Imogen Heap at the Royal Albert Hall online
As part of the Royal Albert Home series, a fundraising initiative to keep the legendary venue going, inventive songstress and producer Imogen Heap performed a six-song set from her home and its surroundings last night.
The setlist was voted for by the public and the number one choice was, of course, 2005’s Hide and Seek, part of which became a worldwide earworm courtesy of Jason Derulo, its emotional strains gracing TV shows from The OC to Normal People. The snippet sampled by Derulo doesn’t do justice to the complexity of the song as a whole; hearing a stripped back piano version was a treat. Heap’s voice is a unique instrument, able to reach the upper echelons of notes with a beguiling crack and lilt – infused with a quintessentially cut-glass English quality. The artist herself is a joy to watch, self-effacing and sweet, chatty in a way that makes it feel as though you are the only one watching.
The second track was a version of Headlock recorded a cappella during a forest walk, after which the video was layered and layered with the different vocal parts (and some percussion with twigs on tree stumps) to create a mesmerising tapestry of sound. The musician likes to “noodle” at home and this experimental creativity was further shown during a resourceful rendition of First Train Home performed on kitchen objects: a water filter, wine glasses and bottles all featured and Heap had a trivet (the thing you rest hot pans on – you learn something new every day) around her neck under the phone recording her voice in order to stop interference from movement.
A particular highlight was her performing Let Go on a hang drum in Hackney Fields with daughter Scout by her side. A hang drum is a sort of metal spaceship-shaped instrument with dents around its top, created in 2000 in Switzerland, if you’re interested. It creates a beautiful, multi-faceted sound. The whole scene was so wholesome: a sunny evening, her daughter applauding, Heap loose-haired and lost in the moment – lovely.
The final track was Say Goodnight and Go, an experimental arrangement created using a Twitter app called Endlesss which Heap seemed very fond of. It sounded like a love song performed by a sentient Casio calculator: cute and different.
With a farewell of “Heap out”, she was off. Utterly charming.
For further information and future events visit Imogen Heap’s website here.
Watch the video for Hide and Seek here: