Two years on from his debut LP ‘Peanut Butter Blues and Melancholy Jam’, Ghostpoet delivers his moody, murky follow-up ‘Some Say I So I Say Light’. The artist's core sing-speak style remains - think a midpoint between Roots Manuva, Mike Skinner and Patti Smith - and across the album this is wed to a collection of pensive instrumentals. Mind you, while ‘Some Say I So I Say Light’ may have a unified emotional aesthetic the music here is pretty wide-ranging - Afrobeat, glitching electronics, low-lit synthetic soul and two-step are just a few of the influences one can discern across the record.
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I see Tricky is no longer on Domino. I wonder what happened there? Will they continue their policy of signing the odd mavericks/nutcase? At least with Clinic you know what you are going to get I suppose. All of which, in a roundabout way brings me to Ghostpoet. If Ghostpoet had existed 20 years ago there would have been no need to invent Tricky. He has the same languid drawl on top of stoned electronica yet impressively married this to what I’d term post-rock dynamics, I’m not talking your Sigur Ros snooze fest but Tortoise’s tight polyrhythms especially on ‘Plastic Brain’ which employs squiggly guitar and skittery drums as a bed for his sleepy partially spoken vocals.
Whether any of this production is due to the frankly astonishing sight of Richard Formby (Spacemen 3, Wild Beasts, Hood) in the production chair is open for debate but it makes for a forward thinking, intelligent album which rides roughshod over any potential hip hop cliches. Occasionally a lady voice appears, one which has the exact timbre of that Topley-Bird bird Tricky used to knock about with, all vocals delivered with regulation sarf Laaahndon drawl. ‘Meltdown’ is possibly the commercial highlight, with sweeping rhodes piano, clattery production, and ‘Kid A’-like production touches.
Impressive and nicely varied throughout, the one thing Ghostpoet doesn’t have in common with Tricky is that he knows how to deliver a decent follow up album. His first effort ‘Peanut Butter Blues and Melancholy Jam’ was Mercury nominated. This, more studio based opus should take him to another level altogether. Now, all he needs for world domination is lessons in coming up with sensible album titles.
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- Some Say I So I Say Light by Ghostpoet
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