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It's nice to be a total fan...,
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This review is from: Imogen Heap's Everything In-Between: The Story of Ellipse [DVD] (DVD)
...of someone who actually deserves it. Imogen Heap earns our devotion all over again with this entertaining, fascinating insight into her - oh no - "musical prOcess" (with a short "o" for full pretentious effect). No, never fear: the music does, indeed, come first with this immensely talented lady; as ever. But this intimate look into her creation of "Ellipse" is compelling beyond the music, as it's her lovely character that comes across in huge waves of affection, too. This is a great piece of communication in every way, a real lesson to all those "creative rites of passage" artists who trowel on the "suffering for mah music" portentousness without ever letting us know who they really are or giving us a sense that there's some real pleasure to be shared.
The film captures her high spirits and sheer generosity just as acutely as it does her driven, intense application to the music. If "driven" and "intense" make you wince like me, it's probably because of all those aforementioned agonised, inaccessibly dark studies to which we've become accustomed. Don't get me wrong, Immi works harder and deeper than many, most on the current scene: it's just that she has such natural charm as to make even our accompaniment of her through the late-night/early-morning creative marathons feel somehow warm and rewarding. The film does a fantastically empathetic job in generating an honest, absorbing involvement in her music and life and vice-versa as they're the same thing...
We've come to Imogen Heap in what we think is the right order (I don't mean Royal "we," that's me and my wife): music first. Having heard lots of good things, we still hadn't got around to acquiring any albums (probably because I only "do" singer-songwriters under duress) when we saw her with Jeff Beck on his televised Ronnie Scott's appearance. After that, it was straight into the wonderful "Speak for Yourself," "I Megaphone," the lush majesty of Frou-Frou and, most recently, the incredible "Ellipse," whose making is the main subject of the film. Her music is just fabulous: and you can read up elsewhere on the above albums if you're not there yet. Better still, do an Amazonian "also buy" deal with this DVD, get it all done in one, you won't regret it.
So, after devouring the music, we then had the immense pleasure of seeing her live, in Birmingham earlier this year and, more recently, at her exquisite, magical "Evening With" at the Albert Hall on November 5th (DVD in due course, please!). On both occasions, it was with real joy that we discovered that, not only does she do her fine compositions more than justice with rich, vibrant performances - reminiscent, to me, of the miracles achieved by artists like Fourth World (Flora and Airto), huge, original sounds from a few musicians in great rapport - but she's also a most endearing character (which is really hard to get across without sounding all twee, so you're just going to have to get the DVD again as she gets it across much better than I can). "Engaging" is the best word. Or maybe "enchanting..."
In brief, I - we - haven't followed an artist with such enthusiasm for quite a while. Haven't been able to (plus, we're not natural stalkers, anyway; I'm too old). Imogen Heap, however, finally presents us with someone whose talent we can admire and whose dedication and industry we can respect to the max, without shame or fear of, er, fanaticism. If celebrity were meritocracy, Immi would be the most famous musician in the world (as opposed to on the web). That alone, the music, would be enough: but this film does a fabulous, authentic job in hooking us up with a really warm and thoroughly deserving, inspired and inspiring, endlessly giving person as well. I defy anyone to watch this without smiling as readily as you do when encountering a good friend.