The New Imogen Heap Album: Ellipse

I’ve been anticipating this release forever! Pure inspiration. You can listen to the album in its entirety right here. What do you think? How does it compare to Speak for Yourself, or Details?

https://soundcloud.com/imogenheap/sets/ellipse-album

11 thoughts on “The New Imogen Heap Album: Ellipse”

  1. Just finished my first listen. Overall I like it, and I would say (tentatively, based on only one listen) that it’s about as good as Speak for Yourself overall. It seems to be more consistent but lacks a good handful of accessible standouts like the previous album had. In my opinion, neither album comes very close to Details, and I’m skeptical that a solo album of hers will ever top it. Still, this is a solid release overall.

  2. I’m about halfway through, and musically, I love it! Immy is wonderful at crafting compelling sonic landscapes. The mastering is driving me crazy though! The dynamics are not only lost, they’re reversed. The loudest parts are the intimate “soft” sections, and the parts that are supposed to be loud have no impact. It’s really a shame. The mastering on Speak For Yourself was bravely conservative, and allowed the full range of emotion to shine through. I hope I can get past it to enjoy the album, but I fear I won’t. It’s a curse. ;)

  3. Also have been looking forward to this : after a few years of bigging it up on her blogs etc, it not a masterpiece. I agree with Caius: it just rambles on like the worst parts of Speak for Yourself, but without the highlights. Only Last Train Home really does it for me. The lyrics are so introverted and contrived idea wise, it just sounds like someone who should get out more. You cant write every song about some insubstantial detail.

    Musically, I find its over staccato format boring after a couple of songs, and there is no development in the arrangements : bits of ear candy come and go, but aren’t developed. And melody wise, you really cant just sing the root of each key and then add very synthetic sounding harmonies and expect it to sound interesting for very long, even if you cover it up by trying to to pull the rug out from under the listener with harsh cuts in arrangement as a distraction.

    So all in all, nice to listen to for a couple of minutes, but goes nowhere, does nothing, as they say in star trek: LOL.

  4. I had the pleasure of mastering “Last Train Home” for a publisher compilation a few months ago, and the dynamic issue struck me immediately. Some might think it’s just something about streaming over the internet, but that’s not it. Anyway, enough about that!

    Personally, I’m happy to listen to it just for the ear candy and the sound of her voice. I trust my brain will catch on to the arrangements in time. I’ve been following her Twitter feed, but only for a few months, and not enough to be familiar with the songs. After only hearing a few tracks once through, for all I know it could be her best work musically and lyrically. I agree that sometimes the lyrics can be a little silly (on the other hand, who am I to talk?).

    I can hear a little resemblance to Primitive Radio Gods, but nothing to go to court over. ;)

  5. Am I the only one who just finds her kind of annoying? Her voice has this extremely distinct cloying effect, like a piercing needle to the “KILL!” section of my brain. She was pretty good with Temposhark, but I have to agree with Brian, she is just emphasizing the wrong sections of her music.

  6. I’m actually quite taken with her voice, yet I can understand why it might not work for everyone. There’s a good chance that the volume mismatching is completely a product of the mastering. I’ve listened through the whole thing now, and think the album could be a little treasure for me if not for the technical issues.

  7. Ooh! Connections:

    * I came here searching for “imogen heap” “mastering”. I haven’t noticed the volume mismatching as much — then again, I have hyperacusis. But, the album is overall mastered relatively soft compared to other contemporary records I have. This surprised me, but if Immi consciously signed off on it, save for what Brian noted above, then that could be one step in the right direction vs. the Loudness Wars.

    * As for the rest of her musical content, there’s a lot of beautiful melodies. Imogen is on-the-record about being meticulous re: her arrangements. But, I think that sometimes falls into the 80/20 (90/10) rule, time-wise. I read an Electronic Musician interview in which she sounded like she spent copious amounts of time doing, say, the beatboxing on Earth. Or crafting delays and removing sibilance MANUALLY instead of a warm reverb. But, I really can’t tell — and if subtlety’s the point, that’s the goal, but compared to something like BT’s audible stutter-edit production, I was expecting more ear candy.

    * I like Thesis theme very much too. :)

    * I’m familiar with Color Theory because of a Depeche Mode cover I heard awhile ago! Took awhile for that to surface but AHA! So, pleased to be here, and keep being creative!

  8. Thanks for stopping by Torley!

    My impression is that the volume of the album is on par with most these days. On the other hand, “Speak For Yourself” is quite conservative and sounds wonderful to my ears. So to my way of thinking, this is a step backwards.

    It’s always nice to find a fellow practician of the 80/20 rule! I can appreciate some of the detail work on headphones, but it’s more something that I note with interest rather than connecting with musically.

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