FM — Retroactive: FM Archives Volume 1
(Now See Hear NSHCD1194, 1995, CD)
by Peter Thelen, Published 1996-08-01
This Canadian trio is probably best known for their three late-70s LPs Black Noise, Headroom, and Surveillance (the first of which saw CD reissue a couple years ago) — sci-fi powered progressive rock semi-classics that should be of interest to most. Perhaps what made their sound so special was their unique lineup of keyboards / bass, mandolin / violin, and drums, the mandolin taking the place of a guitar in the standard rock formation. Later albums increasingly drifted painfully toward a more typical 80s pop sound and away from their progressive roots, until they finally called it a day in the late 80s.
This live album documents their reunion concert in November 1994 (on the occasion of the CD release of Black Noise). The performance here is flawless (unlike bootleg tapes I'd heard of their shows from 1978-79, I might add), featuring the original trio (Cameron Hawkins, Martin Deller, and Nash the Slash — bandages and all). Two songs from Black Noise, three from Surveillance, and two from City of Fear (the fourth album), plus two previously unreleased tracks that sound close to their early-80s style, and a cover of "Baba O'Riley," originally by The Who. But that's not the whole story: Track 1 is an impressive interactive CD-ROM track that features live concert footage of five (!) of the songs from the audio portion of the disc, solo footage from all three members (including an awesome violin freak-out by Nash), and historical information about the band and each of their albums, making this disc an absolute must have for both the longtime fan and newbie alike.
Glenn Branca RIP – Experimental guitarist and composer Glenn Branca has died at the age of 69. He was known for compositions featuring large ensembles of guitars, and for the use of feedback. He founded his band Theoretical Girls in the mid-70s as an art-punk answer to what he saw as the increasing commercialization of punk music. His compositions were highly influential, with such figures as David Bowie, Thurston Moore, and John Lurie among his fans. » Read more
OBEY Convention XI Set for May 24-28 in Halifax – As the 2018 festival season rapidly approaches, we’d like you to be aware of a real treasure of diverse and creative music that’s going to take place in Halifax, Nova Scotia, next month. The OBEY Convention is on its 11th outing, and features a wide range of artists from around the world. From avant-industrial noise to experimental takes on Classical Chinese music, from chamber jazz to doom metal, from ambient soundscapes to Canadian First Nations drumming, you’d be hard pressed to find a festival with more variety in sound anywhere in the world. » Read more
Close to the Rain Festival in Bergen Announces Lineup – Now in its second year, the Close to the Rain Festival of progressive music is scheduled to take place in Bergen, Norway, on June 7 - 9. They've got an amazing slate of bands lined up, including such powerhouses as Anekdoten, Major Parkinson, Arabs in Aspic, Tusmørke, and many more. » Read more
Seaprog 2018 Artist Announcements Raise Festival's Profile – Seattle's Seaprog festival has been going since 2013, and the 2018 edition features a slate of artists that's sure to bring more attention to the event. Cheer-Accident, Bubblemath, and Free Salamander Exhibit are in the first round announcement of performers. In keeping with their tradition of focusing on regional artists, they will also present a number of artists from Washington and Oregon. [Edit: Just added: Inner Ear Brigade] » Read more