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FM

Prog Related • Canada


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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


Black Noise: DeluxeBlack Noise: Deluxe
Import
Imports 2014
Audio CD$10.51
$13.70 (used)
TransformationTransformation
Import
Esoteric 2015
Audio CD$8.63
$8.89 (used)
Takin It to the StreetsTakin It to the Streets
Import
Krescendo 2008
Audio CD$8.56
$9.47 (used)
Nearfest 2006: DeluxeNearfest 2006: Deluxe
Import
Imports 2014
Audio CD$10.99
$11.00 (used)
Heroes And VillainsHeroes And Villains
Frontiers Music Srl 2015
Audio CD$6.99
$6.99 (used)
Right Now on Ebay (logo)
Summertime (CD, Jun-2011, Classic FM) USD $15.14 Buy It Now
Various Artists - I Love Dubstep mixed by Geeneus & Youngsta RINSE FM RINSECD07 USD $7.94 Buy It Now
SEALED WCBS FM101 HISTORY OF ROCK PART 4 LP MAMAS & PAPAS DION CHIFFONS ETC USD $9.99 Buy It Now
Favourite Christmas Classics - Classic FM, Music Collection No.133b USD $1.33 Buy It Now
The Great Encores - Classic FM, Music Collection No. 128, inc Liszt, Chopin USD $1.33 Buy It Now
Wish FM 96.1: The Progressive Electro Revolution (CD, Mar-1996, Domestic) USD $4.49 Buy It Now
Live at the Metro - WBCN 104 FM - Various Artists - LP USD $10.99 Buy It Now
NEW HouseTime.FM (Audio CD) USD $27.36 Buy It Now
FM CD - HEROES AND VILLAINS (2015) - NEW UNOPENED - FRONTIERS RECORDS USD $16.99 Buy It Now
Roosevelt Raceway Westbury September 1974 FM Broadcast USD $20.21 Buy It Now
FM - Love Lies Dying ( Vinyl 12") 1986. FULLY AUTOGRAPHED. + Page Advert FREE USD $52.99 Buy It Now
CLASSIC FM "The Essential Piano Album" cd (2007) USD $6.61 Buy It Now
Falling Mountain Music - Making Music Matter (2006 FM-1046) New Sealed CD USD $12.50 Buy It Now
The Big 3 - Mama Cass Elliott, Tim Rose, James Hendricks ORIGINAL FM LP w/sleeve USD $7.99 Buy It Now
4FM10004 EUGENE LIST/CAROLL GLENN Strauss Violin etc USD $16.89 Buy It Now
CFMAGCD 132 VARIOUS Classic FM Essential Dinner Party Classics CD USD $5.63 Buy It Now
CFMAGCD 183A VARIOUS Classic FM 50 Greatest Composers 2x CD USD $7.88 Buy It Now
CFMAGCD 53 VARIOUS ARTISTS Classic FM The Best of 99 CD USD $5.63 Buy It Now
CFMAGCD 186A VARIOUS Classic FM Hall of Fame Hits 2010 Volume 1 CD USD $5.63 Buy It Now
CFMAGCD 150A VARIOUS Classic FM The 2007 Hall of Fame Volume 1 CD USD $5.63 Buy It Now
CFMAGCD 160A VARIOUS Classic FM The Great Composers Volume 1 CD USD $5.63 Buy It Now
CFMAGCD 83 VARIOUS Classics to Go: Best of Classic FM Lunchtime Requests CD USD $5.63 Buy It Now
CFM GC 01 VARIOUS Classic FM Discover Bach CD USD $5.63 Buy It Now
CFMAGCD 187 VARIOUS Classic FM Hall of Fame Hits 2010 Volume Three CD USD $7.88 Buy It Now
CFMAGCD 165 VARIOUS Classic FM Summer Serenade Music for Sun Drenched Days CD USD $5.63 Buy It Now
CFMAGCD 110 VARIOUS Classic FM Essential Opera CD USD $5.63 Buy It Now
CFMAGCD 175 VARIOUS ARTISTS Classic FM Gershwin Collection CD USD $7.88 Buy It Now
CFMAGCD 154A VARIOUS Classic FM Favourite Requests Volume 1 CD USD $7.88 Buy It Now
CFMAGCD 155 VARIOUS Classic FM The Essential Piano Album CD USD $7.88 Buy It Now
CFMAGCD 125 VARIOUS ARTISTS Classic FM Best of British CD USD $5.63 Buy It Now
CFMAGCD 180 VARIOUS ARTISTS Classic FM Classics for Remembrance CD USD $5.63 Buy It Now
BOB DYLAN 10" WHITE VINYL - WTTW STUDIOS CHICAGO SEPT 10 1975 -WBAI-FM NEW YORK USD $39.74 [0 bids]
FM - Dead Man's Shoes CD CASTLE 1995 OOP ENGLISH IMPORT USD $9.99 [0 bids]
French Passion - Classic Fm, Music Collection No.26 USD $1.72 Buy It Now
Classic Romance - Classic FM, Music Collection No. 81, Dvorak, Mozart USD $1.59 Buy It Now
VARIOUS ARTISTS Classic FM The Album 2x CD USD $3.38 Buy It Now
VARIOUS The Genius of Mozart CD (Classic FM) USD $5.63 Buy It Now
Romantic Classics - Classic FM, Collection No.30. Tchaikovsky, Mozart, Wagner. USD $1.46 Buy It Now
Essential Summer Classics - Classic FM, Collection No. 129b, Chopin, Mozart USD $1.46 Buy It Now
Essential Tchaikovsky - Classic FM - Essential Highlights, Collection No.178 USD $2.39 Buy It Now
Covent Garden Royal Opera House Orchestra : Classic FM Music for Babies CD (2004 USD $3.96 Buy It Now
When Classic Meets... pop, rock and jazz - Classic FM - Smooth Classics USD $1.59 Buy It Now
CMAGCD 186B VARIOUS Classic FM Hall of Fame Hits 2010 Volume Two CD USD $5.63 Buy It Now
FM Frozen Heart 7" 45 Sound Clip in Listing USD $3.38 Buy It Now
FM Let Love Be The Leader 7" vinyl Sound Clip in Listing USD $4.51 Buy It Now
FM Love Lies Dying 7" vinyl Sound Clip in Listing USD $5.01 Buy It Now
FM 01 VARIOUS Mostri della lirica fra Canzoni Romanze USD $13.52 Buy It Now
FM 42311 JOSE CARRERAS Merry Christmas LP 1986 USD $7.33 Buy It Now
FOSTER McELROY FM2 cassette USD $6.76 Buy It Now
NEW Taiwan CD+DVD w/BOX+Live FM ????? S.H.E (SHE-HEBE ???-ELLA-Selina) SHERO USD $33.49 Buy It Now
LIVING COLOUR/FM/BAD ENGLISH/ALICE COOPER 4 track EP USD $3.38 Buy It Now
Steely Dan - Decade of - CD Incs; FM, Reeling In The Years, Rikki Dont Lose That USD $5.68 Buy It Now
Point 3FM - Picks Me Up (Your Love) USD $1.31 [0 bids]
NIRVANA - LIVE ON KAOS FM,SEATTLE-1987 CD NEW+ USD $26.43 Buy It Now
V/A Hot 97FM -LP- Vol 33 promo NAS, OC, K-SOLO, B.I.G., NOREAGA, CORMEGA, BUSTA USD $34.95 Buy It Now
V/A Hot 97FM -LP- Vol. 29 promo NAS, SUN DULLAH, TUPAC, B.I.G., MOBB DEEP, BIZ USD $34.95 Buy It Now
102.5 WDVE FM Paulsen & Krenn CASSETTE TAPES Twisted WIZARDS OF ODD Pittsburgh USD $15.00 Buy It Now
NESTLE 01 VARIOUS Classic FM Breakfast Choice CD USD $5.63 Buy It Now
WILD, Devin/JANSON/SHAAK/LADY LAVINA/VARIOUS - Hardbase FM Volume 6 - CD (3xCD) USD $24.18 Buy It Now
Fm Belfast - Brighter Days [CD New] USD $16.65 Buy It Now
CHEAP TRICK - ROCKFORD ARMORY ILLINOIS '77 - WXRT-FM RADIO - CD - 1977 USD $7.94 Buy It Now
THE DOORS - LIVE AT THE ARAGON BALLROOM CHICAGO 1972 - CD - US ROCK - WGLD-FM USD $10.59 Buy It Now
WDAS 105.3 Fm - Classic Soul Hits Vol. 10, CD (2005 Collectables Records) New USD $14.00 Buy It Now
NEW TechnoBase.FM Vol. 12 (Audio CD) USD $27.36 Buy It Now
Freddie Mercury - Queen - Signed Autograph Display Mount FM9 USD $15.90 [8 bids]
(CD) KXLU 88.9 FM Los Angeles - Live Volume 6 / 2 CD / Death Cab For Cutie USD $19.99 Buy It Now
FM - FROZEN HEART p/s 7" vinyl single record EX/nr MINT! USD $5.29 Buy It Now
KAOS-FM RADIO alive in olympia LP The Supreme Cool Beings PRIVATE NW ROCK SEALED USD $14.40 Buy It Now
NEW TechnoBase.FM Vol.1 (Audio CD) USD $28.88 Buy It Now
Classic FM: Music for Fitness (2004) CD, Good condition USD $2.48 [0 bids]
A GIFT OF CHRISTMAS MUSIC - CLASSIC FM - CLASSICS AND CAROLS - ALBUM - VGC USD $3.58 Buy It Now
FRANCIS LAI CONCERTO POUE LA FIN DUN AMOUR FM1021 EP wx3449 USD $0.99 [0 bids]
OST MONDO CANE FM1007 EP wx3144 USD $0.99 [0 bids]
Foster McElroy FM Full Length 12" Vinyl LP 1989 ( Club Nouveau / En Vogue ) USD $1.99 [0 bids]
VARIOUS ARTISTS**ICON: 70'S FM ROCK ANTHEMS**CD USD $3.95 Buy It Now
WEBN 102.7 fm. radio "The Dawn Patrol for Dummees" 2001 CD Cincinnati Ohio. NEW USD $4.99 Buy It Now
GORDON LIGHTFOOT - WIOQ-FM PHILADELPHIA 1979-1980 CD NEW+ USD $26.32 Buy It Now
Chicano, Soul 'n' Power ~ Chicano 2 Da Bone ~ RARE Vinyl LP FM Records Promo USD $14.44 Buy It Now
Fm Funk - Jack U Up [CD New] USD $12.85 Buy It Now
Lynyrd Skynyrd 1978 The Superjam Concert FM Broadcast LP NEW vinyl USD $24.95 Buy It Now
PULSE FM RADIO-ACTIVE Rave Flyer Flyers 22/5/93 A4 Roller Express Edmonton N18 USD $5.30 Buy It Now
TRENTEMOLLER VS MOOD II SWING can't get away from the beta boy 12" WS EX/ FM004 USD $11.86 Buy It Now
Peter Gordon Innocent 1986 LP Vinyl Original Press FM 42098 Experimental USD $7.99 Buy It Now
V/A Silver Series Of Beautiful Music Vol. 1 LP Good Music GMC176 WQLR 106 FM VG+ USD $19.99 Buy It Now
CD Various Artists KKSF 103.7 FM Sampler for Aids Relief 3 USD $8.26 Buy It Now
CD Various Artists KKSF 103.7 FM Sampler for AIDS Relief, Vol. 11 USD $11.59 Buy It Now
CD Various Artists KKSF 103.7 FM Smooth Jazz Sampler for Aids Relief, Vol. USD $9.65 Buy It Now
FM Static, My Brain Says Stop But My Head Says Go, Excellent USD $7.99 Buy It Now
Fm - Transformation [CD New] USD $16.38 Buy It Now
Transformation [4/27] by FM (Canada) (CD, Apr-2015, Esoteric) USD $10.15 Buy It Now
Transformation - Fm (CD Used Very Good) USD $12.19 Buy It Now
Franzpeter Goebels [LP] Story of Keyboard Instruments [Folkways; FM 3326] (1962) USD $17.99 Buy It Now
CANADIAN BRASS CHRISTMAS (1985, STEREO LP) CBS, FM 39740 USD $6.95 Buy It Now
Smooth Jazz Various Artist 3 CD Lot Of KYOT Sampler Vol 11 Phoenix FM USD $7.50 Buy It Now
George Carlin FM & AM 1972 Vinyl LP Little David Records LD 7214 USD $17.95 Buy It Now
Cap-FM What's In Store For You Sampler Vinyl LP USD $13.49 Buy It Now
METROPOLIS FM Audio CD USD $17.69 Buy It Now
CLASSIC FM "MOZART/ BACH/ CHOPIN/ SATIE" 2 CD SET 2002 USD $7.00 Buy It Now
Classic FM : Relax and Escape - 4 CD's Box Set - 2004 - No.1 Collection Smooth USD $9.26 Buy It Now
DIVA & DIVO - NEW SEALED CLASSIC FM CD (2010) PLÁCIDO DOMINGO, NATALIE DESSAY ++ USD $1.59 Buy It Now

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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)

4.07 | 111 ratings
Black Noise
1977
3.81 | 69 ratings
Headroom: Direct to Disc
1978
3.35 | 49 ratings
Surveillance
1979
2.98 | 38 ratings
City of Fear
1980
2.42 | 17 ratings
Con-Test
1985
1.62 | 14 ratings
Tonight
1987
3.90 | 25 ratings
Transformation
2015

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

3.27 | 7 ratings
Retroactive: FM Archives Volume 1
1995
4.12 | 6 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
 Tonight  by FM album cover Studio Album, 1987
1.62 | 14 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
3.27 | 7 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!

 Nearfest 2006 by FM album cover Live, 2014
4.12 | 6 ratings

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Nearfest 2006
FM Prog Related

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

4 stars 7th heaven

This CD and DVD features an excellent live performance by the Canadian band FM, filmed and recorded at NEARFest in 2006. The line-up features Cameron Hawkins on vocals, keyboards, and bass, Martin Deller on drums, and Claudio Vena on violin, mandolin, and more. The band is on fire and they sound energetic and play with great passion and skill throughout. This is true progressive Rock and not merely Prog related.

The set list draws heavily from the band's classic 1977 debut album Black Noise, almost the whole of which is included here and mainly concentrated to the first half of the show. A few numbers are taken from 1979's Surveillance and one (Surface to Air) comes from 1980's City Of Fear, the latter functions as the encore and is extended to about twice its original album length. The set list also contains two brand new numbers which are not included on any of the band's studio albums. These are Planet Vega and Trial By Fire, both of which are excellent and fit in well among the older material. The low point of the concert is Shapes Of Things, which is a cover. I don't think they needed to include a cover as they have enough of their own material.

This concert is now ten years old, but the band still exists in a slightly different configuration and they released an excellent new studio album last year. I very much hope that we will see more from FM in the future and I would love to see another live release featuring songs from they new album Transformation.

If you are a fan of FM, this live CD/DVD package is absolutely essential, and for everyone else it is an excellent addition to your collection.

Highly recommended!

 Black Noise by FM album cover Studio Album, 1977
4.07 | 111 ratings

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Black Noise
FM Prog Related

Review by FragileKings
Prog Reviewer

4 stars I was under the impression that FM were one of those obscure crossover prog bands who enjoyed mild success and then disappeared. I was in no hurry to buy an album until I read two things: they are a Canadian band and Nash the Slash was a founding member. I actually don't know any music by Nash, but a friend of mine liked him back in the mid-eighties and that's how I know of him. Canadian prog from the seventies, however, is something that piques my interest because I am Canadian and I'm always interested in making new discoveries of Canadian talent, especially from the seventies.

Without listening to a single note, I ordered the album and was more that pleasantly surprised. This is quite a decent piece of work! Now being of the year 1977 one has to expect certain sounds and production techniques were employed. Indeed, this sounds like a late seventies album: Saga, Klaatu, Eloy, Happy the Man, and even Tormato Yes. However, FM does not sound like any of those bands. They did very well to create and capture their own sonic palette.

Perhaps the remarkable point of this album is that the only guitar to appear here is Cameron Hawkins' bass guitar. Other stringed instruments were Nash's electric violin and mandolin. Add Martin Deller's drums and lots of synthesizer and some electronic effects and glockenspiel and you get a uniquely sounding band that combines progressive compositions with atypical organic instrumentation and a penchant for experimentation with electronic instruments.

But isn't that a delayed guitar effect at the beginning of "Phasors on Stun"? Nope. Mandolin. Then surely that's an electric guitar in "Journey"? The liner notes don't credit any electric guitar other than the bass. Very well achieved indeed.

So this threesome (Why were so many Canadian bands trios? Small population? Too many musicians in Lighthouse?) created a tight album of vibrant and vigorous music with lots of instrumental breaks and some instrumentals, ripping solos on synthesizer, violin, mandolin, and even an appreciably short but strapping drum solo. The vocals and song melodies are very accessible without undermining the exceptional instrumental work. Though a big fan of heavy guitar riffs or beautiful acoustic guitar and piano, I really enjoy this album, which has neither guitar nor piano.

It's difficult for me not to be biased about this album for the aspect of nationality, but if not worthy of five stars then four seems barely adequate. Four and a half would be a more suitable rating, I feel. It's not just the music; it's the spirit of creativity and expanding horizons that makes this an outstanding piece of progressive rock from the latter half of the 1970's. When the bar of prog was being gradually lowered, FM couldn't limbo so low and tried to bump it up again. It's not to hard to imagine many bands in the early eighties taking some cues from "Black Noise". Visionary work indeed.

 Headroom: Direct to Disc by FM album cover Studio Album, 1978
3.81 | 69 ratings

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Headroom: Direct to Disc
FM Prog Related

Review by fudgenuts64

5 stars What an underrated gem of progressive rock - from Canada no less. Ben Mink filled the role of violinist with flying colors. The album is separated into two 15 minute tracks - not unlike Berlin School albums of the 70s. Not only is the structure similar, but the electronic presence is obvious throughout. Fans of progressive electronic music would easily dig this record. With that said, it's very jazz influenced, with multiple drum solos and incredibly intricate bass playing by Cameron Hawkins. It goes through moments of very understated violin playing, synth work and sequencer loops by Cameron, and a few scant vocals that enhance the record. With everything said, the album stays melodic enough to keep it away from being a pure ambient work, and occasionally rocks even without the presence of electric guitar the electric violin can do magical things. In closing, if you want a criminally overlooked progressive rock album from a year with a lot less to go around, get this. Fans of electronic music and jazz fusion alike will love this. Five stars, this album alone makes me wonder how these guys are only Prog Related as that sounds like an insult listening to this.
 Transformation by FM album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.90 | 25 ratings

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Transformation
FM Prog Related

Review by Evolver
Special Collaborator Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams

4 stars I originally started listening to this band in the late 70's, when I found "Surveillance", and then "Black Noise" at used record stores. I later found "City Of Fear", but then, as I liked this band, but wasn't blown away by them, I missed their later releases.

Listening to the 4 tracks the latest edition of FM posted this year on ProgStreaming, I was intrigued enough to purchase the CD.

This new album, with only Cameron Hawkins from the early albums (Martin Deller had performed with the band as late as 2006), does not veer much from their original sound, but does seem to qualify, to my ears, as a fully qualified prog album. Their use of odd time signatures is quite adept, and often so smooth that the listener may easily overlook that they are not hearing 4/4.

There is still a similarity to Rush in the composition of the songs, but the performance is markedly lighter than their country mates. Also helping the sound to become more original are the strings of Edward Bernard and Aaron Solomon. Their dueling violin/viola create some of the best moments on the album.

The absolute best song here is "Children Of Eve". It is the darkest track of the album, with syncopated verse sections, and a delightfully odd blues-related chorus.

The biggest problem of the album is production. You can discern all of the individual instruments, but the mix has an overly compressed sound, and even on my best stereo, the very lows and highs just have no punch.

All-in-all, this is a good album, and just barely earns a 4 star rating from me. Hopefully they will continue in this vein.

 Headroom: Direct to Disc by FM album cover Studio Album, 1978
3.81 | 69 ratings

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Headroom: Direct to Disc
FM Prog Related

Review by Progfan97402

4 stars This is no doubt the hardest to find FM album outside of the very earliest pressing of Black Noise on CBC (which features a totally different cover from the far more familiar version released on Visa in the US and Passport in Canada). This album did receive a second pressing, and it's the second pressing that bears the Headroom title, the original is called Direct-to-Disc, released on Discwasher Group, apparently the company famous for record cleaners (I understand Discwasher made great record cleaners back in the 1970s before they were bought out by RCA) had a record label, and it was Labyrinth Records that was their distributor in Canada.

This album brought in American-born Ben Mink (originally from Detroit), and Nash the Slash embarked on a solo career on Ralph Records (label most notorious for The Residents). Mink later became a k.d. lang collaborator. While the band later became commercial in the 1980s, there was always that leaning right from the start, but for the most part, Black Noise and Surveillence are very good crossover prog albums. Direct-to-Disc aka Headroom finds them more in the eclectic prog territory, and also by far their least commercial, most experimental album. Direct-to-Disc seemed to be a brief fad in the late '70s where artists would record a bunch of material, and then have their choice material pressed directly to disc, with no master tapes, so if you're wishing Headroom was reissued on CD, sadly that is unlikely to happen. That's what FM does here, these are one-takes with no overdubs. There were other takes, but they felt whatever wasn't included on this LP wasn't worthy of inclusion. So these are two side-length cuts, largely instrumental, at times reminding me of a more hi-tech UK. The fact like UK, FM too had a violin player (Ben Mink, who also played electric mandolin that sounds more like a guitar), and a synth player Cameron Hawkins, who has his own hi-tech style compared to Eddie Jobson, and then drummer Martin Deller (of course the big thing separating UK from FM is UK's keyboardist was also the violin player). Fusion elements are more dominant, but there are some strange experimental spacy passages too, where Martin Deller experiments with biofeedback machine hooked to an ARP 2500 (not the ARP 2600, the larger 2500). Had FM started a few years earlier, like 1974, they'd probably would have done more experimental albums like this one, but the band was obviously seeing the trends of the late '70s, luckily these first three albums were progressive, which were dropped in 1980 with City of Fear. It's been a while since I heard Direct-to-Disc, but it was quite a bit different from the albums that sandwiched it (Black Noise, Surveillance). Great stuff I can highly recommend, that is, if you can find a copy.

 Headroom: Direct to Disc by FM album cover Studio Album, 1978
3.81 | 69 ratings

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Headroom: Direct to Disc
FM Prog Related

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

2 stars Crossing the border into improvisation

FM followed-up their excellent debut album Black Noise with this experimental live-in-the-studio effort. It was unique of its kind as the band apparently recorded it "direct to disc". How much of it that was rehearsed beforehand and how much is improvisation is hard to say exactly, but the results are mixed at best. The musical styles are towards Jazz-Rock/Fusion and electronic sounds. There are hardly any vocals and what little there are sound very weak in comparison with other FM albums.

Progressive Rock fans are bound to be interested in an album with two 15 minute plus tracks, but even though Headroom has its moments the overall impression is that it is too thin with ideas and lacking in direction. I find it mostly listenable, occasionally enjoyable, but not particularly memorable in the end.

 Surveillance  by FM album cover Studio Album, 1979
3.35 | 49 ratings

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Surveillance
FM Prog Related

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

2 stars Random harvest

After the more experimental second album Headroom, FM produced a more conventional album with this third effort. Surveillance is a more worthy successor to the debut Black Noise, but it is nowhere near that album in overall quality. Its main problem is its unevenness. The album opener Rocket Roll is a downright embarrassment which does not bode well for the rest of the album, but Orion/Horizons is a fine piece of progressive Rock not unlike late 70's Camel in sound. It would have been much better to open the album with Orion and just leave Rocket Roll off the album, or at least relegate it to a less conspicuous position in the running order.

Shapes Of Things is a Yardbirds cover. While not bad as such, I find it a bit lame to include a cover song. But things are picked up again with Seventh Heaven, another strong number. Sofa Back reminds me of some of Steve Hackett's dark and intense instrumental solo numbers. Both Seventh Heaven and Sofa Back were played live and can be heard in live versions on the excellent live disc NEARFest 2006.

Overall, a decent album with several very good moments and some not so good moments dragging it down a bit.

 Con-Test  by FM album cover Studio Album, 1985
2.42 | 17 ratings

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Con-Test
FM Prog Related

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

1 stars Stop!

Five years after the previous City Of Fear, FM gave us Con-Test. Nash the Slash returns to the band here but don't let that fool you into believing that Con-Test is a return to the progressive Rock of the Black Noise. To the contrary, Con-Test continues to push FM ever closer to New Wave territory. This album often reminds me of The Cars. The traces of progressive Rock that could still be found on City Of Fear are eradicated here on this streamlined effort. It should be remembered that we are deep into the 80's here and, like so many of their peers, FM were moving with the times. The mid 80's was the worst period ever for progressive Rock.

All of the nine tracks on Con-Test are around four to five minutes in length and not one of them stands out which makes Con-Test a weak and forgettable album.

Not recommended!

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

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