Imogen Heap – Ellipse
August 25, 2009
You can say a lot of things about Imogen Heap, and her music may not be easily accessible to just anyone, but above all, both artist and music are interesting. Whatever you think of it, it’s never boring. She has a way of playing with sounds and influences that is both engaging and disarming. On her previous album “Speak For Yourself” it was mainly Heap’s oddness and her distinct vocals that set her apart, well, and also her style of songwriting. But on “Ellipse” she incorporates a wider range of influences without losing that odd and intriguing essence that she’s gotten known for.
It would be too easy to dismiss “Ellipse” as an alternative electro-pop record. It’s too sophisticated for that. Whether the songs are about more trivial things or more pressing matters, the thoughtful songwriting and arrangements make for a challenging and somewhat peculiar musical journey. But somehow it all fits. Heap’s signature vocals, the use of clever samples and beautiful arrangements make for excellent songs need to be not just heard, but listened to.
She varies between more bombastic songs like 2-1 to a somewhat poppy sound on Bad Body Double and Swoon and shows she can disarm her listeners with a more intimate song like the piano-ballad Half Life. Imogen Heap shows to be an allround artist and while you may think she is hiding behind her computer samples and ProTools a little too much (to a certain extent I tend to agree), she shows she has all the goods. The sampling and layering is a trademark that fits with the quirckiness and oddity that surrounds Imogen Heap, yet on “Ellipse” she shows she uses it but doesn’t NEED it to convince an audience. This, in my opinion, is the real growth compared to her previous album.
“Ellipse” may not hold a song as commercially interesting as Hide And Seek on her previous album, but as a record it is much more complete and sophisticated and her signature sound combined with her distinct lyrical and vocal style makes for an interesting listen. The songs are powerful at times and almost sentimental at other times. Like I said in the beginning of this review, in the end you can think of it what you want, but the record never gets boring. It’s a distinct style and sound, so it’s not for everyone, but if you’re willing to listen, there can be a whole lot for you to enjoy.