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Last seen five years ago with Ellipse, a success in the US but not her native UK, Imogen Heap returns with an album bearing a bewildering amount of back story – songs inspired by found sounds sent in by fans, other songs written in the Himalayas and the Chinese city Hangzhou, the invention of a high-tech pair of musical gloves of mysterious utility, the use of a jogging app to create jaunty dance-pop.
It’s reminiscent of Björk’s Biophilia, but while that project was inspired by the theme of nature, it’s hard to discern any overarching idea in Sparks. “Where does this story go?” Heap sings, but she doesn’t sound too troubled about finding an answer as she conducts us through her scattershot collection of songs, from the ho-hum piano pop of “You Know Where to Find Me” to the beguiling Sino-flavoured “Xizi She Knows”, which is every bit as “dynamic and playful” as the individual whom Heap serenades in it.
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