Head Music

The Daou, 'Head Music'

The Daou, ‘Head Music’ (Columbia Records, 1992)


“The Daou’s first album embraces dance-oriented Europop more whole-heartedly than any previous English language release. In this genre, the action takes place on two levels. Voice and rhythm move past each other with the formalized grace of ballet, while misty electronic melodies sweeten the singing and soften the beat. … Voice an rhythm move past each other with the formalized grace of ballet. [The band creates] darkly ethereal shapeless lullabies, while Vanessa Daou whispers into the mike.”  The New York Times, Sunday Arts & Lesiure

“Alternative quintet, led by top dance music keyboardist Peter Daou, craftily merges elements of modern-pop, jazz, and funk on this sterling debut. The shining light of this set is captivating lead vocalist Vanessa Daou, whose delicate tones are, by turns, seductive and melancholy. Her presence adds strength to cuts like “Sympathy Bouquet,” “Figure in the Sand,” and the first single “Surrender Yourself.” A promising first effort.” Melinda Newman, Billboard Magazine

“The aptly titled debut nevr disappoints in its experimental yet highly poetic quest. Tracks such as the ambient “Figure in the Sand” explore change and evolution through simple yet evocative images and soundscapes of flutes, synthesizers, and live percussion. “Her Universe” sounds like a ’90s version of the Velvet’s “After Hours,” with singer Vanessa capturing the elusive innocence of Maureen Tucker. With former 24-7 Spyz thrash drummer Anthony Johnson, former Max Roach and Dizzy Gillespie sideman Leon Lee Dorsey on upright and electric bass, and wailing guitarist Mike Caro, the Daou turns out some pretty searing (and soaring) jams. Fronted by Peter Daou, a former dance engineer, keyboardist and producer (with his act Vandal, on Bobby Konders’s “The Poem,” and artists ranging from The Farm to the Orb) and wife Vanessa (vocalist, lyricist and dancer), the New York-based quintet concocts intricate compositions that range from airy jazz to thundering rock/dance fusions. With Lyrics such as “he forgets what pain ever was/becaust that’s what pleasure does” (from “Skin Deep”), The Daou ponders life’s biggies, from death to deception to love. The textural range, cosmic poetry, and free-form nature of Head Music will probably be too much of a head-trip for most, yet The Daou’s single “Surrender Yourself” managed to hit #1 on the Billboard Club play charts. This marriage of the spacey electronic jams of Jean-Michel Jarre with the serene vocals of Joni Mitchell (plus their King Crimson-like rock and rhythm crescendos) makes for one of the more creative ensembles to emerge in a long time” Marisa Fox, CREEM

“Imagine Leonard Cohen and Joni Mitchell on a date, entering a folk club only to discover its turned into an avant-garde underground club. Jazz, dance, folk and rock mingle and become indistinguishable [Vanessa] Daou merges diverse musical styles and comes up with an album easier to listen to than categorize.” URB

“The most intriguing feature of this recording is singer Vanessa Daou. She may very well be the first jazz-rock-fusion singer I’ve heard. … exquisite phrasing and choice of tones by Vanessa…”  New York Daily News

“[T]heir music is reminiscent of the “hieroglyphics” of graffiti. It’s incredibly beautiful music that won’t be accessible to everyone just because it junks cliches in the effort to forge a new language. It’s distinctly urban, drawing from disparate sources (jazz, rock, House) to form a whole, but allowing none of the seams to show.”  The Village View


New York TImes Arts and LeisureURBVilliage View


Billboard Magazine

New York Daily News

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