Imogen Heap - Ellipse

2009-08-31 | |

What can I say about Imogen Heap? I can say that I'm not qualified to review her, since I've only ever dipped in and out of her decade long career. I enjoyed I Megaphone, and loved what she managed to produce with Guy Sigsworth in Frou Frou. She is a quintessential British electronica and trip-hop artiste, and this summer saw her third solo album, Ellipse see the light of day.

So what do I think of Ellipse?

Ellipse struck me as being one of those albums where you can sit back and not need to know the lyrics, but know you want to know them; one of those albums you can put on, and not worry about the content because it works as both ambience and pop music.

In the beginning, there is a slight sense of it being a Frou Frou album, with the way the music threads together. (As I missed out on Speak For Yourself...) This seems like a total jump from her first album, with a matureness, a high-fidelity hum, which slips through the tracks seamlessly, in a way that makes smile. Basically, it's like Details for the adult contemporary audience.

It picks up around track 4 - Little Bird - allowing me to jot down a few thoughts on the brilliance I see shining through in this little gem, and then, the cheery vibe drops back to give way to an "early 90s drab electronica" sounding track 5 - Swoon. Admittedly, I liked it, it had that undertone of something I couldn't quite put my finger on; but I don't see it being every listener's cup of tea.

Around this point, I'd settled into giving it a decent overall score, and was considering slating it based on its drop back into mediocrity. And then it hit me with track 8 - 2-1 - that I wasn't listening to adult alternative; I was listening to trip hop, and it was ticking all the boxes. It had drawn in the audience, and then played out what it wanted. It was like listening to 90s trip hop group Sneaker Pimps, if they were collaborating with Frou Frou. It was dark, it was lacking that smile that had been there 4 tracks ago, but, without that smile it was still high-quality, if only in its own genre.

Without going through track-by-track changes, this is a fluctuating album. It starts well, poppy even, and then, when the audience is hooked, plays on Heap's talent to create good music in ways you wouldn't think of as good. And then, just when you think it's not going to be for you, she kicks you back into your seat and makes you listen with one of the better 'outros' to an album I've heard.

With this foray into the musical world, Imogen Heap gives us a glimpse of what it should mean to be a musician; to create what you enjoy, and what people enjoy. The U2 way of things. This princess of the indie-kids, taking her crown from her sound track appearance on Garden State, has flowered and grown into a queen of music. I can't wait for more.

Overall: 7/10 - Although in parts it wasn't wholly my cup of tea, it does what it does very well. Maybe it's not for some, though.

Top Track: Aha!

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