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FM - Black Noise CD (album) cover

BLACK NOISE

FM

 

Prog Related

4.11 | 133 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Luqueasaur
5 stars The 70's, as seen by the 80's: 9/10

Insane guitar reverb, powerful synth, eclectic electronic apparatus, an accomplished drummer... BLACK NOISE is hardly what one would suspect to be a masterpiece within the progressive genre.

Putting into perspective a progressive fan enjoys synthesisers - after all, symphonic prog is the strongest subgenre here - and there are very few "pop" characteristics here, aside from the exaggerated focus on melody (isn't this what makes one album mainstream, anyway?), I don't feel it's a stretch to call this progressive.

The Canadian trio FM brought during the apex of progressive weakening and synthpop/new-wave's awakening an album that merges both genres into a hybrid creation. It features a masterful blending of the old and new in the late 70's. The plethora of electronic paraphernalia fielded here (Arp 2500 synth, electric mandolin/violin) goes in harmony with the conventional instruments (drums, electric guitar, bass, piano, ...voice). The very idea of using the common music of the time - that is, classic rock - and infusing in it a rather unexplored field - the electronic-focused music - is by itself the most progressive thing those guys did.

When you give this a listen, I can guarantee you right away on Phasors on Stun you'll feel as if Martin, Cameron and Nash are toying with you, for the powerful emotional grasp the very first resonating guitar strings picked and Cameron's hopeful voice are adhesive. As aforementioned, the trio has given focus to melody, which indirectly implies emotionally evocative tracks. After this, another characteristic you can tell right away by looking at the cover is that, well, this is a very spacey album. To be honest, I'm surprised this is on the "prog-related" category and not psychedelic/space rock.

The lyrics have science fiction theme. For instance, Phasors on Stun is about the weapon Phasors from Star Trek being on stun mode, Journey and Aldebaran are about a mass escapade to intergalactic planets, and Slaughter on Robot Village is pretty self-explanatory.

Now to each track:

Phasors on Stun is very emotional, there is a potent presence of guitar as well vocals in here. Although it has no correlation with the track itself, the overall feeling here is positive, which is delightful. The second best on the album.

One O'Clock Tomorrow is even more cheerful than the earlier track and much more synth-focused. It's also slightly slower and feels lighter.

Hours reminds me so damn much of Camel. The main line features the electric violin & the piano and an amazing Mirage-like synth solo, followed by a drums solo. It's perhaps the most unique of all the tracks.

Journey is highly energetic and more technical than all previous tracks, MARTIN really does a superb job on the drumming. The chorus feels absolute 80's - synthpop at its finest. The third best on the album.

Dialling for Dharma is the next instrumental track with various appearances of different synth techniques. The percussion is very important to settle the atmosphere on this one.

Slaughter in Robot Village evokes me images of nighttime in urban metropolises, it is more aggressive and darker than any other track on the album; not to mention it is the most psychedelic.

Aldebaran is my little sweetheart, being the most emotion-fueled track of them album. It's like PHASORS ON STUN on steroids, except it's much slower, mellower, melodic and hopeful (regarding CAMERON's vocals). Even the solo, which speeds up the tempo feels highly soulful. The best track the album.

Black Noise is the song I have least listened to, but it feels like those gritty 70's metal tracks (you know, like a sad Scorpions song), with almost ten minutes of duration, a tempo slower than Aldebaran, long ambience sound and a bass so potent METALLICA's PULLING TEETH seems toe-to-toe in comparison.

He who judges a book by its cover can lose the opportunity to listen what the 80's discotheques would play should prog never faltered. This is pretty much what one could consider "progressive new-wave", or perhaps "mainstream space rock" if you're more like it. I guess that's gonna sell this better here, yeah? By the way, I recommend reading Aussie-Byrd-Brother's detailed and adjective spoonful review on the same album.

For anyone out here who constantly delve into Symphonic Prog, Krautrock, Prog Electronic, Space Rock or Neo- Prog, give this a shot. You'll be taken to a trip to the 80's with the perspective of 70's musicians. And it's a hell of a trip.

Luqueasaur | 5/5 |

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