FM: Black Noise: CD

This is a remastered edition of the 1977 debut album by the Canadian progressive rock group FM. The band began life in 1976 with Cameron Hawkins (synthesisers, bass, vocals) and Nash The Slash (Jeff Plewman) (electric violin, mandolin, vocals) coming together as a duo, making an appearance on national TV in Canada in the Summer of 1976. By March 1977, FM became a trio with the addition of Martin Deller on drums. The Canadian Broadcasting Company offered to release the band’s debut album, “Black Noise” on their own label later that year, and was only made available via mail order. The following year the album was given a wider release on the VISA label in the USA. This release is the first time the album has been issued in Europe and has been newly remastered and includes an illustrated booklet and a new essay.

Right from the beginning of “Phasors On Stun” you just know you’re listening to something special. With the clear vocals by Hawkins, the song goes straight to the point and is so catchy and full of energy that you never want it to end. “One O’Clock Tomorrow” has a quiet synth sound, as well as Nash on violin providing a fairly light melody until the drums come in. The short instrumental “Hours” has great violin playing. “Journey” gets back to a heavier uptempo song with drums and synths leading the way. The instrumental “Dialing For Dharma,” has a nice violin solo by Nash The Slash. “Slaughter In Robot Village” is another great instrumental track. “Aldebaran” is a ballad, and here Nash’s mandolin is the star. Black Noise” is a nine minute track where the group explodes and shines in its utmost brilliance, the drumming builds on itself, and has some of the most haunting vocals.

It’s great to hear the remastered sound giving us the ability to hear all of the nuances clearly and feel the emotion and power that they put forth on this album. The liner notes were really interesting and this is an all around winner…get it!

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