An album ripped straight from the imagination of its quirky creator, Imogen Heap’s “Ellipse” is a must listen.
“Ellipse” was released in late August by RCA/ Megaphonic and is Heap’s third major solo album.
What struck me the most at first was the huge variability between tracks. “First Train Home,” the first track on the album, has a great upbeat pop backtrack which is melded with Heap’s light airy voice over the top.
The track “Canvas” has a dark drawn-out synthetic organ that mixes with her voice. Both the vocals and the backtracking on this song are dark, mysterious, and powerful.
My personal favorite track on this album has to be “Wait it Out.” It starts out as a pseudo acapella piece, with her own voice in the background singing some interesting supporting harmonies. The song also slightly showcases her skill as a pianist. But the lyrics were what made me want to put the song on repeat.
“And lackluster, in dust we lay around old magazines. Fluorescent lighting sets the scene for all we could and should be being in the one life that we’ve got.”
The song builds to a great crescendo and ends quietly with some ambient sounds and synthetic harmony with a sound that gives me a mental image of a warm pliable aluminum tube.
One of the greatest features of this album is that an instrumental version of each track is included. This is perfect background music for reading or studying.
Compared to Heap’s previous two albums, this one has more radio playability. Many of the songs are simple, fast-paced, and interesting lyrically. I think that Heap may disappoint some of her long time fans though, as the construction of some of the tracks lacks the complexity of those in her previous albums. This is particularly apparent in the vocals.
Overall, this is an excellent album. I would recommend it to anyone and especially to musicians who can appreciate some of the less apparent aspects. I would warn long-time fans though to be prepared for a potential let-down, as “Ellipse” is a little less complex compared to her last album. “Speak for Yourself.”