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Monday, 18 August 2014

Imogen Heap - Run-Time

Today (Monday 18th August 2014) marks the release of Imogen Heap's fourth album "Sparks". In the UK it is released on her own label, Megaphonic Records, in America it is released on RCA Records. I became aware of her work when "Hide and Seek", from her second album "Speak For Yourself" received publicity. That vocoder sound on that track is both mechanical and moving; it sounds like a robot's lament! You may be more aware of it as the chorus was sampled on Jason Derulo's "Whatcha Say". "Sparks" was started off when 900 sound samples were sent in by fans. My favourite track from the album is "Run-Time", which was initially started off as an app collaboration, that would change music as you run. I think there's something about the way the music moves in "Run-Time" that you can feel that element. The track starts instantly with a burst of 80's dance energy (that initial burst you get as you start run), the verse begins with Imogen's great voice (like when you settle into your pace) and when the chorus starts up again there is that shot of dance energy coming back again! The breakdown feels like the bit you are struggling, before you are once again re-acquainted with the catchy chorus. There is an additional minute or so of music at the end, which is a complete departure from what has coming before. There's a sound build-up before it breaks out into another 80's style dance-type rhythm, but one which is different to the first. If I was to describe it I'd say it was the type of thing that was found on La Roux's first album. I love the video too! In it Imogen Heap wakes up, walks around, frequently breaking into some funky dance moves. That is a very simplistic review, but if you check out the video you'll be drawn in by the freedom of movement and the scene at the end where a crowd is just dancing in unison.

It was only by the third time I had listened to the tune and stopped dancing around to it that I actually focused on the lyrics. It is one of the happiest break-up songs of all-time! From her point she knows they are breaking up and you'd sense that her partner does too, But there seems to be an agreement that they should do it now, before it gets too acrimonious. The chorus is a perfect illustration of this;
"You know we've had it good, we've had it bad, so no hard feelings.
We've done all we could and all again. I’m done pretending.
Let’s quit while we’re still friends."

I think the elation and freedom of movement that is shown in the video goes perfectly well with the song, highlighting the freedom and relief that the subject now feels about being single, after a relationship has turned a bit sour.

 "Sparks" is a great album. Pieces have been heard over the last 3 years, but now it is released as a full work. It continues the trend that Imogen Heap has for creating eclectic music, that makes you listen, but still can make you get up and dance, as found in "Run-Time".

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