September 10, 2009

Test Spin: Imogen Heap

Print More

This is an album worth $20 million.
When a promotional CD of Imogen Heap’s Ellipse went up for bids on eBay, Heap herself agreed to pay a record-breaking €10,000,000 for the disc in an attempt to close the auction.
The journey Heap took during the making of this album, however, remains priceless. For this junior effort, she uploaded YouTube videos documenting the whole recording process, from reconstructing her ellipse-shaped family home after which the album is named to the making of the record’s first music video. She answered her fans’ questions and suggestions through Twitter and even held a “Tweetup” where she met with her followers to answer even more queries. That level of communication just isn’t seen anymore with musicians. (Plus her website,, is streaming the album for free).
But all this interaction has had a bittersweet effect on the album: The record isn’t exactly ground-breaking. Obviously, the album is innovative compared to many of her contemporaries’, but it dances around similar grounds of Speak for Yourself, her last effort. Songs like the Tim Burton-esque “Aha!” and the instrumental “The Fire” serve as refreshing breaks, but most of the tracks end up sounding redundant. Some other standout tracks include the first single off the album, “First Train Home,” a song about being disconnected from others, and “Bad Body Double,” an ear-worm that features the sounds of water dripping from a shower hose and, oh yeah, her slapping her own ass. The album is definitely worth a listen and proves once again that the British do it better.
So, after four years, 40 YouTube vlogs, around 1,666 Tweets, a couple of blog entries and a winning battle with eBay, Imogen Heap finally provides the uplift that she sings about in one of the tracks, “Earth”: “If we hold any hope, it’s harmonic connection and stereo symbiosis.”