Ellipse by Imogen Heap - Immie's army of fans can rejoice because the singer-songwriter-composer extraordinaire is back with her latest album - Ellipse. It has been four long years since Speak for Yourself came out with its electric landscape of warm fuzzy music. Imogen Heap has the sort of friendly, familiar voice you want to wrap around in. And the second album's blend of soaring electronic music, and crazy keyboard loops had everyone in love with Heap.
In Speak For Yourself, the claustrophobic intimacy of Hide and Seek was balanced by the sprightly innocence of Goodnight and Go. While The Walk was a rush-of-blood-to-the-head run across the city, Just For Now was hope for better times. The entire album was a master class in electro rock, arguably the finest one in 2005.
Now Heap comes back after numerous quirky, exciting sessions on her vblog, to release Ellipse in August. Although listeners have been exposed to Canvas, a single already, the first official single off the album is First Train Home. The song at first listen is trademark Heap - with electric beats enveloping in a lush melody that is inviting and lovely. I have never been a big fan of Imogen's lyrics - most of them seem too disconnected and random. But that's not entirely the case with the new song - the lyrics seem to flow towards a common purpose, and the choice of words - rather than being jarring, seems eccentric and interesting. "Temporal deadzone where clocks are barely breathing./ yet no one cares to notice for all the yelling, all night clamor to hold it together. " It reminds one of Headlock, another wonderful song from her previous album.
Canvas is a wonderfully produced song. Looping music, and quietly tiptoeing piano - the song creates an atmosphere of calm serenity. The song is complimented by a stunning and breathtaking music video shot entirely in black and white in an icy landscape dominated by black mountains and white glacial icebergs-- one of the best music videos I have seen in a long time. "Long shadows lull you in/ the more you look, the less you see/ so close your eyes/ and start to breathe". Canvas sounds unlike any song Imogen offered on Speak For Yourself, being an equally introspective and beautiful song but with an entirely different Heap.
Like the voice on the stereo, Imogen comes across as an eccentric, fun character in her vblogs. She spun the globe on Google Earth, and randomly chose Hawaii. Settling in Maui for six months, she wrote songs for Ellipse. A few days back, a promotional copy of Ellipse was placed for bid on eBay. Heap bid £10m for her own album. eBay had to come in and end the auction after her fans campaigned to sabotage the listing. This proves Heap's fan following and the buzz around her album. One only hopes Heap takes new directions with Ellipse, yet retains the solid chutzpah and excitement that ran through the previous one. Judging by the two previewed songs, the high hopes are justified.
Track Listing for Ellipse: