When I got my hands on the new Imogen Heap album, Ellipse, I had to listen to it right then. The first time through, I had it on in the background while doing some work. I loved and felt it deserved my full attention, so I gave it a listen without any distractions. It didn’t feel the same the second time around and I couldn’t understand why. But now as I listen to “Between Sheets” for the fourth time while writing this entry, I realize that Imogen Heap is meant to be played in movies and for your inner monologue.
Heap’s music is the kind that’s made for the movies. It’s dramatic without drawing too much attention to it. Her music allows the other characters to have their moment and, if anything, serves as the perfect mood enhancer. I know that if my boring life were being made into a movie, I’d like Imogen Heap’s music to be played during all the important scenes.
I read somewhere that this album was recorded entirely in Garage Band, which–if true– is a testament to Heap’s talent as a musician and producer. Her voice is so incredibly unique and all-consuming through your earphones that you’ll forget where you are. She knows the range and ability of her voice and is a master at using it to create a perfect, lush swirl of sound.
Her latest release, Ellipse, feels familiar and yet excitingly new. Some tracks (like First Train Home, Tidal, and Between Sheets) feel reminiscent of her previous album, Speak for Yourself, and will probably be on those list of songs you’ll be addicted to and then later irritated when you hear it in some pretentious indie movie months later. Other songs are quirkier and less catchy, but definitely shows her range as a musician. If you watch her video blogs, you can see the kind of instruments she includes in her songs. It’s kinda crazy!
Although I am quite fond of this album, I feel like it doesn’t adequately showcase her talent as a performer. Her arrangements are complex and packed with quirks (much like her fashion style). Listening to this album over and over again will be quite fulfilling, but it limits you to hear this one specific arrangement of these songs. As a live performer, she’s constantly re-inventing these gems and each one is worth listening to.
To illustrate my point, I’ve included a live video of “Let Go” by Frou Frou. It sounds so different from the original, but I find myself liking both versions the same, as if they were two completely different songs.
So if your inner monologue needs new music, check out Ellipse. It’ll make the movie of your life that much better.