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.
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Cruise to the Edge and Seaprog 2020 Festivals Postponed – The worldwide outbreak of the novel coronavirus has started to produce casualties in the music world, and festivals are not immune. We've had word that both the Cruise to the Edge (originally slated for March 27 - April 1) and Seaprog (originally June 5-7) have been postponed to later dates, with those dates to be announced. » Read more
McCoy Typer RIP – Word reaches us today of the passing of one of the most influential pianists in the history of jazz, McCoy Tyner. His tenure with John Coltrane in the early 60s includes some of the most treasured recordings of the era, including My Favorite Things and A Love Supreme. After leaving Coltrane's group, he had a long and successful solo career. He was 81. » Read more
Jon Christensen RIP – Word reaches us today of the passing of Norwegian drummer Jon Christensen, a musician whose sensitive playing did much to help define the atmospheric sound of ECM jazz recordings. His work with Jan Garbarek, Bobo Stenson, Terje Rypdal, and many more was sensitive and varied, adapting to a wide variety of styles while maintaining a distinct identity of its own. Christensen was 76. » Read more
Gong Announces UK Tour for 2020 – Having spent the last few years touring the world, including dates in Japan with psych legend Steve Hillage, multiple headline European tours and festivals, America’s Cruise to the Edge festival, a South America headline tour, and a headline performance at Tomorrow Festival in China, the band have won the hearts of both traditional and modern Gong fanbases. During this live journey, Gong has delved further into the truly psychedelic, exploratory, and mind-expanding side of the music. » Read more