Imogen Heap performed a one off iTunes concert whereby she played her entire debut album iMegaphone (still my favourite of her four albums she’s released including Frou Frou) on piano. The result is something that showcases Imogen live and offers a new insight into old material.
Having what was a piano based album that was drenched in guitars, noises and preluding synth extras taken down into bare bones shows each song in a different light. “Getting Scared” changes from a building pulse to a rip roaring stop/starter with passion and energy, whilst “Sweet Religion” slips and slides at such a speedy rate, my favourite song from the original album takes on a superhero plight. Little Heap anecdotes into what the songs about also give you new insight into the tracks too.
“Oh Me, Oh My” feels much more desperate and less like a devine moment and “Shine” gives you a complete Immi freak out! Her story about Shine also makes me laugh because she talks about having water in her ears when she was crafting the song and when you go back to hear the start of the song on the album, there’s a nautical opening throbbing. “Shine” really sounds like a completely new song and is utterly amazing.
“Whatever” is transformed too, while “Angry Angel” loses none of its feriocity with its guitars stripped away. With Heap’s tendancy these days to play songs with all kinds of instruments all at once, it’s a beauty to hear her just alone with piano again sometimes. “Candlelight” is one pure example of a beautiful track that deserves more attention. So emotive and simple, it’s a timeless piece. “Rake It In” is utterly nuts! The original was like a manic fairground ride, and this version see’s Immi screaming and moaning like a cheesy hammer horror movie. It’s so dark and delicious all at once!
“Come Here Boy” is the one song really carried forward from this era and is faithfully recreated. “Useless” is completely revamped and sounds brand new and “Sleep” is just as pretty and sparse as the original.
In addition, some b-sides are included including my favourite b-side scorcher “Leave Me Here To Love” which is fantastic to finally hear live in all its raw glory – a real personal highlight. “Blanket” is an unusual choice as it was her collaboration with Urban Species and includes a rap! Finally “Kidding” closes the set with a flowing channel of emotion through voice to fingers to ivory and out again.
Some people aren’t fans of stripped down performances. Going from this iMegaphone Live album, I have no idea why. Each song is organically revolutionized into something new and indulgent. With Imogen’s new sound, she gets to experiment with everything and that’s great, but with this more intimate side, you really get the best of both worlds.