Listening to Imogen Heap has always been an ethereal experience, and her fourth album ‘Sparks’ is no different. In her distinct otherworldly style, Imogen sends you soaring into the stratosphere with a collection of electropop gems, including a deliberately unfinished (and somewhat rambling) five minute-long ‘The Listening Chair’ which aims to give the listener an insight into her extra-terrestrial life. Each track is delightfully different, we come to the oriental inspired ‘Cycle Song’, a plethora of fast paced string plucking which throws back to her adopted hometown Hangzhou, where parts of the album were written in her local community garden.
With her hauntingly futuristic tones, the postmodern depiction of mundane everyday life ‘Telemiscommunications’ follows the potential breakdown of a relationship through exchanged phone calls, highlighting the amount of time we spend building relationships through technology and rarely face-to-face. It’s deep stuff, which hardcore Heap fans would have grown to expect by now. Ever the descriptive storyteller, Imogen puts her trademark husky whisper to good use with spoken word verses in ‘Neglected Space’, interspersed with the high notes that we’ve come to know and love this kooky, intergalactic lady for. It’s easy to see how each lovingly crafted creative masterpiece included within these fourteen tracks could be a new fan favourite, as each offer something entirely different.
From small Chinese villages and treks through the Himalayan mountains to spaces yet to be discovered, ‘Sparks’ takes listeners on a round trip of the world and then blasts you into space, leaving you feeling not only remarkably well travelled for a mere hour’s listening, but that no creative venture is out of your reach.
Check out ‘The Listening Chair’ right here: