Ellipse (album)

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Imogen Heap - Ellipse.jpg
Studio album by
Released24 August 2009[1]
RecordedMarch 2007 – June 2009
GenreElectronica, ambient
LabelMegaphonic, RCA Victor
ProducerImogen Heap
Imogen Heap chronology
Speak for Yourself
Singles from Ellipse
  1. "First Train Home"
    Released: 14 July 2009

Ellipse is the third studio album from British singer-songwriter Imogen Heap. After returning from a round the world writing trip, Heap completed the album at her childhood home in Essex, converting her old playroom in the basement into a studio. The album got its name from the distinctive elliptical shape of the house.[2] The album's title was confirmed by Heap via her Twitter page on 25 April 2009, after being leaked onto the internet on 23 April. On 15 June, Heap confirmed that the album would be released on 24 August 2009 in the United Kingdom on Megaphonic Records and 25 August in the United States/Canada on RCA Victor Records. International release date was also 24 August.

Subject matter in the songs includes post break-up malaise ("Wait It Out"), domestic boredom ("Little Bird"), body image issues ("Bad Body Double") and a common Heap theme, unrequited love ("Swoon" and "Half Life").[citation needed] On 17 August 2009 Heap made the album available for live streaming via her webpage.[3] The album can no longer be streamed via her webpage but was moved to SoundCloud.[4]

As of 2011, the album had sold 161,000 copies in United States.[5]


In July 2009, a promotional copy of the album (designed by Andy Hau[6]) appeared on eBay; Heap in return placed a bid of £10,000,000 to try to reclaim the album, which eBay rejected.[7] As of 8 July, eBay had ended the auction.[8] On 14 July, the first single "First Train Home" was released, and a digital pre-order for the album became available on iTunes in two versions.

The deluxe version includes instrumental tracks of the entire album. Both standard and deluxe editions feature a "Behind the scenes" video when pre-ordered. As the song "The Fire" is already an instrumental, the "instrumental" version on the Deluxe edition's second disc consists of just the crackling fire in the background of the song proper. The solo piano track, without the fire sounds, was included only on the Deluxe CD copy of the album, as a hidden track at the end of "Half Life"; digital copies omit this hidden track.

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic4/5 stars[9]
The A.V. ClubC[10]
The Boston GlobeFavourable[12]
The Daily Telegraph2/4 stars[13]
The Guardian4/5 stars[14]
PopMatters7/10 stars[16]
Slant4/5 stars[17]
Sputnikmusic3.5/5 stars[18]

Critical response to Ellipse was generally positive. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the album has received an average score of 68, based on 12 reviews.[19] It also earned her a further two Grammy Nominations on 2 December for Best Pop Instrumental Performance for "The Fire" and Best Engineered Non-Classical Album. On 31 January 2010, it was announced that Heap had won the latter award.

Live performances[edit]

In October 2008, Heap travelled to America to perform at Pop!Tech in Camden, Maine. She performed the song 'Wait It Out' live, for the first time ever on 24 October.[20] The performance was recorded and released on Youtube.com the following day.[21][22]

On 24 August 2009, Heap appeared on the Late Show with David Letterman (although the episode didn't air until the 28th) and performed "First Train Home". On her Twitter page, Imogen admitted that she messed up on the second line of the second verse during the performance.

The following day, on 25 August, Imogen headed to the WNYC Radio Station in New York to play "First Train Home" and "Half Life" on air and give a short interview.[23]

Track listing[edit]

On 8 June, Heap confirmed the following as the album's official and final track listing:

All tracks written by Imogen Heap.

Standard edition (Disc 1)
1."First Train Home"4:13
2."Wait It Out"3:57
4."Little Bird"4:07
7."Between Sheets"2:54
8."2-1" (formerly "Polyfilla")4:42
9."Bad Body Double"4:07
11."The Fire"1:59
13."Half Life"4:02
Total length:48:41



  • Projection concept and production – Jennie Hancock and Ewan Robertson
  • Ellipse swirl logo - Andy Hau
  • Management – Mark Wood
  • Design – Richard Bull
  • Projections – Annelieke Bosdijk, Albert Q Bui, Jessica Butler, Alex Carmichal, Randall Dameron, J. Daniel Geddis, Vladislav Gusarov, Adriane Lake, Nick Moulakis, Nathan Nye, Michelle Thomas
  • Photography – Jeremy Cowart
  • Mastering engineer – Simon Heyworth
  • Mastering assistant – Joe Gilder


Chart (2009) Peak
Canadian Albums (Billboard)[24] 4
UK Albums Chart[25] 39
US Billboard 200[26] 5
US Top Dance/Electronic Albums (Billboard)[27] 1
US Top Rock Albums (Billboard)[28] 4
US Top Alternative Albums (Billboard)[29] 3

Release history[edit]

Country Date
United Kingdom 24 August 2009
France, Asia, US 25 August 2009
Canada, Mexico, Japan 2 September 2009
Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Ireland, New Zealand, South Africa, Denmark,
Finland, Norway, Sweden, Czech Republic, Italy, Benelux, Greece
14 September 2009
Poland 28 September 2009
Hungary, Australia 19 February 2010[30]


  1. ^ "Ellipse | News". Imogen Heap. Archived from the original on 26 February 2012. Retrieved 2012-02-15.
  2. ^ Songfacts
  3. ^ "Ellipse | News". Imogen Heap. Archived from the original on 27 February 2012. Retrieved 2012-02-15.
  4. ^ "Ellipse Album on SoundCloud". Imogen Heap. Retrieved 2013-03-03.
  5. ^ https://www.billboard.com/articles/news/472326/imogen-heap-talks-new-album-fan-created-first-song
  6. ^ "Imogen Heap". Andyhau.com. Archived from the original on 17 March 2012. Retrieved 2012-02-15.
  7. ^ Kernohan, Marcus. "Imogen Heap in £10m bid… for her own CD". stereokill.net. Archived from the original on 28 August 2009. Retrieved 2012-02-15.
  8. ^ Fusilli, Jim (8 July 2009). "With Help From Fans, British Music Star Imogen Heap Solves an eBay Crisis". The Wall Street Journal.
  9. ^ Ellipse at AllMusic
  10. ^ Koski, Genevieve (2009-08-25). "Imogen Heap: Ellipse · Music Review · The A.V. Club". The A.V. Club. Retrieved 2014-05-07.
  11. ^ Mason, Kerri. "Review: Imogen Heap, "Ellipse"". Billboard. Retrieved 27 August 2018.
  12. ^ "Imogen Heap, 'Ellipse' - The Boston Globe". Boston.com. 2009-08-24. Retrieved 2014-05-07.
  13. ^ Culture (2009-08-24). "Imogen Heap: Ellipse, CD review". Telegraph. Retrieved 2014-05-07.
  14. ^ Sullivan, Caroline (14 August 2009). "Review: Imogen Heap, Ellipse (Megaphonic)". Film & Music. London: Guardian Media Group (14 August 2009): 9. Retrieved 1 May 2010.
  15. ^ duBrowa, Corey. "Review: Imogen Heap, "Ellipse"". Retrieved 27 August 2009.
  16. ^ Lyndal, Erin. "Imogen Heap: Ellipse". PopMatters. Retrieved 2014-05-07.
  17. ^ "Music". Slant Magazine. Retrieved 2014-05-07.
  18. ^ "Imogen Heap - Ellipse (album review 3)". Sputnikmusic. 2009-08-19. Retrieved 2014-05-07.
  19. ^ "Ellipse Reviews, Ratings, Credits, and More at Metacritic". Metacritic.com. Retrieved 2012-02-15.
  20. ^ "Twitter / Imogen Heap: wow.. what an amazing day!". Twitter.com. 2008-10-23. Retrieved 2012-02-15.
  21. ^ "imogen heap - wait it out (live at pop!tech) (with lyrics)". YouTube. 2009-02-21. Retrieved 2012-02-15.
  22. ^ "Imogen Heap PopTech performance". YouTube. Retrieved 2012-02-15.
  23. ^ "Imogen performs 'First Train Home' and 'Half Life' live on WNYC's Soundcheck". New York City, NY, USA. 25 August 2009. Archived from the original on 17 August 2009.
  24. ^ "Imogen Heap Chart History (Canadian Albums)". Billboard. Retrieved 27 August 2018.
  25. ^ UK Albums Chart
  26. ^ "Imogen Heap Chart History (Billboard 200)". Billboard. Retrieved 27 August 2018.
  27. ^ "Imogen Heap Chart History (Top Dance/Electronic Albums)". Billboard. Retrieved 27 August 2018.
  28. ^ "Imogen Heap Chart History (Top Rock Albums)". Billboard. Retrieved 27 August 2018.
  29. ^ "Imogen Heap Chart History (Top Alternative Albums)". Billboard. Retrieved 27 August 2018.
  30. ^ "Ellipse | Music , Music Genres, Pop/Rock : JB HI-FI". Jbhifionline.com.au. 2010-02-19. Archived from the original on 22 October 2012. Retrieved 2012-02-15.