JUN 30 2014
Sparks has been on a well travelled journey, one which Heap began at 6am 14 March 2011, with a live stream from her home studio in a small village on the outskirts of London, gathering 'sound seeds' from fans and weaving them together to form the first song (Lifeline). Fast forward, 4 continents later, a dozen related projects and 14 tracks, the album cover artwork was then completed by those who pre-ordered the limited edition, super deluxe box set by sending in their footprints! The stunning piece of artwork and packaging, designed and developed over the past three years by Imogen and her creative team with CSV (the company behind Radiohead’s special packaging) it is the very first time that Imogen has released such a super deluxe package. An interactive album cover featuring the footprints of fans worldwide also just premiered on The Creators Project, a partnership between Intel and VICE.
Says Heap, “The album began with someone sending in the sound of striking a match for what became Lifeline in March 2011. I then dived into the most immense, intense creative 2 and a half years of my life that took me all over the planet, collaborating on so many projects with so many people and often totally spontaneously. The album is then in some ways for me grounded with fans’ footprints bringing the finishing touch for the album art, as so many of them came along for the ride.”
“Sparks” will be available in four formats – a standard edition, a double-disc edition with instrumental versions of all tracks, 12 inch vinyl and the super deluxe; super deluxe packaging will contain 12 individual data discs, 14 HD music videos, plus videos documenting the making of each song and the entire album, a double 10” vinyl album, a special deck of playing cards which unlock exclusive web content and a 120 page coffee-table-style book telling the story of “Sparks” along with the special ticket of blended items that allows access to sound-checks on the next tour.
While working on “Sparks,” Heap turned songs into projects and projects into songs, to bring her out of her studio and 'let life in' rather than postponing things until her album was done. This fresh approach found Imogen collaborating with everyone from her fans to unsuspecting passers-by, gardeners to filmmakers, scientists to newspaper journalists and brings us her most diverse and daring body of work to date. From the River Thames (You Know Where To Find Me) to 5000 feet up in the Himalayas (Climb to Sakteng, Cycle Song), from her local community garden (Neglected Space) to 6 weeks in the Chinese metropolis of Hangzhou (Xizi She Knows), Heap was soaking it up, writing, developing, recording and producing. Sounds of a dishwasher door to a Bhutanese dranyen, the voice of a crumbling wall to 700 fans’ becoming a spoken word chorus. One of Heap's projects include her brilliant Mi.Mu Gloves, developed over this album period with an incredible team of scientists, engineers, and artists (Me The Machine) and dabbled in generative and reactive music with music app developers RJDJ (Run-Time) connected to a jogging app. From the deeply personal love songs Propeller Seeds and Entanglement to the crowd sourced response to the Sendai earthquake (Lifeline), her trademark honesty runs through the album.
One of the songs will only be finished once she’s dead! The Listening Chair whizzes us through her first 35 years in 5 minutes and will be added to every 7 years with another minute of a cappella song!
Heap's last album Ellipse earned her a Grammy and Ivor Novello award. This summer marks the release of Sparks, her fifth (including Frou Frou's album Details) and most ambitious album to date. Sparks' songs have taken Imogen all over the world from her North East London home studio to the Himalayas via China. This year Imogen is the guest artist-curator for the iconic London Roundhouse venue’s new music festival Reverb. The eagerly awaited Sparks world tour will begin at Reverb with an extra special show in August 2014, however the rest of the tour is slightly delayed to May 2015 as Imogen will be a mum come November!
To follow more news from Heap herself, her much loved vBlogs are back. You can watch them here (YouTube.com/imogenheap) or sign up to her mailing list (http://imogenheap.fanbridge.com) to never miss a beat from the Heap
Full tracklisting for “Sparks” standard edition:
01. You Know Where to Find Me
03. The Listening Chair
04. Cycle Song
07. Neglected Space
08. Minds Without Fear
09. Me The Machine
11. Climb To Sakteng
12. The Beast
13. Xizi She Knows
14. Propeller Seeds