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Something is missing.
on September 4, 2009
After creating one of the best albums of the 00's, the stunning "Speak For Yourself", Imogen Heap's follow-up formula is unsolvable on Ellipse. Gone are the urgent, layered soundscapes. Instead, the (still) most talented songwriter on the planet delivers interesting compositions, but with 2D production. Excluding "First Train Home", the magnificent, but out-of-place opener, Ellipse feels, well, elliptical in comparison to what we know Ms. Heap is capable of. That is to say the overall sound is squashed- a compressed retread of the genius that preceeded it; as if Heap took the fulfulling sphere of "Speak For Yourself" and forced it into an uncomfortable shape.
Just a few great moments rescue Ellipse from a below-average rating: the previously mentioned "First Train Home", a fantastic bridge in "Swoon", and the start-to-finish gem "Half Life". The remainders, while compositionally satisfying, just don't deliver the sonic drama promised by each of the previous Imogen Heap/Frou Frou releases.
Imogen Heap is an undeniable vocal talent, but without the crisp and complex sonic production, the circle is not complete. Yet even after the mild disappointment of Ellipse, I can't wait to hear what Imogen Heap offers next.