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Imogen Heap - Just for Now
July 27, 2007 2:33 PM   Subscribe

Imogen Heap at her best, recording Just for Now on the spot using a sampler. Not exactly a recent video, but I couldn't help listening to it over, and over, and over again. single-link youtube post, but it's so worth it.
posted by limon (63 comments total) 39 users marked this as a favorite

 
Uriah Heep at their best.

Now you have another link!
posted by klangklangston at 2:37 PM on July 27, 2007 [1 favorite]


actually this wasn't posted by me, but another account holder who shares this computer.
posted by limon at 2:37 PM on July 27, 2007 [4 favorites]


Annoying as shit is the new hip.
posted by phaedon at 2:37 PM on July 27, 2007


Your favorite band sucks.
posted by astruc at 2:38 PM on July 27, 2007


That was cool. Thanks.
posted by rtha at 2:40 PM on July 27, 2007


actually this wasn't posted by me, but another account holder who shares this computer.

I love that comment. I mean, what does it even mean?? Who is "me", other than the handle limon, in which case what does the "this wasn't posted" refer to? The FPP? The comment itself? What is the nature of identity in a world of random handles with no name or contact info? What does "limon" mean in that space, other than just a string of letters in a consistent pattern. Does one "limon" post differ from others?
posted by jonson at 2:43 PM on July 27, 2007 [3 favorites]


Lost my marbles
posted by hortense at 2:46 PM on July 27, 2007 [1 favorite]


That's her MO: she actually produces a track in real time in front of an audience. Difficult, because your timing has got to be PERFECT. I do love her stuff.

It does however, lack the spontanity and danger of, oh, playing with another human.

Like this, for instance. ['Black Star' covered by Welch/Rawlings]
posted by chuckdarwin at 2:51 PM on July 27, 2007


Jonson's ontological crises aside, that was beautiful, thank you. I love her work.

I've bought most of her music through iTunes. Seeing her perform like that does strike me as kinda ... self-indulgent looking, but, shit, it really is beautiful music to me, so that is okay.
posted by blacklite at 2:53 PM on July 27, 2007


...

you win, fleetmouse.
posted by blacklite at 2:54 PM on July 27, 2007


heehee, chocrolled!
posted by fleetmouse at 2:58 PM on July 27, 2007


jonson, i'm so relieved you feel this way. could you possibly email me your username and password, so in the future i can post under your name? i'm sure you wouldn't mind, and i'm terribly bored of the limon moniker anyways.
posted by limon at 2:59 PM on July 27, 2007


(re-rail)

I like Imogen Heap. Alot. This made me like her more.

And as self-indulgent as it may look, that performance still requires Laurie Anderson-esque performance-artiness which Imogen Heap pulls off nicely.

The video is the wrong aspect ratio though. I'm a nerd, that hurts the experience for me.
posted by abulafa at 3:15 PM on July 27, 2007


my user name is "jonson" - as for the password, you'll have to guess. The name, to go along with the identity, is "Jonathan Rouse", the blog & flickr accounts (both linked on my profile) that provide context & the over 500 posts & five year posting history help round out the online ID.

As for "limon", you've made two posts on the blue, one by you, one by "not you". At this point, which "limon" has more claim to the identity? Frankly, this is the post I like better, between the two. Can I get more of this limon, and you can post under that other person's handle?
posted by jonson at 3:18 PM on July 27, 2007 [4 favorites]


jonson, I can't believe you can't see the difference. The real limon is Spanish and this ersatz one is British. Duh.
posted by madamjujujive at 3:23 PM on July 27, 2007


That performance is excellent. I really like her cover of Cohen's Hallelujah as well. Having heard it, I put on one of her albums and good christ it was dreadful. Overproduced pap. Why can't she just do this on her albums?
posted by dobbs at 3:24 PM on July 27, 2007


That was awesome. I'm not familar with Imogen Heap, but that was a fantastic performance!
posted by Nedroid at 3:41 PM on July 27, 2007


Wonderful. Thanks.
posted by Turtles all the way down at 3:46 PM on July 27, 2007


Makes me wish I had a talent for something. I can't even post or comment at metafilter well.
posted by Eekacat at 3:49 PM on July 27, 2007


(And I, like you, am now fated to listen this again and again and again...)
posted by Turtles all the way down at 3:51 PM on July 27, 2007


Thanks! I love watching her building a song.

c.f. the KT Tunstall "I want you back" cover
posted by bonehead at 3:56 PM on July 27, 2007 [1 favorite]


jonson: I love that comment. I mean, what does it even mean?? Who is "me", other than the handle limon, in which case what does the "this wasn't posted" refer to? The FPP? The comment itself? What is the nature of identity in a world of random handles with no name or contact info? What does "limon" mean in that space, other than just a string of letters in a consistent pattern. Does one "limon" post differ from others?
Huh. See, I just assumed he was making a wry joke about "sampling" somehow, in relation to the FPP, that this limon was not the real limon (but a sampled copy). Somehow it didn't even occur to me


Regarding the video, I think it should be noted that we can't say this was improv per se, but rather a live performance using an unconventional modern instrument. I don't think she made up those harmonies on the spot, so she had a chance to plan out the song, the structure, and potentialy even practice the transitions. Not that it's not impressive, but there's a difference between live performance with an instrument that allows you to harmonize with yourself, and doing that as a complete improvisation.

Shame that a Mozart, who could think of music faster than he could ever write it, didn't have access to the technology of today, where he could write music as fast as he could play it, and have computers/samples to quickly whip out the song, have it auto-transcribed, etc.
posted by hincandenza at 4:06 PM on July 27, 2007


I liked it, thanks for the link!
posted by chlorus at 4:35 PM on July 27, 2007


I should hate, hate, Hate, Imogen Heap -- but I can't. I've seen hardcore router jockeys that couldn't hold half the state that she does in that clip.
posted by eriko at 4:48 PM on July 27, 2007


BTW, if my count is right, she build up six loops in the course of the song, and toward the end, they all come in -- dead on time.

Amazing sense of tempo and meter.
posted by eriko at 4:56 PM on July 27, 2007


The sampler is the incredible and out of production Electrix Repeater. I have one and it is made of Awesome.

I saw the letterman clip before. Not my cup of tea, but she has mad tech skill. Dolby does the same thing during live with "hyperactive" but he uses a computer running high end software.
posted by djrock3k at 5:00 PM on July 27, 2007


Never heard Imogen Heap before. What a treat! Really like her complex music. Layers of texture, rhythm...a brocade of sound. Wonderful post! Neat seeing a sampler being used in action, building up the layers.

Reminded me a little of the Roches brilliant, playful acappella.
posted by nickyskye at 5:00 PM on July 27, 2007


"BTW, if my count is right, she build up six loops in the course of the song, and toward the end, they all come in -- dead on time."

Yep. Note that she doubles (in unison) every vocal line, so it's more than six tracks.

She's probably using Ableton Live. You can do some really amazing stuff with Ableton Live. Or she just may have a good automation setup running ProTools.

She's awesome, her music is wonderful.
posted by zoogleplex at 5:27 PM on July 27, 2007


That is pretty freaking wonderful, thanks!
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 5:31 PM on July 27, 2007


People concerned with what's hip are the new annoying as shit .
posted by signal at 5:32 PM on July 27, 2007


Never seen/heard her before. Thanks!
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 5:32 PM on July 27, 2007


That was very cool. I saw her in person years ago when she was doing more Lilith Fair type singer songwriter stuff. I didn't know that she'd gotten to be a tech wiz.
posted by octothorpe at 5:33 PM on July 27, 2007


Layers of texture, rhythm...a brocade of sound.

See, this is what depresses me. It encapsulates what I feel but I'm too dumb to come up with the words. Anyway, as predicted, I've listened to this about ten times now and am still exhilarated and amazed. When everything else about the world depresses you--when everyone in politics seems to be taking the easy way out and when the plastic packaging of pop culture deadens your soul, this is precisely the antidote. It made my day, and thanks again.
posted by Turtles all the way down at 5:48 PM on July 27, 2007


i liked it. thanks for posting. the rick astley karaoke linked above? not as aesthetically pleasing, but, man over 500,000 views. to put it into perspective, i have probably played about 300 live shows averaging 25 songs per show (a mix of 45 minute sets and all night bar band gigs). if we averaged 50 people per show (which is undoubtedly high), that makes 375,000 song impressions. this took us years. add in the number of times people listened to our songs on cd, i'm sure we're over 500,000, but man, oh man. it's like a bunch of people spending years to achieve the exposure one guy got from posting a karaoke video a week ago. wtf, world?

for the record, i'm not bitter, i'm just kind of amazed. 300 shows worth of drink tickets was TOTALLY worth it.
posted by snofoam at 5:57 PM on July 27, 2007


I'm interested somewhat in the tech she uses to do that, but I'm much more interested by the quality of the song. I've had the .mp3 of that for a few months now, and find it to be quite the earworm. I've heard her name for years, but this was the first of her music I'd come across. I think I need to hear more.
posted by Devils Rancher at 6:00 PM on July 27, 2007


snofoam, music is about the process of making it... and about respecting yourself and your audience. Not counting hits or dollars.
posted by chuckdarwin at 6:13 PM on July 27, 2007


Yep. Note that she doubles (in unison) every vocal line, so it's more than six tracks.

My only close to gripe is the vocal tracking -- but she has a voice that work well, and she's singing *into* the tracking -- it sounds like she's deliberately slurring notes to allow the tracker to glissando between them.

It seems that she has an incredibly deep understanding of just how the technology works.
posted by eriko at 6:17 PM on July 27, 2007


Hide and Seek is one of my favourite songs from the past year. I don't know if it's recent but I just noticed Imogen Heap last fall, along with Regina Spektor.
posted by autodidact at 6:29 PM on July 27, 2007


Another Imogen Heap fan here!

Here's 'Psychobabble' from her Frou Frou days... one of my faves.
posted by matty at 6:30 PM on July 27, 2007


I've heard of Imogen Heap (excellent name) but never heard her. Thank you. That is a lovely composition by a lovely gal.
posted by St Urbain's Horseman at 7:20 PM on July 27, 2007


And oddly, St. Urbain, it's apparently her real name. Go figure.
posted by abulafa at 7:31 PM on July 27, 2007


I agree with the guess that it's Ableton running. Also, I don't think I could ever tire of "Hide & Seek" or The White Hat's amazing guitar arrangement of it.
posted by inoculatedcities at 8:32 PM on July 27, 2007 [2 favorites]


Looping back into yourself like this is kind of a neat trick, but it's just that, a trick. I saw Joseph Arthur live, and most of his set was this--the guitar lead, then the rhythm guitar, then some background vocals, then he'd sing over top. After half a dozen of these, you want to hear somebody just play a damn song.

I suspect the efficacy of this particular style relies on the audience being more impressed than entertained. It's the one man band brought forward in time.
posted by Nahum Tate at 8:46 PM on July 27, 2007 [1 favorite]


Imogen Heap caught my ear more strongly than anyone in the last couple of years. I can see where people would think it was overproduced -- it kind of has to be, from the way she builds her songs -- but it's most emphatically not pap.

My favorite track so far is probably The Walk, although that doesn't appear to be universally shared.

This link is freaking amazing. I knew she was good, but I had no idea just how good.
posted by Malor at 8:52 PM on July 27, 2007


Not really a sampler, but a looper, in this case, a electricx repeater

Similar tech, but useage is different. With loopers generally more oriented to "live" work. Basically you just record a snippet of audio, and immediately start playing it back. Higher end models (like the Repeater) allow multiple loops, looks of different lengths, etc.

See Loopers Delight for more info.

She could be using Ableton Live in addition to the Repeater, but it doesn't look like it in this clip.
posted by alikins at 9:05 PM on July 27, 2007


That was cool. But this was cooler.
posted by chunking express at 10:21 PM on July 27, 2007


Juana Molina performs like this also. I don't think her set ups are quite as intense, but still quite impressive to watch.
posted by chunking express at 10:24 PM on July 27, 2007


Hah, I'm pretty a heavy Repeater user. Lots o' people do this sort of thing... if you're in New York, you can see me do it on Monday night! :-D

Not that I didn't like this video but it does suffer from the "turn on the loop" issue.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 11:48 PM on July 27, 2007


I love Imogen heap. thanx.
posted by puke & cry at 3:31 AM on July 28, 2007


snofoam

Tay Zonday's cover of Rick Astley got that big of a view count because Tay has been an Internet Super Meme in the past 2 weeks. 4chan /b/ has gone berzerk over his Chocolate Rain song and when Tay accepted to do Never Gonna Give You Up (which had been used to "RickRoll" people (make bogus links to bogus shit)) all hell broke loose.

But - he said he won't do the Prince Of Bel-Air.
posted by zenzizi at 4:28 AM on July 28, 2007


** I move away from the mic to do some superfluous explaining
posted by zenzizi at 4:39 AM on July 28, 2007


Impressive, I wasn't aware that she played loops live. Although compared to The Master and others, her use of an autotuner and vocoder (and sometimes her messing up with all that help) turns me off from being an all-out fan.
posted by tmcw at 6:37 AM on July 28, 2007


This was a perfect display of her talent... how anyone can deny that is absolutely beyond me. This rendition reminds me a little of Paul Simon actually, in the Diamonds on the Souls of her shoes era.

'Hide and Seek', though totally reliant on the vocoder for much of it's immersion and depth, pumps more soul than 80% of music you can own that was produced in the last 10 years.

Highly recommended for anyone totally jaded by the use of technology as a crutch in music these days -- she's doing it right.
posted by phylum sinter at 8:19 AM on July 28, 2007


That performance of hide and seek where she makes a mistake is awesome. Man, people love to gripe.
posted by chunking express at 8:47 AM on July 28, 2007


First heard of Heap back in the late 90's when she featured on a urban species track called Blanket. Very talented!
posted by privatepress26 at 9:37 AM on July 28, 2007


Saw her in concert-- she had some other guy travelling with her who also performed similar stuff using samplers and guitars and so on. It's awesome to see them work.
posted by taursir at 9:59 AM on July 28, 2007


Andrew Bird - Why? with sampler.
posted by Drexen at 10:55 AM on July 28, 2007 [1 favorite]


I really enjoyed that Imogen Heap video. If you're more into the improvised stuff, check out Jamie Lidell live with a sampler.
posted by swordfishtrombones at 12:23 PM on July 28, 2007 [1 favorite]


I'm not a big Imogen Heap fan but this was pretty amazing. Thanks not-limon.
posted by liquorice at 4:28 PM on July 28, 2007


I saw Imogen Heap live a few months back and was really disappointed - the venue felt far too big for her performance - she didn't really have a stage presence and I felt I'd rather have seen her in a smaller more intimate venue.

Hortense - thanks for the link to Sia, I really enjoyed that!
posted by kumonoi at 6:32 AM on July 29, 2007


I love Immy, but I had no idea this was how she performed live. I hope she comes out with another album soon.
posted by limnrix at 11:31 AM on July 29, 2007


I've got nothing against electronics and effects, and it seems that she has a nice voice, but I am no fan of process when it obscures product or when technique becomes about technique.

First song I watched/listened to, fine. By the third, I'm headed for the exits. I'd rather have her sing acapella or with a guitar. Layering herself on herself again and again strikes me as so Enya.
posted by beelzbubba at 3:27 PM on July 29, 2007


When I saw Imogen last year (I've been a fan since the "I Megaphone" days), she was travelling with Zoe Keating, a cellist formerly with Rasputina, who also does some amazing layering work. She recreated her One Cello x 16 album live. Unfortunately, she is the kind of artist you want to listen to when there are not a lot of loud drunks about. I nearly killed every flipping member of that audience.
posted by frykitty at 11:55 AM on August 1, 2007


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