FM – “BLACK NOISE” LP (1977)
It doesn’t matter what genre; ANY album that has a track on it called “Slaughter In Robot Village” is gonna catch my eye. And, of course, if it’s prog, it’s tops in my book. Ground And Sky sez:
“The least well known of the major Canadian progressive rock groups (including Rush, Saga and Klaatu), FM produced a classic in ‘Black Noise’ comparable in quality to any work by any of those other, more successful bands. FM’s recipe for success consisted of tight playing on a wide variety on conventional and unconventional instruments, sparse but compelling vocals and a knack for great melodies.
FM consisted of a trio of musicians: Cameron Hawkins on lead vocals, bass guitar and synthesizer, Martin Deller on drums and Nash the Slash on electric violins and mandolin. In addition, each musician plays other instruments throughout the work, which can give you an idea of the level of chops that these fellows had. The result is a varied and lush sound that carries the instrumentals as easily as the vocal-orientated pieces. Hawkins’ synthesizer is simply magnificent as he generates the spacey-sounding accompaniment to his (primarily) science fiction lyrics. Hawkins’ lyrics may turn off some listeners at first, as three of the eight songs (‘One O’Clock Tomorrow,’ ‘Journey,’ ‘Aldebaran’) deal with intergalactic travel and several others touch upon related fantastic themes.
Notable tracks on Black Noise include: ‘Slaughter in Robot Village,’ a wonderful percussion-orientated instrumental that tells the story behind it as easily as any lyrics would ‘Black Noise,’ the mini-epic of the album and, in my opinion, is the only piece that goes on too long; ‘Phasors on Stun,’ the rocking opening track (despite its title, this last piece has nothing to do with Star Trek). Another interesting piece is ‘One O’Clock Tomorrow,’ which changes at the three-minute mark into a remarkable Beach Boys pastiche.
If you enjoy more rock-orientated progressive music and can tolerate some science fiction in your songs, I’d definitely recommend this one. FM seem to have struck a fine balance between experimentation and good old rock and roll here, creating a minor classic along the way.”