Although Imogen Heap is - apparently - well known and released her first album already back in 1998, I never heard of her until a friend told me about her last year. As you may know, I'm always taking recommendations by those I trust in musical taste, so I added her to my list of artists to check out. Since this list grew quite long over the years, it took me until a couple of weeks ago to check Imogen.
I really don't know why it took that long for me, to be honest. I really like the name "Imogen", I think this name would be somewhere in the top of names I would give my daughter when I will become a father of a girl (not that I'm becoming father, at least not that I'm aware of). But that said, I suspect that I'm not too much triggered by names, since names doesn't tell anything about the music. Or does it? Hmm, when so, that is something I need to dig into another time.
Four albums Imogen released, Discogs is telling me; With the last one released in 2014 titled "Sparks". Discogs further tells me "Experimental", "Folk", and "Indie Pop". Especially the "Experimental" tag drove me to search for the Sparks album specifically; YouTube being the obvious place of search. The playlist was quickly found, and the play button was even more quickly pressed.
While listening to the first track. I wanted to know what a great newspaper like the Guardian had to say about Imogen and in particular her Sparks album. The Guardian can be quite critical and as far as I know the Guardian are rarely super positive! I do like such approach to be honest! Never ever just rave about things, while almost anything can be improved! Nothing is perfect, so it is very difficult to just give a 10 out of 10 to something.
The Guardian writes back in 2014:
Imogen Heap's fourth record is less a coherent album than a collection of crowdsourced collaborations, generated through methods and techniques that include a running app and a pair of gloves that turns the wearer's body into a human harp. Sparks was written in a community garden in Hangzhou, China, and in the Himalayas in Bhutan. There's a song called The Listening Chair that will never be finished, with Heap promising to add a new verse every seven years. If you uploaded images of your footprints to her website, you'll find them reproduced on the cover. (As fan interaction goes, it's definitely one up on a T-shirt.) Musically, Sparks is a bit of a mess. In its dogged determination to be unique, it has sacrificed structure and direction, and it gets bogged down in the sheer volume of all the voices. While it's easy to admire the ambition of this album, it isn't always easy to listen to.
Interesting method Imogen uses! I like out-of-the-ordinary approaches!
Regardless what the Guardian had to say, I can inform you I have listened to Sparks many times by now. Not that I have the album on repeat, but for sure I listen to it quite regularly.
Not sure how I should explain the sound of this album. Maybe a combination of Clannad, Björk and Experimental Electronics making all what I hear something that is far off from mainstream, and quite pleasant to my brains!
I have no idea how popular - or not - Imogen is, but the album Sparks, sparked something in me that will for sure lead to following this lady more closely.
The Play Button is Not Far Away
Artist: Imogen Heap
You Know Where To Find Me
The Listening Chair
Minds Without Fear
Me The Machine
Climb To Sakteng
Xizi She Knows