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Describing Imogen Heap as an eclectic and talented musician is akin to saying Michal Jordan was a pretty good basketball player: a vast understatement. Since her days as the front woman for Frou Frou, Imogen has done nothing but grow as an artist, vocalist, and composer. With an uncanny, near perfect-pitch voice, classically trained musical skills, and the ability to give electronic riffs evocative emotion, she is without equal in her field.

Ellipse is proof that she continues to grow and learn, something that prodigies don't always do--sometimes it's easy for them to just coast. Not so for Imogen: if Speak for Yourself was both beautiful, nerdy, witty, and occasionally wantonly silly, Ellipse is nearly all of those things with the exception of silly; it is melancholic, yearning, sad, haunting, and ultimately lovely and satisfying on several different levels. It's great pop music if that's what you're looking for, but it's also a complete artistic work that pays off the careful listener. Imogene's song writing has always been about the revealing moments of life, and Ellipse has the same focus, deftly portraying homesickness, lost love, the power of art, etc., all set to her particular brand of homespun indie electronica and sung lovingly.

Ellipse is not significantly different from SPEAK FOR YOURSELF in either a good or negative sense. It shows progression and perhaps even a maturing, but ultimately it's Imogen doing what she was born to do: tell stories through song with electronic beats and synth sensibilities. The result is an album that is easy to embrace for new and old fans alike, and one of the most unique and desirable releases of 2009.

5/5 Star. Fantastic music. A must buy.
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on August 27, 2009
The first time I heard Imogen Heap's name was as songwriter for Way Out West's 'Mind Circus' a few years back - a melodic pop/breaks masterpiece at the time - but only discovered her all-round brilliance as an artist more recently.

Once I realised that she was also the production and engineering brains behind her own material I was even more intrigued and compelled - so quickly tracked down all I could find, gobbling up the Frou Frou album (created in tandem with the equally brilliant Guy Sigsworth - check out Alanis Morissette's 'Flavors Of Entanglement' for more of that production goodness) and 'Speak For Yourself' as soon as I could get my hands on them.

Both albums were chock-full of melodic and lyric invention coupled with detailed, layered electronic production - all of which revealed themselves further with repeated listening.

'Ellipse' is no exception. The first couple of hearings let the bigger hooks and general feel of the songs seep into your brain - one brain and 2 ears can only take so much in at once. But once you allow yourself to really get to know the material it reveals more and more layers of production and Imogen's melodies gradually untangle themselves like intricate puzzles, until eventually your head is swimming with the melodies and lyrics. And you can't wait to listen again, to learn more...

A number of online reviews have been lukewarm - and I can understand how this might be. Until you immerse yourself in the detail, the overall effect might seem middle-of-the-road or Enya-esque. But such reductions do the material an enormous disservice as there is WAY more going on in there than initially meets the ear.

Simultaneously melancholic and uplifting (that magical alchemy), this is pop - but it's the trickiest pop you're gonna hear for a while. If you're into that kinda thing :)
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on August 25, 2009
Imogen Heap finally returns with her third solo album, Ellipse. Ms. Heap certainly does not disappoint! This album is truly extraordinary. Upon listening, you can hear how meticulously this album was crafted. Not one song sounds rushed. Layers upon layers of electro-soundscapes pop and swirl around Heap's wonderful vocals. The lyrics are insightful and quirky, as only she can write. What's most pleasant to me is that this album doesn't try to be like any of her previous releases. It takes its own risk, and thus has its own identity within Imogen Heap's catalog.

"First Train Home" starts the album and also serves as the first single. This song is the closest you'll get to the material she's released before. After that, the tracks get more experimental. Gone are the familiar hooks that were heard throughout her last album, Speak For Yourself, and this isn't a bad thing. The instrumentation here is wonderous (hence why she decided to include a separate disc of instrumental versions of all the songs)! My picks for standout tracks include: "Earth", "Little Bird", "Bad Body Double", "Canvas" and "Half Life".

I simply cannot wait to see how the songs on Ellipse will be interpreted live on stage! There simply isn't another album out there like this. Another triumph for Imogen Heap!
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on September 7, 2009
I love this new album by Imogen Heap (see my review of the standard edition). My mistake on release day was hastily dismissing the deluxe edition as something for completists only and buying the standard edition instead. After I listened to a few of the instrumental tracks on-line on Rhapsody, though, I quickly realized that I really was missing something by not getting the deluxe edition. Think of it this way: The vocal and instrumental versions of the songs are like pictures of a beautiful scene taken from two different angles. You hear details--interesting little touches and nuances--in the instrumental versions that you just don't pick up in the vocal versions. You get a clearer view of the arranging/orchestration side of Imogen's talents, and the instrumental versions are surprisingly fun to listen to as an alternative album that sets a mood of its own. Imogen's backing tracks are amazingly clever, varied, and rich with interesting sounds, both natural and synthesized. I ended up getting the deluxe edition, and I'm very glad I did. Imogen had good reason to release the separate disc of instrumental tracks, as you'll discover if you pick up this excellent set. One really fun way to listen to "Ellipse" is to listen to the instrumental versions first and then the vocal versions (separated by perhaps a few hours or a day or two). The effect is amazing!

One possible disadvantage of the deluxe edition is that the discs slide into fairly tight-fitting envelopes attached to the inside front and back covers of the little hardcover book containing the liner notes. If that kind of packaging bothers you (it bothers me because it tends to scratch up the discs if you take them out very often), you might want to consider storing the discs in a 2-CD jewel case instead.
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on August 29, 2009
I was fortunate enough to have been introduced to Heap's exquisite song, 'Hide and Seek', a couple of years back and have greatly been anticipating her new work. I followed her YouTube videoblog during the making of the album and was truly impressed with her talent and dedication to her music.

This album is, quite simply, a trip. It's woven like a beautiful tapestry, with one track leading perfectly into the next. It's a bit jazz, a bit indie, a bit classical, a bit rock, a bit soundtrack, and all genius. Just when you think a track is simple and sweet, it breaks out and SLAMS you with a chorus that makes you feel as if you're standing at the top of the highest mountain, singing with every ounce of power your lungs can muster towards the glorious awes of living.

Nice to meet you, Imogen. Please stay.
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on September 11, 2009
I became a fan of Immi with Frou Frou's Details (and then I Megaphone), and when Speak for Yourself came out it took me a long time to get into it. For whatever reason, I just wasn't feeling it. I thought Goodnight and Go was too light and I just couldn't find my way into the rest emotionally. I liked it... but that was it. But about a year after it came out... I got it. I just pushed play to try it out again and I became enthralled. It's like this whole world was whizzing past me and I almost missed it. I love SFY now. I can't imagine why I didn't right at the start. I think that is what makes something like this so hard. Music is not only a personal creation (well, when it's done well) but it's also a very personal listening experience as well.

With Ellipse, I loved it right away. Maybe because my love for SFY was so great, but also because it's just an amazing album.

I have listened to the album almost non-stop since it's release. In fact, today was the first day I actually started to listen to the lovely Anna Ternheim album Leaving on a Mayday that I got shortly before Ellipse came out because Imogen would not let go of my iPhone! I'll admit I do skip two tracks on occasion - Earth and Between Sheets. It's not so much that I dislike them so much as I'm impatient to get to the track right after them at times.

I do think that Ellipse is perhaps a slightly less weighted album. Overall it just seems to have a lighter touch then SFY until the very end when 2-1/The Fire/Canvas/Half Life close out the album. And I'm not talking about lighter/heavier emotional content... it's more the style that's a bit brighter and bolder and lighter. Ellipse has a very natural progression whereas SFY tended to bounce a bit more from place to place. I think Ellipse is more reflective and therefore doesn't quite reach the highs of SFY. I don't think that's a bad thing because I think it errs on the side of being more thoughtful overall. To me, Ellipse sacrifices a little bit of the energy to spend a little more time on what it's trying to say.

That's a long way to say.... thinking of this as a better/worse situation doesn't really work for me. Rather, I think of them as two different flavors. It's like chocolate chip mint and butter pecan. Two flavors of ice cream I like very much for different reasons because they have their own unique strengths.
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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.
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It seems there is no limit to Imogen Heap's creativity. She has again created a magical world of musical ecstasy. Each song has a subtle intimacy and creative melody that dance together to produce stunning results.

"Between Sheets" is intoxicating while "Earth" is a good example of how Imogen uses her voice like a musical instrument. Her timing is impeccable throughout the album, setting a high standard for other musicians to follow. She bares her soul but remains in command of her emotions.

I loved the unrelenting urgency in "Train" and the beautiful vulnerability in "Little Bird." I've rarely heard anything as creative as "Bad Body Double" and loved the Bansuri flute in "Half Life." Basically I love everything on this album.

If you are trying to decide between the regular CD and this two CD edition go with the two CDs. You really get your money's worth and the pictures with poetic lyrics are all beautiful and very imaginative.

~The Rebecca Review
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on September 13, 2009
The first time I listened to the cd, I definitely had instant favorites. Half-Life, First Train Home, A-ha! The more I listened to the album as a whole, the more I fell in love with the tunes. I can't stop playing them over and over. Imogen Heap is so talented and she definitely outdid herself this time around. The booklet layout is beautiful ,and the instrumental tracks (bonus) are wonderful to listen to, they're very relaxing. If you liked her previous works, you won't be disappointed with this one.
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on May 21, 2015
when I bought most of Imogen heap cds a while back somehow I overlooked this one. I heard 'aha' on youtube I had to look to see what cd it was on. that was when I noticed I did not have this one. needless to say I was not at all disappointed. I love this cd and the prize was perfect. I would recommend this cd to anyone who does not have it in their collection.well worth having.
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