CD Review: Imogen Heap — Ellipse

ImogenHeapEllipse_ Imogen Heap

By Eileen Tilson

One of my favorite movies from when I was young was
Disney’s Fantasia. I always found myself mesmerized by the colliding of
sounds and the swirling orchestras. The music was so visual, you could close
your eyes and imagine a colorful waltz playing inside your head. It was moving
and visual. If a modern day Fantasia was made, it would sound like
Imogen Heap’s latest album Ellipse. Her first solo album since the
release of Speak for Yourself in 2005, Heap has created an elegant
collection of musical soliloquies. Put together over the course of two years,
Heap has strung together her life  experiences in a digital diary that she is
now ready to share with the world.

The intimacy of this album is enhanced by Heap’s
deep rooted connection to her fans. Within the two years it took to create the
album, Heap “tweeted” about the progress of the album, as well as setting up
video blogs to discuss with her fans her day and thought process, and asked for
their opinions on the sound of the album. She encouraged her fans to send her
pictures to include in the album’s artwork, and when her album got leaked and
put on eBay, she encouraged her fans to bid; the final bid went over $20
million, before it had to be shut down.

It is easy to write off Imogen Heap as a lonely Brit
that plays too much with ProTools and wants to be Bjork when she grows up, but
that would be a great injustice. Ellipse is the result of its
well-traveled development. Heap wrote and produced most of the songs in Hawaii,
Fiji and Thailand. The opening song “ First Train Home” prepares its listeners
to get comfortable and enter the life of Imogen Heap, which seems not to differ
much from a Tim Burton movie. Heap’s intricate and poetic lyrics introduce her
listeners to a wide array of eclectic characters, from the electronic love song
“Between Sheets” where she lulls “the many windswept stickies of my mind,” to
the tongue and cheek “Bad Body Double,” a play upon the devil on her shoulder:
“It’s not me, no/It’s my bad body double/She’s trouble.” The music moves
across the globe with songs like the African decorated “Earth” and “Canvas” a
mystical, celtic dance. 

Imogen Heap evokes the great women of the
electro-poets, Enya, Dido, Sarah McLauchlan, but in no way imitates; this is
Heap’s most honest and engaging work yet, an open lens into the world of a truly
unique artist.

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