Sparks (Imogen Heap album)

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Imogen Heap - Sparks.jpg
Studio album by Imogen Heap
Released 18 August 2014
Recorded 2011–2013
Genre Electronica, worldbeat, dream pop, ambient, indie pop
Length 59:34
Label Megaphonic Records (UK), RCA (US)
Producer Imogen Heap
Imogen Heap chronology
Singles from Sparks
  1. "Lifeline"
    Released: 25 March 2011
  2. "Propeller Seeds"
    Released: 8 July 2011
  3. "Neglected Space"
    Released: 21 October 2011
  4. "Minds Without Fear"
    Released: 21 October 2011
  5. "Xizi She Knows"
    Released: 5 February 2012
  6. "You Know Where to Find Me"
    Released: 2 November 2012
  7. "Telemiscommunications"
    Released: 12 March 2013
  8. "Run-Time" / "Entanglement"
    Released: 24 August 2014
Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Review scores
Allmusic4/5 stars[2]
American Songwriter3/5 stars[3]
Consequence of SoundB-[4]
Drowned in Sound8/10[6]
Financial Times3/5 stars[7]
The Guardian2/5 stars[8]
Lincoln Journal StarB[9]
The Observer4/5 stars[10]

Sparks is the fourth studio album by English recording artist Imogen Heap. The album was released, via Megaphonic Records on 18 August 2014, in three editions: standard, deluxe 2 CD and super deluxe box set.


Sparks is a concept album. Each song that is related to a certain project has been released every three months. On 14 March 2011, Heap started work on a new record as fans sent in nearly 900 'sound seeds' (short mundane field recordings, e.g. a dishwasher door, a bicycle, a burning match). Heap stated that the procedure for the forthcoming album would be to produce tracks three-monthly, with each recorded over a fortnight and released with a video, successively, upon completion.

On 23 March 2011, Heap began referring to "Lifeline", which previously had the working title "#heapsong1".[12] Five days later, on the 28th, the track was mastered during the morning[13] and premiered worldwide that evening, with a live Tim Exile-remix, via Ustream.[14] Two days later, on the 30th, a "Lifeline" digital download was released, via Heap's website and on-line retailers. Alongside the download a twelve-page "3DiCD - Streemliner" package was released,[15] a 3D animated interactive CD incorporating images (predominantly crowdsourced), an instrumental version of "Lifeline", the "seeds and solos only" version and "heap speaks seeds and solos" (an 18-minute Heap commentary on how sounds and solos were used). The song is a tribute to victims of the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami.

"Propeller Seeds" was recorded using 3D audio effects (headphone listening recommended) and was released 8 July 2011, on Megaphonic Records.[16] "Neglected Space" incorporates concepts, characterisations and sounds, from a Clear Village outdoor laboratory, for the restoration of a walled garden in Bedfords Park, North East London, UK[17] "Minds Without Fear" is a collaboration with musical direction duo Vishal–Shekhar[citation needed] and was the first song featured on the eponymous début episode of 2011 television series The Dewarists (Star World India, Fox). "Xizi She Knows" was recorded during Heap's six-week Autumn 2011 trip to Hangzhou, Zhejiang, China, ending at West Lake.[18]

"Me, the Machine" was recorded using gestural-music wired gloves[19] and premiered as part of Earth Day 2012, together with a re-release of 'the first ever crowdsourced nature film', Love the Earth (November 2010 – Heap and Thomas Ermacora).[20] On 29 August 2012, "The Listening Chair" was performed at the Royal Albert Hall, South Kensington, London, conducted by USA composer Eric Whitacre. "Telemiscommunications" is a collaboration with Canada's electro/progressive house producer deadmau5 and it is included on his sixth album Album Title Goes Here (September 2012). Recording for "You Know Where to Find Me" began in the Artangel-curated A Room for London[21] (an elevated boat, atop the Southbank Centre, London), with the Thames Tideway as its main theme and premiered 18 October 2012, on Google+ Hangouts.[22]

"Run-Time" is a collaboration with Intel (UK) and Reality Jockey Ltd to create a jogging app that will be released the following year.[23] "Climb To Sakteng" and "Cycle Song" are two instrumental heapsongs used for the soundtrack of the documentary film The Happiest Place, A Journey Across Bhutan. The music video for "Cycle Song" and "Climb to Sakteng" premieres on 17 July 2014. According to Imogen, the movie, directed by Ben Henretig, will be premiered next year.[24][25]

On 30 June, Imogen put a Sparks vBlog on YouTube, confirming that the album will be released on 18 August 2014. However, in UK, it won't be released under RCA Records but under her own label, Megaphonic Records, while in US, the record will be still released by RCA Records, with pre-orders now available for physical editions at while pre-orders for iTunes release became available on 22 July 2014.[26][27][28] At the same date, 'Run-Time' was released via Imogen's SoundCloud account while 'The Listening Chair' music video premiered at TIME on 2 July 2014.[29] "Entanglement" premiered on 22 July 2014 at KCSN Radio.[30] "The Beast" premiered on 2 August 2014 on BBC 6 Music.

As for August 2014, with exception videos of "Lifeline", "Propeller Seeds", "Neglected Space", "Xizi She Knows" and "You Know Where to Find Me"; videos of "Me the Machine", "The Listening Chair", "Cycle Song", "Climb to Sakteng", "Run-Time", "Entanglement", and "The Beast" are yet to be available at Imogen's VEVO channel despite already published at her own YouTube channel. According to Imogen, all 14 videos are also available on the boxset, which will be delivered from 11 August.

Track listing[edit]

All tracks written by Imogen Heap.

Standard edition
1."You Know Where to Find Me"4:56
3."The Listening Chair"5:24
4."Cycle Song"2:25
5."Telemiscommunications" (with deadmau5)3:55
7."Neglected Space"5:13
8."Minds Without Fear" (with Vishal-Shekhar)3:41
9."Me the Machine"4:26
11."Climb to Sakteng"3:37
12."The Beast"3:26
13."Xizi She Knows"4:43
14."Propeller Seeds"3:51
Total length:59:34

Chart performance[edit]

Chart (2014) Peak
UK Albums Chart 40
US Billboard 200 21
US Billboard Top Electronic Albums 1
US Billboard Top Digital Albums 11
US Billboard Top Tastemaker Albums 17


  1. ^ "Sparks – Imogen Heap". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 25 January 2015. 
  2. ^ Thomas Erlewine, Stephen. "Sparks – Imogen Heap". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved 25 January 2015. 
  3. ^ Horowitz, Hal (22 August 2014). "Imogen Heap: Sparks". American Songwriter. ForASong Media, LLC. Retrieved 25 January 2015. 
  4. ^ Hardy, Tony (18 August 2014). "Imogen Heap – Sparks". Consequence of Sound. Retrieved 25 January 2015. 
  5. ^ Lockwood, Andrew (3 October 2014). "Imogen Heap – Sparks Album Review". Retrieved 25 January 2015. 
  6. ^ Spenceley, Haydon (19 August 2014). "Album Review: Imogen Heap – Sparks". Drowned in Sound. Silentway. Retrieved 25 January 2015. 
  7. ^ Hunter-Tilney, Ludovic (15 August 2014). "Imogen Heap: Sparks – review". Financial Times. Pearson PLC. Retrieved 25 January 2015. 
  8. ^ Nicholson, Rebecca (14 August 2014). "Imogen Heap: Sparks review – an ambitious musical mess". The Guardian. Guardian Media Group. Retrieved 25 January 2015. 
  9. ^ Wolgamott, L. Kent (18 August 2014). "Review: Imogen Heap, 'Sparks'". Lincoln Journal Star. Lee Enterprises. Retrieved 25 January 2015. 
  10. ^ Carnwath, Ally (16 August 2014). "Sparks review – Imogen Heap's fourth has thrills to reward the persistent". The Observer. Guardian Media Group. Retrieved 25 January 2015. 
  11. ^ SowingSeason (22 August 2014). "Review: Imogen Heap – Sparks". Sputnikmusic. Retrieved 25 January 2015. 
  12. ^ Imogen Heap. "Tweet by Imogen Heap mentioning Lifeline". Twitter. Retrieved 4 April 2014. 
  13. ^ Imogen Heap PR (28 March 2011). "Tweet by Imogen Heap / Heapwire stating #lifeline day is upon us!". Twitter. Retrieved 4 April 2014. 
  14. ^ Imogen Heap. "Heapsong1 Live Stream via UStream". UStream. Retrieved 4 April 2014. 
  15. ^ "3DiCD / Streemliner". Retrieved 22 September 2013. 
  16. ^ Imogen Heap. "Propeller Seeds by imogenheap via SoundCloud". SoundCloud. Retrieved 23 September 2013. 
  17. ^ "Essex - Bedfords Park Walled Garden". Archived from the original on 21 January 2013. Retrieved 22 September 2013. 
  18. ^ Imogen Heap (21 December 2011). "Tweet by Imogen saying goodbye to Hangzhou..." Twitter. Retrieved 22 September 2013. 
  19. ^ "Watch Imogen Heap's full Wired 2012 glove demo and performance (Wired UK)". Wired UK. 11 January 2013. Retrieved 22 September 2013. 
  20. ^ "2010 Royal Albert Hall Performance – Love The Earth". Retrieved 22 September 2013. 
  21. ^ Imogen Heap. "A Room for London". Imogen Heap. Retrieved 7 February 2012. 
  22. ^ Imogen Heap (18 October 2012). "Imogen Heap - You Know Where To Hangout - Google+". Google+ Hangouts. Retrieved 23 September 2013. 
  23. ^ RjDj (4 February 2013). "Imogen Heap & RjDj Jogging Music App Project". RjDj. Retrieved 4 February 2013. 
  24. ^
  25. ^
  26. ^
  27. ^
  28. ^
  29. ^ Feeney, Nolan (1 July 2014). "Imogen Heap Will Never Stop Writing "The Listening Chair": Video Premiere". Time. 
  30. ^ Imogen Heap [@imogenheap] (22 July 2014). "Hello! About to go chat live with @NicHarcourt on @885KCSN. Gonna premiere Entanglement in the US! xx Please tune in xx" (Tweet) – via Twitter.