On The Download: Imogen Heap

It's been three years since Imogen Heap, the UK-based singer/songwriter/producer, released her last album, "Speak For Yourself," and now fans can look forward to her new album "Ellipse" due out sometime in August.

Imogen Heap (surprisingly, her actual birth name) gained notoriety from "Frou Frou" — a collaboration she did with producer Guy Sigsworth that was featured on Zach Braff's hit 2005 movie soundtrack "Garden State." Her music is a unique medley of electronica and pop, with vocals that can be described as everything from spiritual to haunting.

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Unlike other musicians, Imogen avoids the typical press events and instead opts for smaller, intimate gatherings. In front of a dozen people, in her two-story West Hollywood hotel room, Imogen Heap gave a sneak peek of a few tracks off her new solo album. It only take a few seconds before you understand that to Imogen, it is important to her that you not only listen to the music, but that you understand its inspiration, context and the story behind it.

After two years of touring, and somewhat daunted by the process of writing a new album, Imogen went to Google Earth, spun it around a few times and zoomed in on the area it selected. It would up being Hawaii. She then went to Google and typed in "Hawaii luxury accommodation grand piano" and found a place on the rainy side of Maui. She packed up her laptop and stationed herself on the tropical island for three months to complete the album.

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The album kicks off with "First Train Home," an upbeat track that stems from a night out she had in England, when all she wanted to do was head home. Beginning with her interpretation of a train orchestra, "First Train Home" takes listeners on a ride into Imogen's magical world of ethereal vocals and electronic textured layers.

The tone and inspiration for the songs on "Ellipse" are greatly varied. "Earth," is an angelic tribute to the planet from the perspective of Earth, as a mother, scolding humanity. Another track, "Canvas" was inspired by an extraordinary video of a man painting breathtaking landscapes on a black canvas with white paint.

The new album showcases all of Imogen's remarkable talents: vocals, lyrics, composition and programming. "Ellipse" runs the gamut of tone and style, mingling upbeat and energizing tracks with ones that are hypnotic and spellbinding. Her signature swirling vocals run powerfully through the downtempo set, with surprising twists and turns.


Although "Ellipse's" release is only a few month away, for fans of Imogen Heap, the wait until August will be a long one.

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