Ghostpoet’s newest LP Some Say I So Say Light, to be released in the US on September 24th via Play It Again Sam/[PIAS] America. Industrial beats, sonorous piano lines and hyper-detailed ornamentation provide a backdrop for Obaro Ejimiwe, AKA Ghostpoet, an artist who sounds ever more like a man old before his time, whether intoning words so laconically it’s virtually spoken word or croaking out sung melodies.
Praising everything from psychedelic rock band Gentle Giant to Beth Gibbons’ bleak folk album with Rustin Man via John Coltrane to Serge Gainsbourg, it’s clear Ghostpoet gravitates towards one-of-a-kind auteurs as he pushes it all, mixing the abstract and the concrete with uncanny skill.
Some Say I So Say Light is the second full length release of Ghostpoet’s, following 2010’s Mercury Prize-nominated Peanut Butter Blues & Melancholy Jam. But throughout, even when it plays second fiddle to the invention of the sounds, Ghostpoet’s lyrical voice is the compelling thread running through all of his albums.
At times, Ghostpoet’s vocals seem to deliberately recede into the flickering shadows of the music, though this doesn’t lessen their gravitas in the slightest. The lyrics that come through are as rooted in everyday life as ever, though: from unopened mail to takeaway meals, Ghostpoet is never less than completely identifiable. It’s an album that positions him in the tradition of modern British auteurs as interested in pushing the boundaries sonically as expressing cathartic feelings, from Tricky to The Streets.
Some Say I So I Say Light is a studio-based work co-produced with the talented Richard Formby (Wild Beasts, Darkstar, Egyptian Hip-Hop). “He really opened my eyes to a different world,” says Ghostpoet. “Most of the album was made using analogue equipment, which was alien to me before. I knew I needed something more than sticking my music into a computer and using presets to take it to the next level. Analogue equipment enabled me to physically touch stuff and change it as I saw fit – I was able to get the ideas out of my head and into audio pieces much easier.”
Throughout, even when it plays second fiddle to the invention of the sounds, Ghostpoet’s lyrical voice is the compelling thread running through the album. “My lyrics are never about one specific thing, not even a particular subject matter,” he explains. “It’s all stream of consciousness that picks up different things at the same time. I want the listener to make up their own mind as to what the song’s about…I don’t feel the need to be specific because that’s not how my mind works all the time. But from the beginning I wanted to continue writing about the ups and downs of life: not just about me, but all sorts of people, known and unknown.”