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Imogen Heap

Simi Bhullar


The music industry can be described in a similar way to a body of water. Though the surface can seem gentle and slow moving, beneath the calm exterior lies a constant process of evolution and advancing movement. Many bands are lost in the dark shadows as a skimmed stone always falls to the bottom of the riverbed to join the thousands of others who have followed the same route only to lie in a dormant slumber, perhaps never to rise again.

Technology’s advancement is exponential and soars to its peak with no hope of dropping down again. Musicians are becoming less and less of a necessity for both live and recorded music. With a computer and downloaded software, anyone can produce music to an extent.

Imogen Heap has always been known to be experimental in her musicality and creativeness, even from a young age. At school she taught herself several instruments as well as skills in music engineering, production and sampling.  Her work is innovative and usually ahead of her time, based heavily on ambient sounds blended with her breathy, far away vocal tone.

Thirteen years after her debut solo album, Imogen Heap has begun to release some of her most original work. Following on from the success of Lifeline, her most unique song to date, she brings to the public eye and ear Heap Song 2, the first audio 3D track. Complete with a 3DiCD, this album allows the listener to be absorbed within the tracks visually by complimenting the music with images.

Imogen Heap strives to push the boundaries and seek new methods to creating her pieces and that’s just what she did for Lifeline. Over a 2 week period Imogen collected and connected her favourite sounds, images and videos sent to her from her fans. The outcome was a track created like no other. All those involved were invited to celebrate in the release of this compilation.

With such an exciting and one of a kind project under her belt, Imogen couldn’t resist trying it just one more time, the difference being in that the meaning of the song was not disclosed to draw on the personal connection of the listeners to help her complete it, without even hearing the song. Phrases were released online that described the atmospheric setting to encourage the listeners to relate sounds to that phrase. Imogen partnered up with Nick Ryan, a renowned sound designer and audio specialist. As a result of his many conversations with Imogen, Nick was then able to collate the many sounds, some of which were recordings that the song’s followers made of themselves, that he thought connected the sections and formed the required effect that Imogen desired.

Imogen has described Heap Song 2 as a song retained in its simplest form to allow the voice to be the focal point. Although there is a melody played throughout the track, it remains pure and in the background with augmented versions of it played to create movement within the song and through the various sections. She has not used drums and has limited supporting instruments. As with a lot of her music, she prefers to use sounds and everyday noises to create the overall composition, layering them upon each other for the desired fill.

For the last 2 weeks Imogen has had the help of all of her listeners, who will be filmed in the video to go along with the track, and hopes to reveal the finished version on 6th July.