When we first wrote about Reese Lansangan almost three years ago, we never had the idea we would be seeing her everywhere. But now, indeed, she is: after the release of her debut full-length Arigato, Internet! she’s a ubiquitous presence – you might have seen her on television, or her work on magazines, or photos of her in stores, or maybe heard her music while on hold at Sky Cable. She even wrote a wedding song for Bossing and Poleng! Now, the multi-hyphenate (rolled into one convenient sushi, in her words) shares the five songs she can’t live without – and in her picks, a sense of wonder permeates.
Chances are you’ve probably heard most of Imogen Heap’s fourth studio album: most of the tracks here have been released over the past three years, whether online or in other albums (as is the case with “Telemiscommunications”, which appeared on deadmau5’s Album Title Goes Here). But that’s not enough of a gimmick for Sparks: some of the album was conceived and produced using some relatively unusual methods, from “Lifeline” being a crowdsourcing project, to “Me the Machine” being created out of some fancy gloves. Other songs are more attached to a sense of place, like “Xizi She Knows”, from her six weeks in China. All of this can be too much to handle – reviewing this record, I found myself trying to connect the conceit with the result, and struggling to see what was so different. Sparks is seemingly bogged down by the need to know the backstory for each song. But putting them all together somewhat gives it more heft: Sparks is a a history of Imogen Heap, of how she started, and how she continues, and possibly, how she ends. If you’re not into all that, you’ll be glad to know that the sounds are good, and the sincerity in Imogen’s voice makes what could be a very bloated record a relatively compelling one. [NB] | 3/5
“Telemiscommunications” by deadmau5 and Imogen Heap | This song has been out and about for a while. I’ve heard it a few times before while listening to the CBC’s excellent The Signal show. But yes, this is one of those instances when a song takes a while to truly sink deep into you, and you start to really dig it. I think it’s the first verse, of Imogen playing a man on the phone to his significant other, the way she delivers it, (and the tools she use to deliver it with,) going from quirky to, slowly, gradually, inevitably, painful. I may be overly dramatic on the last few adjectives, but it just goes deep. The theater of the mind element sound people constantly talk about. There you go. [NB]