I collect music boxes, and so, for my birthday yesterday, my friend gave me a little mechanical music box set which can play any melody you punch into its papers. How cool is that?!
All afternoon, I’ve been thinking of which Imogen Heaps songs I really love the most, and the place my mind keeps jumping is to her latest album — a collection of live improvised songs that, since its release, I have not been able to stop listening to.
During Imogen’s most recent American tour for her album Ellipse, she created a new song at each concert, starting from a key and other various ideas suggested on-the-spot from the audience. Each piece that she recorded was then put up for sale after the concert, and all proceeds generated by that song went (and still go) to a fan-chosen charity local to the city where the song was made. As you can tell already, Imogen Heap is a genius and a dear :)
After wrapping up her tour last June with a concert in Santa Barbara, CA — which I was fortunate enough to go to! — Imogen cleaned up the charity tracks (removing conversation before and after, etc.) and released all the songs together as the 23-track masterpiece, Live Charity Improvs Album (US Tour 2010). What a lame title for the amazing music contained behind it :/
I am so blown away by this album, I’m having trouble putting it into words. Hearing her music – in its simplest form, in its creation, with the raw and unpolished feeling only live music can have – takes me to another place. The first time I listened through this album straight through, I equally cried and got up and danced and cheered several times over. I don’t know that even Imogen knows how brilliant she is, but she has changed my heart so many times for the better with her music. I sound like a gushing fool, but let me be one, then — I don’t care; her music is amazing.
There is one song in particular that I can’t get out of my head right now – track number 23 from the Santa Barbara concert I attended. It’s an incredible exploration of mood around one (rather upbeat) base melody. I think it’s brilliant:
Track 5, “Philadelphia Improv for Tri-State Bird Rescue,” is so catchy and beautiful. I love how most of the piece is dancing around the resolution, but she constantly teases us.
I think one of the most gorgeous and haunting pieces on the whole album is track 21, “Los Angeles Improv for Tree People” - it reminds me of Eric Whitacre in the beginning.
I really could list all the tracks here, but that would be unfair to her and unfair to you! If you like what’s above, I really encourage you to get the whole album and experience it properly. I absolutely love all the tracks, especially numbers 11 and 17 as well. And all the proceeds go to charity! :)
I have 99 songs by Imogen in iTunes (not kidding), all of which take my spirit to another place and have special meaning for me. I don’t know which ones I’ll eventually choose; I have a feeling I’m going to need more than a day to decide on the first song…
(Imogen, you are beautiful, brilliant, and absolutely magnificent exactly as you are. Thank you for the music you give the world!View Comments / Leave a Comment →