m
George Carlin FM & AM Little David LD 7214 (VG+ Condition) USD $5.00 Buy It Now 1h 45m
Climax Blues Band-FM/Live-Sire Records-SAS 2 7411 USD $5.59 Buy It Now 1h 46m
The Now Wave 45 rpm 7" Single Sampler Promo With Station Stickers KGB FM USD $2.99 [0 bids]
1h 53m
FM Everytime I Think Of You 7" vinyl single record UK DINK2 EPIC 1989 USD $9.17 Buy It Now 1h 56m
ALFREDO GUTIERREZ Y SU CONJUNTO "DOS / CUIDAO QUE TE ENAMORAS", 45 rpm on FM USD $1.99 [0 bids]
2h
Fashion 7" vinyl single record Citinite UK FM002 FASHION MUSIC 1979 USD $13.11 Buy It Now 2h 10m
FM Frozen Heart UK 7" vinyl single record DIDGED1 PORTRAIT 1986 USD $13.11 Buy It Now 2h 14m
FM 12" vinyl single record (Maxi) Bad Luck (Extended Version) UK 6550316 EPIC USD $14.43 Buy It Now 2h 14m
FM 12" vinyl single record (Maxi) Someday (You'll Come Running) UK DINKT1 EPIC USD $15.75 Buy It Now 2h 14m
Classic FM Paul McCartney and Wings magazine UK 2006 USD $15.10 Buy It Now 2h 23m
SEALED CBS Placido DOMINGO "Adoro" Popular Mexican Songs FM-37284 USD $8.95 Buy It Now 2h 24m
Zombies Tell Her No South African 7" vinyl single record FM.7-7128 DECCA 1964 USD $52.36 Buy It Now 2h 34m
Macc Lads vinyl LP album record Bitter Fit Crack UK WKFMLP100 FM 1987 USD $18.40 Buy It Now 2h 38m
FM (UK) - INDISCREET/TOUGH IT OUT [REMASTER] NEW CD USD $18.38 Buy It Now 2h 39m
Only The Strong Survive FM UK 7" vinyl single record KUT145 MUSIC FOR NATIONS USD $13.11 Buy It Now 2h 47m
FM Someday 7" vinyl single record UK DINK1 EPIC 1989 USD $14.44 Buy It Now 2h 50m
George Soule Get Involved 7" vinyl single record USA FM-XW302-W FAME 1973 USD $52.36 Buy It Now 2h 51m
FM Let Love Be The Leader shaped picture disc vinyl record UK MERVP1 PORTRAIT USD $23.67 Buy It Now 2h 55m
White Sister Ticket To Ride 12" vinyl single record (Maxi) UK 12VHF32 FM 1986 USD $14.43 Buy It Now 3h 2m
Wrathchild Nukklear Rokket 7" vinyl single record UK VHF50 FM 1989 USD $13.11 Buy It Now 3h 3m
Classic FM / The Passion Of Puccini - MINT USD $2.64 Buy It Now 3h 24m
BONDI FM ?~ presents Beach Vibes Vol.1 [RARE] ~ 2 CD Album ~ Like NEW! USD $7.44 Buy It Now 3h 33m
FM (CANADA) - BLACK NOISE USED - VERY GOOD CD USD $12.34 Buy It Now 4h 6m
Ammer + Unit/Crashing Aeroplanes (Fm 4.5.1. CD 0538-2) CD Album USD $48.68 Buy It Now 4h 12m
Classic FM No.191a - Movie Music Vol.1 (CD 2010) SEALED, FAST FREE POST USD $4.29 [0 bids]
4h 33m

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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)

4.10 | 141 ratings
Black Noise
1977
3.68 | 86 ratings
Direct To Disc [Aka: Head Room]
1978
3.33 | 63 ratings
Surveillance
1979
2.96 | 48 ratings
City Of Fear
1980
2.34 | 21 ratings
Con-Test
1985
1.76 | 19 ratings
Tonight
1987
3.91 | 38 ratings
Transformation
2015

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

3.30 | 8 ratings
Retroactive: FM Archives Volume 1
1995
4.18 | 9 ratings
Nearfest 2006
2014

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

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

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

FM Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Transformation by FM album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.91 | 38 ratings

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Transformation
FM Prog Related

Review by kenethlevine
Special Collaborator Prog-Folk Team

4 stars After a few live reunions over the 1990s and 2000s, FM began making noises about new material. The sudden passing of Nash the Slash IN 2014 meant that any further reunion would fall short of the "original" billing, and, as "Transformation" took shape, Ben Mink and Martin Deller were missing as well. Hence only Cameron Hawkins remains from the old days, accompanied by acclaimed drummer Paul DeLong and not one but two string players.

Even in their heyday FM skirted the fringes of progressive rock, melding it with pop and conventional rock of the day with middling to superb results. Given that 2015 was 35 years distant from even the small p prog efforts of this band, what hope did we have? Luckily it appears that Cameron Hawkins was buoyed by the band's reception at NEARFest 2006 and the prospect of crafting a meaningful gift for those fans and perhaps for his more deeply felt convictions. With "Transformation", he has achieved both without retreating into the band's former glories.

While references to the long gone days are apparent in his still youthful voice, the optimistic tones, and the ubiquitous strings, this effort is also more reliant on acoustic violin, viola and mandolin than before, and its spirit is more adventurous while respecting the tenets of modern vocal oriented rock in the best way imaginable. I normally don't play this trump card let alone care about it, but I hear the time signatures are all over the map here, which makes the accessibility of the tunes all the more praiseworthy. I can only think of one other relatively recent reunion that succeeds in eclipsing most of the artists' original classics, that being the second album by the even more obscure "Fuchsia". It is noteworthy that both albums are characterized by prominent strings, but otherwise have little in common.

Really, "Transformation" is that good. From the opening notes of "Brave New Worlds", I am absorbed into its idealistic grooves, luminous auras, and radiant melodies. "Cosmic Blue" is not as catchy but with some expressive violin excursions, including a spacey interlude, and dissonant harmonies, "Reboot Reawaken" is slightly more poppy and actually reminds me of a fine 1990s group called "Ocean Blue". The ending part assumes the prog mantle again. "Safe and Sound" is the most chamber like of all the tracks, all the strings playing the lead role, in a manner of ALAN PARSONS at his best. I admit part of me is wary that Mr Hawkins has found Jesus, but "The Love Bomb's slightly cheesy lyrics are devoid of that form of devotion, although I am not a fan of its plodding pace and Yes-like falsettos. The closing piece "Heaven on Earth" marks a more authentic homage to that band, with pleasantries plucked by mandolin, and what sounds like incognito flute but is probably keys from Hawkins.

I'm not as taken with "Children of Eve" and "Soldiers of Life" but they are among the more audacious pieces here and are sure to find some fans among us; I just think FM works best in the more accessible realms and always has. Cameron Hawkins should be very proud of this achievement which has been quietly collecting kudos all over the web. "Transformation" reflects a bold resolution to flourish and freshen with age, while never forgetting one's roots. 3.5 stars rounded up.

 Tonight by FM album cover Studio Album, 1987
1.76 | 19 ratings

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Tonight
FM Prog Related

Review by kenethlevine
Special Collaborator Prog-Folk Team

2 stars Only two years passed between "Con-test" and the 1987 release "Tonight", but FM had nonetheless withstood another lineup change, adding several well known names of the Canadian scene and a full time electric guitarist for the first time. Most of the better cuts here are offered in the first half, including the catchy "Magic in Your Eyes" and "Dream Girl", and the ambiently textured "Alone Together" that includes a fine power ballad lead guitar solo. The album might be a bit lighter in feel than "Con-test" but that's not necessarily a positive. The nadir is struck with a poor adaptation of a song that I doubt many of us pine for, "Good Vibrations", but that's only the most egregious misstep. "I'm not bad" and "Lost in Thought" are not even up to the modest standards being set by the FM of the mid 1980s.

"Tonight" is essentially another undistinguished album of 1980s rock from FM, aimed at keeping the band viable through difficult times. If it did succeed, apparently it wasn't enough, for this would be the last major release by FM until 2015. Avoid.

 Con-Test by FM album cover Studio Album, 1985
2.34 | 21 ratings

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Con-Test
FM Prog Related

Review by kenethlevine
Special Collaborator Prog-Folk Team

2 stars FM was a band dogged by misfortune during their critical early years, not the least of which was their propensity to sign with previously reliable record labels just before they went belly up, sort of like the hapless investor who always buys high and sells low. These of course severely curtailed whatever promotional boost might have been granted, and then came the 'dead prog' era of the mid 1980s, and the departure of Ben Mink. FM appeared left for dead, when their fortunes were resurrected by none other than original member Nash the Slash, who rejoined and signed them to Quality Records just before it too dropped the oar.

The recorded result of this chaotic time was 'Con-test', which did mark a modest return to the Canadian airwaves, in a far more streamlined and compressed form than hitherto imaginable. Through their 4 prior releases FM always retained sufficient prog quotient to avoid the sell-out label, but here they are in survival mode, which is pretty much as kind as I can be. This is moderately catchy 1980s rock with a steady electronic beat, distorted keys and guitars, the latter courtesy of Mink himself as a guest member, and repetitive vocal hooks.

Several of the best tunes here like 'Just Like You', 'We Hold on' and 'Distant Early Warning' ' approach the style and substance of the ROCKWELL hit 'Somebody's Watching me', or GOLDEN EARRING's 'Twilight Zone' from the same era, that is, catchy, slightly paranoid songs that rely on repetition and a hook or two, blended with some old school 1960s pop typical of that era. Even at that level, 'Con-test' is kind of a flop because FM never really had the tools to write a bona fide hit. Not much space is given for solos or instrumental fireworks, but 'The Only way to win' has a pretty intro on electric mandolin and some appealing keyboard touches. In fact, half the songs here are somewhat enjoyable to listen to, but the closing two numbers are excruciatingly difficult, indicating that even highly compromised inspiration had its limits.

As a prog album, 'Con-test' is a scam; as a rock album of its time, it's actually more than competent. For you to decide.

 Surveillance by FM album cover Studio Album, 1979
3.33 | 63 ratings

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Surveillance
FM Prog Related

Review by kenethlevine
Special Collaborator Prog-Folk Team

3 stars In the contrivance of memories, accuracy be damned, "Surveillance" was FM's follow up to the classic "Black Noise" release. For almost 40 years I paid it no mind, for I had seen the band around the time of its release and was appalled by the foul sci fi pop of "Rocket Roll" as well as the cover of "Things to Come", while probably not being quite ready for the esoteric pieces they may have performed from this album. The gulf between the exhilarating "Phasors on Stun" and "Rocket Roll" is as wide as any I can think of between opening numbers of "successive" releases.

That major misstep aside, this is actually far superior than I could have imagined. The vibe is pretty consistently upbeat, and cool enough to compensate for the seriousness of the lyrics. On the basis of the lightheartedness of this fare, it's hard to believe it's the same group that produced the foreboding epic "Black Noise" but, even more so, the relentlessly dark album "City of Fear" that followed. The best two tracks here occur back to back. "Seventh Heaven" is a thoroughly enjoyable self referential goodbye to the 1970s and look ahead to the 1980s. It also seems to have inspirited the entire early catalogue of Bahraini prog band OSIRIS who, if anything, improved on the blueprint. "Father Time" is a vivacious slightly jazzy number that is enriched by Hawkins' vocalizations in the break.

Several instrumentals amply manifest that the proggy FM is still around if truncated. "Horizons" and "Random Harvest" are a bit too similar but with plenty of oblique angles demarcated throughout to keep them fresh. "Destruction" is more complex, robust on the outside and tender within. Even "Shapes of things" is not as dire as my younger petulant self might have hastily decreed.

The main weaknesses of the album are that it lacks absolutely brilliant tracks that both "Black Noise" and "City of Fear" possessed in the plural, and that it might be a tad more keyboard dominated than an album by a band with an electric mandolinist has any right to be. It makes up for these by perhaps being the most consistent FM album of the early years, and, as such, "Surveillance" merits your scrutiny.

 Direct To Disc [Aka: Head Room] by FM album cover Studio Album, 1978
3.68 | 86 ratings

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Direct To Disc [Aka: Head Room]
FM Prog Related

Review by kenethlevine
Special Collaborator Prog-Folk Team

2 stars While one can spot references to the prior "Black Noise" as well as hints later incorporated in "Surveillance", "Direct to Disk" or "Headroom" is largely a one-off in the FM discography. My recollection is that "Black Noise" didn't really get much attention until a couple of years after release, so this recording was made in a vacuum of sorts, and perhaps as a way to bond with the new violinist/mandolinist Ben Mink who had already replaced Nash the Slash..

Vocals are sparse and buried in the mix when present, and the styles range from flourishing PONTY like jazz to MAHIVISHNU like spaciness and back again, the rhythm section amply propping up the electric strings and keyboards. Each of the two long pieces are subdivided but it's a challenge to discern where one movement ends and the next begins. Ultimately, while the band playing is rather tight given the improvised nature of the material, and highly skilled bordering on virtuous at times, this is only fleetingly engaging music, which is ultimately how I judge material, prog or not. Direct to Disk is as good an argument for FM as a full fledged prog rock band as any release, but it's not even close to their finest moment. 2.5 stars rounded down.

 Black Noise by FM album cover Studio Album, 1977
4.10 | 141 ratings

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Black Noise
FM Prog Related

Review by Walkscore

3 stars The Quintessential FM album.

The first album by FM was only released for a short run on a special CBC record label, and only after the song "Phasers on Stun" became played frequently on some radio stations (after they had already released their second album) did this album get a proper release (on Passport records, which eventually went under). This is the quintessential FM album, and despite the difficult start, the best known, largely due to "Phasers on Stun". That song is really great, containing a progressive ethos but with some new wave electronica mixed in, it is understandable why it was played so often. The rest of the album is largely in the same vein, although with nothing quite so catchy as Phasers. The second side (of the vinyl) is the better one. "Dialing for Dharma", "Slaughter in Robot Village" and particularly the closing title track, "Black Noise", are great (indeed the title track is awesome). The other tracks are, well, middling, and were it not for being on this album would not likely garner much attention, although they are all pleasant enough. While this band only made a small mark on the history of music, even in Canada, this album stands as their most important testament to that mark. I give this album 7.1 out of 10 on my 10-point scale, which translates to 3 PA stars.

 Black Noise by FM album cover Studio Album, 1977
4.10 | 141 ratings

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Black Noise
FM Prog Related

Review by Luqueasaur

5 stars The 70's, as seen by the 80's: 9/10

Insane guitar reverb, powerful synth, eclectic electronic apparatus, an accomplished drummer... BLACK NOISE is hardly what one would suspect to be a masterpiece within the progressive genre.

Putting into perspective a progressive fan enjoys synthesisers - after all, symphonic prog is the strongest subgenre here - and there are very few "pop" characteristics here, aside from the exaggerated focus on melody (isn't this what makes one album mainstream, anyway?), I don't feel it's a stretch to call this progressive.

The Canadian trio FM brought during the apex of progressive weakening and synthpop/new-wave's awakening an album that merges both genres into a hybrid creation. It features a masterful blending of the old and new in the late 70's. The plethora of electronic paraphernalia fielded here (Arp 2500 synth, electric mandolin/violin) goes in harmony with the conventional instruments (drums, electric guitar, bass, piano, ...voice). The very idea of using the common music of the time - that is, classic rock - and infusing in it a rather unexplored field - the electronic-focused music - is by itself the most progressive thing those guys did.

When you give this a listen, I can guarantee you right away on Phasors on Stun you'll feel as if Martin, Cameron and Nash are toying with you, for the powerful emotional grasp the very first resonating guitar strings picked and Cameron's hopeful voice are adhesive. As aforementioned, the trio has given focus to melody, which indirectly implies emotionally evocative tracks. After this, another characteristic you can tell right away by looking at the cover is that, well, this is a very spacey album. To be honest, I'm surprised this is on the "prog-related" category and not psychedelic/space rock.

The lyrics have science fiction theme. For instance, Phasors on Stun is about the weapon Phasors from Star Trek being on stun mode, Journey and Aldebaran are about a mass escapade to intergalactic planets, and Slaughter on Robot Village is pretty self-explanatory.

Now to each track:

Phasors on Stun is very emotional, there is a potent presence of guitar as well vocals in here. Although it has no correlation with the track itself, the overall feeling here is positive, which is delightful. The second best on the album.

One O'Clock Tomorrow is even more cheerful than the earlier track and much more synth-focused. It's also slightly slower and feels lighter.

Hours reminds me so damn much of Camel. The main line features the electric violin & the piano and an amazing Mirage-like synth solo, followed by a drums solo. It's perhaps the most unique of all the tracks.

Journey is highly energetic and more technical than all previous tracks, MARTIN really does a superb job on the drumming. The chorus feels absolute 80's - synthpop at its finest. The third best on the album.

Dialling for Dharma is the next instrumental track with various appearances of different synth techniques. The percussion is very important to settle the atmosphere on this one.

Slaughter in Robot Village evokes me images of nighttime in urban metropolises, it is more aggressive and darker than any other track on the album; not to mention it is the most psychedelic.

Aldebaran is my little sweetheart, being the most emotion-fueled track of them album. It's like PHASORS ON STUN on steroids, except it's much slower, mellower, melodic and hopeful (regarding CAMERON's vocals). Even the solo, which speeds up the tempo feels highly soulful. The best track the album.

Black Noise is the song I have least listened to, but it feels like those gritty 70's metal tracks (you know, like a sad Scorpions song), with almost ten minutes of duration, a tempo slower than Aldebaran, long ambience sound and a bass so potent METALLICA's PULLING TEETH seems toe-to-toe in comparison.

He who judges a book by its cover can lose the opportunity to listen what the 80's discotheques would play should prog never faltered. This is pretty much what one could consider "progressive new-wave", or perhaps "mainstream space rock" if you're more like it. I guess that's gonna sell this better here, yeah? By the way, I recommend reading Aussie-Byrd-Brother's detailed and adjective spoonful review on the same album.

For anyone out here who constantly delve into Symphonic Prog, Krautrock, Prog Electronic, Space Rock or Neo- Prog, give this a shot. You'll be taken to a trip to the 80's with the perspective of 70's musicians. And it's a hell of a trip.

 Direct To Disc [Aka: Head Room] by FM album cover Studio Album, 1978
3.68 | 86 ratings

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Direct To Disc [Aka: Head Room]
FM Prog Related

Review by Walkscore

3 stars This is the second album from this Toronto-based band, and one with a very interesting history. The album was originally called "Direct to Disc", and this is because it was recorded in one go, very literally direct to disc (or rather direct to special vinyl cutting machinery, producing the vinyl lacquer used to produce the metal stamps for stamping new vinyl albums. This limited the length to about 16 minutes per side, as that is the limit to how much room the lacquer had). The title "Headroom" was added later after MCA records threatened to sue their label because MCA had released the soundtrack to the film 'FM' and did not want this band's record to conflict with their sales strategy. So, 'Headroom: Direct to Disc' it became for later pressings and the international releases of this album. Even more interesting is that only 20,000-30,000 copies of the album could be made from each lacquer, because each lacquer could only make one metal stamp, and that wore out after printing/stamping that many copies. For this album, the limit came at 26,000 copies. After the record sold this many, the record company had to find another lacquer to print the albums. FM recorded their songs four times, creating four lacquers. The last one was consider the best take, and so the first 26,000 albums printed used that lacquer. However, once that limit had been reached, the record company had to use a different lacquer, and so went with the second-best takes. So, anyone who bought later pressings of the album was buying different versions of the songs than those who bought the first 26,000 copies!

The version I am reviewing is the remaster CD re-release on Esoteric Recordings. The sound quality is excellent, and this uses the original versions of the songs (from the first 26,000 pressings). The music is relatively sparse - because it was recorded in one go direct to disc, there are no overdubs, and no opportunities to tweak any errors. With only three musicians, the recording has a very airy and sparse feel to it. It also have a very 'live in your basement' feel (augmented, I think, from the excellent remastered sound quality). This is both the album's strength, and its weakness. Strength - it feels very present, sincere and authentic, the direct opposite to typical over-produced rock music. The music combines classic 1970s progressive rock feel with early electronica and is one of the few bands with an electric violin player. Furthermore, there are solos on this, and the band stretches out in places, which is quite nice. Weakness - in order to get the best out of the compositions, the music here I think could actually benefit from more intricate arrangements, and from more instrumentation (ie overdubs). On the second side there is a drum solo, which is very nice (and I wish there were more drum solos recorded on contemporary albums), but on this track makes it drag out a bit. Compositionally, the music seems a bit rushed, like they had to finish the compositions shortly before recording them, instead of taking them out on the road and refining them based on how they sound played live.

On the whole, this experimental album has an important and unique, if somewhat minor, place in progressive rock history. It is good, but not brilliant. It makes very interesting first, and maybe second, listens, but I doubt one will want to put it on after that. I always listen to an album multiple times before I review it, as albums usually reveal their musicality over subsequent listens, and the best ones get better with each additional listen. This one started becoming boring after the third listen for me. I give this 6.9 out of 10 on my 10-point scale, which translates to 3 PA stars.

 Tonight by FM album cover Studio Album, 1987
1.76 | 19 ratings

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Tonight
FM Prog Related

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

1 stars One of the Beach Boys strapped to the snowy Canadian landscape?

One decade after FM's debut album they put out Tonight, which was to be their last album (until 2015's Transformation). Together with the previous Con-Test from 1985, Tonight is FM at their worst. This album is very much of its time and that is not a good thing when the time in question is the mid-1980's! All traces of progressive Rock are eradicated and the band's trademarks are pretty much completely gone. FM are close to New Wave territory here with the music found on Tonight often reminding me of The Cars. The melodies are slightly more catchy than on the dull Con-Test, but in the end these albums are no more than barely listenable.

They pull off a lame cover of The Beach Boys Good Vibrations which is as cold as the snowy landscape on the cover image. At first I didn't notice the snow covered human body in the middle of the picture, oddly strapped to the ground preventing it from floating off! Actually, the cover art is the best thing about this album.

Not recommended unless you are a FM completionist.

 Retroactive: FM Archives Volume 1 by FM album cover Live, 1995
3.30 | 8 ratings

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Retroactive: FM Archives Volume 1
FM Prog Related

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

3 stars Hideaway

Retroactive is a live album from the mid 1990's capturing FM in concert in their native Canada. The set list includes two originals from each of the band's albums Black Noise (1977), Surveillance (1979), and City Of Fear (1980), plus two covers in The Who's Baba O'Riley and Yardbirds' Shapes Of Things (FM's version of the latter was also included on their Surveillance album). The remaining two songs of Retroactive - Hideaway and This Lonely World - I'm not sure from where they originate, and given that I hadn't heard these before in any form they are among the most interesting tracks here. Overall, the set list offers a very nice cross- section of songs from the band's early career as well as a nod to their influences.

The quality of the performance as well as the recording is very high, and this is a thoroughly enjoyable live record. Comparing to the more recent NEARFest 2006 live album and video, Retroactive falls somewhat behind, but it is still a good album in its own right and a valuable companion. Some of the tracks appear on both of these live releases, and having heard NEARFest 2006 before the present album, it is those tracks that were not included on the NEARFest album that are for me the most interesting ones. This includes the aforementioned Hideaway and This Lonely World, but also Horizons from Surveillance and the title track from City Of Fear.

A strong live release, outshining most of the band's studio albums!

Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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