Imogen Heap

British singer-songwriter Imogen Heap frequently sings against a backdrop heavy with electronic accoutrements--a creative tack that's been known to trigger critical repercussions. Take Beth Orton, whose early albums didn't receive the respect they deserved because reviewers suspected her of hiding behind the studio touches. Of course, if you believe what matters most is a song's overall impact, not whether it sounds as good when played on an acoustic guitar, then Heap certainly succeeds. Granted, 2005's Speak for Yourself is production-heavy; "Hide and Seek" is a densely layered vocoder showcase, while "Daylight Robbery" contains more than its fair share of beeps and blips. But the interaction between the electro-instrumentation and her beguiling singing lifts the tunes well above the ordinary. Heap, who shares this date with Zoe Keating, may lean on technology, but she makes it work for her, rather than the other way around.
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Michael Roberts
Contact: Michael Roberts