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Ellipse CD


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Amazon's Imogen Heap Store

Music

Image of album by Imogen Heap

Photos

Image of Imogen Heap

Biography

Biographyby Alex Henderson

As a rule, group efforts are normally launched before a solo career -- not after a solo career is in full swing. First, the artist makes a name for himself/herself as part of a group, then the artist leaves the group to become a full-time solo performer. That's the standard procedure, but British singer/songwriter Imogen Heap took a different approach, ... Read more in Amazon's Imogen Heap Store

Visit Amazon's Imogen Heap Store
for 13 albums, 9 photos, discussions, and more.

Frequently Bought Together

Ellipse + Speak For Yourself + Details
Price For All Three: £24.46

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Product details

  • Audio CD (24 Aug 2009)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: CD
  • Label: Sony Music
  • ASIN: B0028Y5MY0
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 18,631 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Buddha Machine 2.0
2. First Train Home
3. Wait It Out
4. Earth
5. Little Bird
6. Swoon
7. Tidal
8. Between Sheets
9. 2-1
10. Bad Body Double
11. Aha!
12. The Fire
13. Canvas
14. Half Life

Product Description

Product Description

After the leaps she made on the release of her last breakthrough album Speak For Yourself, British singer-songwriter-producer and two-time Grammy nominee Imogen Heap remained true to her do-it-yourself ethos, building her own studio in the old family home in Essex. Picking up where she left off, Imogen continues to redress the Artist/Audience relationship with Ellipse by enlisting the help of her huge fanbase to write the biography for the new album via Tweets submitted by her 650,000 (and counting!) followers on Twitter, to contribute artwork designs, and by keeping her fans up-to-date on the recording of the new album over 38 vBlogs, all available on her website. Upfront of the new album, Imogen even invited fans to complete an unfinished track "The Song That Never Was", providing the lyrics, with over 500 fans adding backing music for their own versions.

BBC Review

Imogen Heap is probably more famous right now for her online presence than her music. The price on an eBay-listed promo copy of this album was hiked up to £10 million after she encouraged her army of Twitter and MySpace fans to take action, and the singer has the kind of extended Wikipedia entry that is in direct disproportion to her commercial status.

But while brilliant in places, this third solo album by the ex Frou Frou vocalist and multi-instrumentalist will probably do little to change that status: Heap is sure to remain on the fringes of the mainstream, despite an ardent, and obedient, existing fanbase.

It's hard to say whether her appeal to lazy music researchers – octave jumping, understated, wispy vocals and a wordiness that sails a little close to sixth form self-importance, leading to inclusion on soundtracks to The OC as well as a Chronicles of Narnia movie – is a deliberate ploy. But, to be fair, the money undoubtedly earned seems to have been spent on a whole heap (ho ho) of cutting-edge recording gear. Ellipse has a level of production (by Heap herself) that almost obscures the craft beneath, by sheer dint of its excellence.

Heap's an undeniably clever cove, her electronics effortlessly straddling the divide between glitch and gloss. Multi-tracked vocals pulse and jitter, not unlike the faux-choral approach taken in recent years by Sparks. And a song like Little Bird delights with the subtle use of birdsong. The aforementioned voice is tastefully understated: in fact, so much so that it's a relief when her Essex vowels break free on Earth.

Yet too often you feel that this is songwriting that likes to wear a coat of cool over its rather well-educated heart. One suspects that Heap's fanbase isn't destined to be swelled by something so self-knowing and that in years to come her work will be filed next to World Party or Jellyfish in the 'clever yet underrated' file. While promising, it's to be hoped that she has something a little more challenging up her sleeve. --Chris Jones

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

22 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Diziet TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 25 Aug 2009
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
It's been four years. Oh yes, it's been worth the wait.

After the wonderful patchy intimacy of 'Speak for Yourself' comes this: 13 exquisitely produced mature pieces of electro-pop.

From the sleeve notes: 'Produced, Engineered, Programmed and everything inbetween by Imogen Heap'. Saying that, she has an impressive array of backing musicians with her, including Nitin Sawhney amongst many others.

Look, it's worth buying the CD - to start with, you're going to get better quality than any download - and the sound quality counts on this album - and secondly, you'll get the lyrics and some striking pics of Imogen Heap in a dark, electric land.

The album opens with the beautiful, rolling 'First Train Home', rippling synth and syncopated lyrics - 'first train home, I've got to get on it, first train home, I've got to get on it': she wants to get on getting on, and the music rolls on.

'Wait It Out' starts strong - yes, it's the end of the affair, but she can just sit it out - but then it collapses into sad and simple intimacy: 'And sit here, Just going to wait it out, And sit here cold, Just going to sweat it out, Wait it out.'

'Earth' - wonderful a cappella, multi-tracked playfulness, not putting up with it anymore: 'Stop this right away, Put that down and clean this mess up, End of conversation, Put your back into it and make it up to me now'.

'Little Bird' almost reminded me of Alison Moyet's 'Only You' but multi-tracked vocals.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Deckard on 5 Nov 2009
Format: Audio CD
OK, 4 years in the making with every move, mood and remix recorded for posterity on vblogs, the anticipation was always going to be high. I've been a fan since 'Speak', have most everything she's done including the excellent Frou Frou material, and have seen her live a few times.

So on to Ellipse which I've heard now countless times and feel able to review. It's easy to get swept up in her charm and down-to-earth approach. And there's nothing wrong with that. And clearly this album has been lapped up with gusto by her ever growing and adoring fan-base. But if you strip the adulation and anticipation away and stand back to view how this album stacks up against other Heap output the cracks do quickly appear.

Don't get me wrong, there is a lot of material here that works, and works well. 'First Train Home' belys the several year gap since 'Speak' and continues the Immi "sound" without missing a beat. Catchy, oh so well sung without being overstated. But why the strange acapella bridge after a couple of mins out of context with any other aspect of the track? Quirkiness is great, but so is groove and vibe and this section is so disposable I feel like digitally excising it.

'Bad Body Double' must surely be the next single. The physical frailties of a 30-something Essex girl do not sound like promising "great track" material but that's Immi's charm. And talking of frailty and charm, the closing track 'Half Life' exposes these traits blissfully. "Twee" should not work like this, but it does.

Why have I suddenly thrown the word "twee" into the mix? Because it's a word I found coming to the surface far too often when listening to the album. 'Little Bird', 'Between the Sheets', 'Aha' are prime culprits.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By E. A Solinas HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on 25 Aug 2009
Format: Audio CD
Imogen Heap doesn't need any introduction anymore -- she's the vocal half of Frou Frou, and the pop genius behind "Speak For Yourself." And her third album "Ellipse" demonstrates why she's a permanent presence on my "must-buy" list -- Heap still has a strong husky voice, a knack for writing brilliant pop music ("Dead in the stare of a thousand miles"), and lush and quirky instrumentation.

"Bodies disengaged, our mouths are fleshing over/Is this an echo game?" Heap murmurs over a bed of gentle beats, subtle guitar and shimmering keyboard. The song swells into a sweet, slightly desperate melody, lamenting that "I want to run in fields, paint the kitchen, and love someone/And I can't do any of that here, can I?" and her desperation to take the "first train home."

Then Heap smoothly slides into the dreamlike softness of "Wait It Out," with its brief blazes of electric guitar, and the playfully angular warmth of "Earth" ("Act like you own the place/when really you've only just arrived"). Among the songs that follow: soft electronica-tinged ballads, flickering piano pop, mournful xylophone pop, and funky and/or angular electronica with a sly edge.

The highlight is "Aha!", which is also the most sinisterly pretty song on the album -- lotsa cascading crystalline pop and swathes of dark strings. And Heap gets downright weird in a couple of the songs -- "2-1" is a weirdly uneven, clattery epic that sweeps through empty musical space, while the loopy rambling style of "Bad Body Double" is both engaging and bizarre.

"Ellipse" is the sound of an artist who has found her unique musical niche, and is now polishing it to gemlike brilliance -- it has much the same sound as "Speak For Yourself," but it's a little darker and more wistful.
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