“Lifeline” is the first song recorded and released for Imogen Heap’s fourth solo record and was recorded over a span of two weeks with her fans. Through her #heapsong1 mini-site she would ask fans to submit audio samples, videos, photographs, and miscellaneous inspiration, which Immi would have to sort through one by one via live Ustream chat sessions to choose to pieces that would make it inside the song.
There is a similarity between the new Imogen Heap track “Lifeline” and her third record Ellipse in that through all the sound manipulation, lush reverbs and spinning delays there is a very humanistic feel to it all. Nothing is compressed to the point at which you feel death by Mr. Brick Wall Square-Wave, everything has it’s limits without a hard limiter, and they’re songs you can turn up without worrying about blowing your ears or speakers to bits. They’re songs that recall a time where loudness wasn’t an issue and the point of engineering a song was simply a time where you’d edit it until it sounded pristine to you. The majority of tracks by Imogen are put together like this and it makes for an extremely admirable and respectful listen.
With that said, this similarity isn’t 100% perfect. There was once an article online which took “Tidal” from Ellipse and gave it a mastering facelift. Sadly, all traces of this article have been erased, but the result was a much more punchier and lively sounding final mix. The lack of compression and other outboard gear to give the song an extra spurt of groove and feeling causes “Lifeline” to almost sound like a mix before it was sent off to mastering for that extra push, which unfortunately causes the sound to sound a bit flat. It’s basically an engineering masterpiece without the magic final touch.
But it’s still one Godly sounding track.
The song was released on iTunes, but is also available in much better quality and packed with heaps of extras (ha!) from Imogen’s official website. 320kbps MP3, Apple & FLAC lossless formats are available and every option comes bundled with the instrumental, sound seeds sent in by fans version, video, MP3 of Imogen explaining the sounds and placements of fan sound seeds, and a revolutionary 3DiCD (which acts as a digital CD case and booklet) put together by Andy Carne.