Ellipse

Studio Album by released in 2009

Ellipse review

Imogen Heap, one of the world’s most unusual performers

It is not by chance that the 32-year-old English singer and songwriter Imogen Heap is called ‘Tim Burton from music’ – her unique world vision, inimitable performing and the ability to create her own reality make her one of the world’s most unusual performers to date. A natural born artist she is in a constant search of herself, taking part in an unimaginable multitude of various projects, from singing soundtracks for films to charity acts, never ceasing to surprise and provoke the audience. Her excellent song Can’t Take It In on the final credits of the film The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is only one of the multiple examples of her immediate participation in creating the atmosphere in a film, TV series or a cartoon. As for Imogen Heap’s music career the singer can hardly manage to find time and effort for that. Thus, her debut I Megaphone was released eleven years ago, the sophomore breakthrough effort Speak For Yourself came out in 2005, so this summer the singer releases only the third studio work Ellipse obviously pretending to become the best in her discography.

The vocals are used as the accompaniment’s continuation on Ellipse

The album Ellipse proves to be Imogen Heap’s most many-faceted creation and only confirms that no boundaries exist for such a vivid individuality neither in style, nor in the manner of performance. If the singer paid much attention to the vocal parts on the previous works this time around she has made an accent on the accompaniment using the vocals as its continuation. The effect is so successful that you are not going to find not a single boring one among the 13 original tracks and the fact that some of the album editions include all the songs’ instrumental versions is even more pleasant in this respect. As for the tunes, there some memorable moments on Ellipse, as before, in fact, but at their most these are complicated, changeable compositions which make, however, quite an enjoyable listening. Thus, the first single First Train Home surprises at once with the unusual effects that Heap achieves with the help of synthesizers and her voice, whereas the track Wait It Out is a low-tempo reflecting on the philosophic themes of life and death. One of the most unusual numbers is Earth, this song will be especially interesting for Bjork fans – although the singers’ voices differ, the combination of an African rhythm and melodious singing remind of Imogen’s Icelandic colleague’s works. Another highlight is the composition Little Bird refined with unearthly sounds and Heap’s fragile vocals. The same can be said of Between Sheets, an excellent track taking the listener to a completely different world, whereas an emotional track The Fire, according to the singer herself, is the most personal on the record and has to do with her family traditions. The album closes with a bit mystic song Canvas and a most beautiful Half Life refined with a solemn orchestra arrangement.

Non-standard thinking and unique style

Having a difficult character Imogen Heap knew yet when a teenager what she wanted to do, did not get along with her music teacher and getting the classical skills of piano playing she learned to play many other instruments by herself. Today the singer works splendidly with the equipment refining her songs with samples, unusual electronic effects, space sounds and changing her own vocals in every way. Listening to Ellipse you are sure to have an impression that the artist is working with a whole orchestra although in most cases that is only her own sound inventions. Yes, she did work with the band Acacia in the late 1990s, and then with the Frou Frou project, and it was the experience which certainly helped her in her solo career. Yet it is still Imogen Heap’s non-standard thinking and unique style that make her music so recognizable and successful. Therefore, no matter how long we have to wait for her next creation it is sure to be worthy of all the patience spent for that.