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Jim Ladd

Headsets: Chapter I: Alone Out Here

Review by Gary Hill

This is an intriguing disc. It’s a space oriented (but really it goes a lot more cosmic than just space) concept album. Jim Ladd is best known as one of the most famous DJs ever on radio. He provides a lot of spoken narrations on this and also helped write much of the album. The other major contributor is Billy Sherwood, but others featured on the disc include John Densmore (of Doors fame). It’s quite an interesting collection that works well.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2011  Volume 5 at

Track by Track Review
Remnants Of Creation (Part I)

A cool bit of space along with spoken vocals starts off here. It is just a short introduction. 

The Launch
Here’s a short section that combines dialog of a ship launching with some spacey elements.
We Are Sailors
This comes in with acoustic motifs and builds up from there with the first singing of the set. It’s a Yes-like tune that works quite nicely. It’s very much melodic progressive rock.
Reaching For The Stars
After some sound effects open this, acoustic music provides the backdrop for a spoken monologue. It is inspiring and powerful and segues straight into the next number.
Sons Of Our Suns
Acoustic progressive rock opens this and it grows out from there in tasty fashion.
The Mission
Here is another spoken movement built on acoustic treatments.
The Lonesome Trail
This one is more melodic progressive rock that builds out gradually. At times it’s suitably space rock oriented. There’s a cool guitar solo section that’s got a bit of a Pink Floyd feeling to it. This is one of the real winners on the set.
Finding Our Way
A driving rhythm section serves as the backdrop for spoken female vocals. This builds out as it continues.
Universal Garden
They turn their attention to a new version of the song from Yes’ Open Your Eyes album. This is a more stripped down take, but it still works quite well in this format.
The Family Business
This is a short spoken section.
Alone Out Here
Rocking out, the first vocals on this are spoken, continued from the previous piece. As they wind out we get a fast paced jam that’s a lot of fun. It’s tasty progressive rock that at times makes me think of Robert Calvert just a bit. There’s some smoking hot guitar soloing later in this one.
Systems Failure
Another that seems like it would have fit on something from Robert Calvert, this is an effects driven bit of science fiction theater.
The early moments of this are stripped down and dramatic in the emptiness of it. In some ways this feels a lot like Peter Gabriel, if Gabriel were to use his 1980s sound to create something like theatrical old-school Genesis.  Around the minute and a half mark acoustic guitar rises up to bring in new sounds.
Message From Home
Based on mellow electronic styled music, this is just what it says, a message from home, a female spoken monologue as an audio letter. There’s a little bit of a child as part of the message, too. It’s a sad piece.
2,000 Light Years From Home
Here we get a cover of the Rolling Stones song. The psychedelic textures are really what made the cut work so well for the Stones. With those essentially stripped here, this isn’t as effective. Still, the catchy chorus is cool. It’s not that this is a bad tune. It’s just not nearly as strong as the Rolling Stones version, and arguably among the weaker material on this album.
Cool space elements provide the backdrop for this spoken narration.
Melancholy Deity
Here’s another that has some Peter Gabriel elements on board. It’s a melodic modern progressive rock piece that grows quite gradually. It turns out to something more akin to Circa: or Yes after a while.
Remnants Of Creation (Part II)
This section serves as an inspiring resolution to the themes. The concepts here are really quite empowering and thought provoking. It’s another spoken section.
One World Going Round
Here’s a melodic musical journey that’s again much like Yes. It turns out into a real rocker as it continues and this makes for quite a satisfying conclusion to the disc.
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