Stream Imogen Heap’s Inventive And International New Album ‘Sparks’


Sparks isn’t so much an album as it is an unparalleled project and experiment. Collaboration is a necessary part of almost all music, but the new work from Imogen Heap spans countries, peoples, and technologies like few others.

Ann Powers’ introductory piece for NPR’s First Listen series, which is streaming the album, can’t help but be a laundry list of the stories behind each song. It’s a rather unique laundry list, though, including items like Deadmau5, a documentary, an ever-expanding biographical track, 13 pianos across Edinburgh, a running app, and so much more. Each story could be its own documentary short, or book, or live video shot from within a submarine several leagues below the Mediterranean Sea. Anything is possible, really – have you seen gloves? They’re my favorite thing since discovering the theremin.

“But is the music good?” one might rightly ask. As much as I’d like to leave it for you, the reader, to find out by clicking through (thus becoming “you, the listener”), I can’t help but gush. This most unique album conception has led to a most unique and thoroughly modern pop album, one awash with a plethora of diverse sounds hailing from different places and times. But please, do listen for yourself. There isn’t an album quite like it this year – perhaps this should have been the album branded Artpop.

Tyler Hanan

Tyler raves about movies on the Let The Right Films In podcast. Listen to him make jokes over his beleaguered cohost Kayla St. Onge and their more qualified guests who deserve so much better at Find him on Twitter @tylerhanan.
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