Imogen Heap
I Megaphone



by francesfarmer USER (49 Reviews)
July 15th, 2006 | 2 replies

Release Date: 1998 | Tracklist

Eternal life. One of the world's mysterious goals that may never be granted upon us humans for the remainder of our stay in this universe. Most will tell you an elixer or some kind of scientific phenomena is required to proglong your health to infinity. Others, the wiser bunch, know that this is quite unlikely at the moment and can tell you a much easier way to live forever. You must work throughout your current life to the point where you as a person shall be forever looked back on, always remembered, never forgotten. There is yet another solution to gratify your desire to be thought of for so long, however. And it is much tougher, let me tell you, not everyone can be remembered in this anonymous fashion. Imogen Heap may not be the most famous of singers, but if she isn't influential, I don't know who is. Oh please, you may say. What of Fiona Apple and Alanis Morissette" Heap isn't the first chic artist. I know this, and the fact that it is unlikely Imogen would have thought about releasing i Megaphone if these women had never existed in the world of music. But even so, they do, and what can you make of Imogen Heap after that" Shes got alot to live up to. And my, does she" Of course she does! Have you heard this" Well, in most cases no, which is the point your reading I assume. Lets have a look, shall we"

Imogen Heap's 1998 debut i Megaphone. A glorious combination of Radiohead-esque blips and bleeps (referring to the instrumentation, of course) and new wave female vocal work. It was to combine several aspects of modern pop and rock music, and was seemingly the initial layout for the girl's future project Frou Frou. The album is what FF would sound like if some of the means of production were removed, and most of the focus were put on the vocals. Although playing a large role on the record, the vocals are obviously displayed as not the only thing set up for the stage when this album was being made. The production was taken advantage of, so the whole thing has an 'empty room' feel to it, like it was echoing. It'll have a trance like affect on your consciousness if your not careful. The flow is amazing, and proving that massive producer budgets are anything but necessary to create a truly captivating piece of music.

Apparently the singer had been listening up on her Radiohead in the process of writing i Megaphone. There are clear references to earlier albums from the European outfit, and they are executed with great carefulness and passion on the record. Nothing falls too short of the pop standards. The influences here are amazingly noticable. Much of today's singing can be traced back to sounding almost exactly like that displayed on this album, whether female or not. The constant staccato, the beautiful crescendos and spine tingling decrescendos. Imogen uses a trademark aggressiveness in her voice to grab the listener by the ear and drag them in her desired direction.

Of course this work keeps itself from becoming the perfect album. I can defenitely see how some of the record's repetition would not fly at all with many listeners. Imogen has a knack for the little things that may drive away casuals. Her music isn't naturally the kind that you let grow on you, its pop inside and out. This could cause some problems. Her pitch is fine, but she tends to shift the tone of her voice to how she sees fit, not so audience friendly. Her songs are either mono in the case of tone, she refuses to change or she moves about the mic constantly. The girl knows how to sing, however. Staccato seems her strong point. Now if you aren't a fan of the general pop stuff, i.e. Dido and Alanis I can't say I can recommend this at all to you. It is very experimental musically, and became a controversy of itself. Imogen wanted change and she got it, but as we all know in terms of music change is not always good. You need to know exactly how to pursue that goal.

And does she" Yes. What departs this from other generic pieces of pop music are the echoes, staccato...if you listen the drum effects become very intricately laced with her vocals as much of the instrumentation is on this. There is co-operation between the two. There is no puppet and puppeteer; the songs seem at some points so aggressive that the instrumentation may at one point just carry out a bizarre riff much to its own as Imogen continues to sing. Departation seems constantly imminent, but it never occurs. Its an album that defenitely if listened to in the correct situation can keep you on the edge of your seat. Few works can do that, as you should know.

i Megaphone is a playground of sorts. It has in one corner of the park, special effects machines for the artist to mess around with. An innocent child hops up onto the machine and begins to play a most unnatural combination, and a young female vocalist walks to the far side of the grounds and begins to sing and shout in staccato and ever increasing pitch, with steep decreases. The effects ring and the machines turn round, and Imogen, the vocalist steps sideways to see what has happened. The boy carries the still playing machines alongside him as he skips away in a nonchalant fashion, and Heap chases at full speed. She reaches him and he stops, smiles, and sets down his machine. The effects return to normal and her racing heart calms as her voice decrescendos. That, in all respect, is the beauty of music. Change is required to create what you want and keep everybody in the bar turned sideways staring at you with the cigarette forgotten, laying cushioned between their lips and the beer sliding through their sweaty excited fingers. That is what will never be forgotten.


Vocals: Imogen Heap
Bass: Randy Jackson
Drums: Andy Kravitz
Drums: Abe Laboriel Jr.

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Comments:Add a Comment 
July 16th 2006


This sounds really unique, new-wavish female vocals + Radiohead electronics sound promising. Good job on the review, I'm definitely going to look into this.

August 29th 2011


Album Rating: 4.0

Well, this deserves at least a 4... Cd showcases her talent.

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