Ghostpoet set for date at 2013 Edinburgh Jazz Festival
Brit rapper whose remarkable sound takes in trip-hop, dubstep and hip-hop
This article is from 2013.
Stewart Smith profiles the grimy and eclectic Ghostpoet
‘A lad with a lisp with some stories to tell,’ is how Obaro ‘Ghostpoet’ Ejimiwe describes himself. With his sleepy, half-sung, half-spoken delivery, Ejimiwe has emerged as one of the most distinctive voices in British music this decade. Starting out as a grime MC, he has expanded his musical horizons to create an eclectic mix of post-dubstep beats and experimental indie. His 2011 debut album, Peanut Butter Blues & Melancholy Jam, released on Gilles Peterson’s Brownswood Recordings, was nominated for the Mercury Music Prize, while the tongue-twisting Some Say I So I Say Light followed earlier this year.
Working with co-producer Richard Formby – whose credits run from electronic duo Darkstar to cosmic drone rockers Spectrum – Ejimiwe has pushed his sound forward. The grimy echo and moody subterranean atmosphere remain, but the melodies are stronger, while the beats and electronics are sharper. Furthermore, elements of Afrobeat, jazz and art-rock have been added to the mix, with legendary Fela Kuti drummer Tony Allen and Charles Hayward of post-punk sound scientists This Heat among the contributors.
Ejimiwe’s lyrical reflections and observations help unify a varied selection of tunes, which range from the nocturnal two-step of ‘Cold Win’, through the ectoplasmic rave visions of ‘Burial’, on to the clanking industrial beats of ‘MSI musmiD’, via the rolling grooves and nagging Nigerian guitar licks of ‘Plastic Bag Brain’. The Ghostpoet concert experience sees Ejimiwe backed by a full band, mixing live instruments with electronics. If he seems an unusual booking for the Edinburgh Jazz & Blues Festival, then consider the echoes of Gil Scott-Heron and In a Silent Way-era Miles Davis in Ghostpoet’s music, not to mention his love of John Coltrane, Art Blakey and Eric Dolphy. It all adds up to a 21st-century kind of blue.
Ghostpoet, Liquid Room, Victoria Street, 0131 473 2000, 27 Jul, 7pm, £12.