Headscope - "alpha_jerk"
(self-released 2001, CD)
From Aural Innovations #17 (September 2001)
From Portland, Oregon, Headscope lay on the rhythmic grooves by combining electro trip-hoppy beats, cosmic space synths, bashing guitars, and some of the best vocals I've heard this year. The band consists of Kevin Ellis on keyboards, guitar, and samples, Niall Davids on bass, echoes, and programming, Allen Brown on drums and sequencing, and Krys No on vocals. The odd combination of No's vocals and the space beats and atmospherics are a big part of what gives Headscope their identity. She could easily be an Alanis Morisette or Mariah Carey in terms of pure power and soul. And while these are essentially pop songs, the music that backs them is light years ahead of anything you'll hear on the radio or MTV in terms of creativity and spacey embellishment.
Songs like "Sundown" and "Down On You" feature electro trip-hoppy beats that set a cosmic foundation for these dancey rave-in-the-galaxy rockers. Krys No is a powerhouse vocalist brimming with energy and soul. (Spacers will note the Pressurehed sound on "Sundown".) "Bird In A War" is the most overtly psychedelic song with its tribal percussion, trippy organ, and overall Eastern psychedelic feel. "Hidden" is another standout track being a heavy dancey gothic electro space rocker of a song. A wall of cosmic psychedelic trance bubbles and melts, and, of course, No's vocals keep the listener wide-eye when the music would clearly like to induce a meditative haze. And "The Road", "My Friend Stephanie", and "Good Day" all have heavy hip-hop influences, though the space element is prominent.
"Casseopia" and "509" are the tracks that are most along standard MTV lines, but "Casseopia" also features some of No's most potent and passionate vocals. Along with the grinding chainsaw guitar chords she belts out enough emotion and vitality to suck the souls from a stadium sized crowd. But then there's the 11 minute untitled closing track, an electronic space ambient/percussion tune with lots of ethnic influences and a mind expanding cosmic edge. It begins with gorgeous space synths that blend with No's most sedate, but still passionate, vocals on the album. Ash Ra Tempel and Tangerine Dream styled electronic space, pop, and prog rock meet on neutral ground and pool their resources to create a soul-in-the-cosmos world music rocker that will surely set you free.
In summary, Headscope have got what it takes to make it on MTV... but trust me, this is pop music that space rockers can easily latch on to. Killer soulful vocals, well placed spacey electronics, damn good rock, and excellent production makes this a fine set for those who aren't afraid of pop music but like to hear someone taking it to the edge of the galaxy.
For more information you can visit the Headscope web site at: http://www.headscope.com.
Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz
Krys No photo by by Roger Neville-Neil