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‘Shedding Skin’ is the title of a new LP released by Ghostpoet, the London-based vocalist and electro producer whose debut album ‘Peanut Butter Blues and Melancholy Jam’ was nominated for the 2011 Mercury Prize. His second studio attempt, 2013’s ‘Some Say I So I Say Light’, seemed to fall victim to the all-but-inevitable sophomore slump, but Ghostpoet has regained some lost momentum with this third album, perhaps as a result of shedding the heavy expectations set forth early in his career.
Throughout ‘Shedding Skin’, Ghostpoet (aka Obaro Ejimiwe) matches the smooth groove of the bass with his languid baritone, setting a mood that manages to be at once blissfully chill and delightfully sensual. The slightly warmer feel in comparison to the earlier albums is undoubtedly down to the instrumental arrangements in the recording, which for the first time in Ghostpoet’s studio repertoire include live musicians from his touring band (Joe Newman on guitar, John Calvert on bass and John Blease on drums). The self-produced album also features cameo vocal appearances from Nadine Shah, Etta Bond, Melanie De Biasio, Lucy Rose and Paul Smith of Maximo Park.
‘Shedding Skin’ is perhaps less brash than ‘Peanut Butter Blues and Melancholy Jam’ and less darkly morose than ‘Some Say I So I Say Light’, but it is more emotionally mature, both in its subject matter and its musical expression. One of the more extended tracks on the album ‘Be Right Back, Moving House’ contains several lyrical phrases that seem to get to the heart of what the album is all about, particularly the lines “my heart wants to be free / back flip and somersault / be careless of me / but life gets in the way / my past won’t let go of me / I’m frightened away”.
Opening track ‘Off Beat Dreams’ features Ghostpoet’s trippy beat poetry vocal delivery over stacked piano chords and a softly wailing guitar riff that develops into a fully-realised solo by the end of the track. Title track ‘Shedding Skin’ is more ominously bass-oriented, the foundational groove providing depth under the duet vocals in the chorus “you think you know me / you never know me / simmer down”.
In the grittier musical context of ‘That Ring Down the Drain Kind of Feeling’, the raspy female vocal intones the phrase “I’m back where I started / I’m back where I started again / left broken-hearted / but maybe my heart’s on the mend / then again…”, which leads into the quicker tempo and sharper-tongued lyrics of the next track ‘Sorry My Love, It’s You Not Me’. Ghostpoet ratchets up the raw sensuality near the end of the album in the alliterative ‘The Pleasure in Pleather’.
The soaring instrumental arrangement behind final track ‘Nothing in the Way’ leaves the listener with a serene sense of warmth and optimism, which perhaps best captures the underlying tone of ‘Shedding Skin’. Even in the album’s faster paced and more strident moments, the songs have an air of calm self-assurance that comes from experience, both personal and professional. Having shed the skin of early expectation, Ghostpoet has here evolved toward the full potential of his songwriting talent.
Ghostpoet‘s third LP ‘Shedding Skin’ is out now on PIAS. He will support the album release with an April tour of the UK and Ireland; find all those live dates here.
London-based vocalist and electro musician Ghostpoet has announced a list of April tour dates to follow the release of his new album ‘Shedding Skin’ on the 2nd of March. You can watch the video for the album’s first single ‘Off Peak Dreams’ in editor Mary’s Video of the Moment feature from yesterday. Tickets for the following shows go on sale today, Friday the 16th of January, at 9 AM.
Past TGTF coverage on the Mercury Prize-nominated artist is here.
Wednesday 1st April 2015 – Dublin Button Factory
Thursday 2nd April 2015 – Edinburgh Electric Circus
Friday 3rd April 2015 – Liverpool Kazimier
Saturday 4th April 2015 – Leeds Belgrave Music Hall
Sunday 5th April 2015 – Bristol Exchange
Monday 6th April 2015 – Brighton Komedia
Wednesday 8th April 2015 – Birmingham Hare and Hounds
Thursday 9th April 2015 – London Brixton Electric
By Mary Chang
on Thursday, 15th January 2015 at 6:00 pm
Mercury Prize-nominated artist Ghostpoet will be releasing his third album ‘Shedding Skin’ on the 2nd of March on PIAS. Ahead of that, he’s revealed the first single from the LP, ‘Off Peak Dreams’, which has a bit of an unconventional video: it was filmed using a budget of £2068, the average monthly salary in the UK. He explained the promo to Q:
I’ve always been observant. On the last record, I was looking much more inwardly, why I’d done things and trying to put that down on paper, the woes of life, of my life. With this one I thought, ‘You know what? I want to go back to what I was doing on the first record’ which was about observing life,” he explains. “I find it quite interesting [trying to get a sense of] current climate. There’s just a general feeling in the air at the moment: things are shit. So many people are unemployed, people’s standard of living isn’t as they would like it.
Watch the video below.
The first acts for Wychwood Festival 2015 have been announced by organisers. Legendary reggae band UB40, Scottish brothers The Proclaimers and British vocalist and musician Ghostpoet (pictured above) are among the artists performing at the family-friendly festival.
Held at Cheltenham Racecourse, Wychwood Festival 2015 will take place 29-31 May. Other acts appearing across the weekend include Dreadzone, Electric Swing Circus, Rusty Shackle and Fickle Friends.
Headlining the main stage on the Saturday are the newly-reunited founding members of UB40. Ali Campbell, Astro and Mickey Virtue are expected to perform hits such as ‘Red Red Wine’, ‘Kingston Town’ and ‘Falling in Love With You’. Also playing the main stage on the Saturday are The Proclaimers. The pair, who are best known for tracks including ‘500 Miles’ and ‘I’m on My Way’, most recently worked on a Christmas charity single, a cover of The Farm’s ‘All Together Now’. Meanwhile, 2011 Mercury Prize nominee Ghostpoet will headline the Big Top Stage on the same night.
Speaking about the announcement, festival director Graeme Merifield said, “We are hugely excited to welcome UB40 (with the exceptionally talented Ali Campbell, Astro and Mickey Virtue back together) for what I have no doubt will be an incredible Saturday headline performance on our Wychwood main stage.”
Wychwood Festival celebrated its tenth birthday in 2014, which saw performances from the likes of The Boomtown Rats, The Levellers, The Stranglers and Craig Charles. Merifield added, “The tenth birthday celebration this year was an absolute delight and, with this firmly in our mind, Wychwood 2015 is set for even bigger and better things.”
Early bird tickets, which range from £18 to £119, are available until Wednesday, the 31st of December. Further acts are expected to be announced in the new year. You can find out more about Wychwood Festival 2015 on the official Web site.
By Mary Chang
on Wednesday, 16th October 2013 at 3:00 pm
Former Mercury Prize-nominated artiste Ghostpoet will be appearing at London Hackney Empire on Thursday the 24th of October, and we’ve got a pair of guestlist spots to give to a lucky TGTF reader and a friend. Fancy your chances? Then enter our contest below.
To be in the running for the pair of tickets for the show at Hackney Empire, complete the form below with your full name (not kidding, folks, I need your real first and last name to prove you’re not a robot) and your email address (so we have a way to contact you). Then simply answer this question: what is the name of Ghostpoet’s 2011 Mercury Prize-nominated album? (Hint: part of the name includes a type of food.) Get your entries in by noon British time on Monday the 21st of October. We’ll choose a winner from all the correct entries received then. Good luck! Please note: this contest is open to UK residents only, and duplicate entries will be discarded.
If you’d rather not chance it and would like to buy tickets to the show instead, go here.
The contest is now closed and the winner will be contacted soon.
By Mary Chang
on Sunday, 28th July 2013 at 10:00 am
Mercury Prize-nominated artist Ghostpoet has a new single out on the 26th of August called ‘Cold Win’, and this is the promo video for it. Visually, it’s stunning, showing Icelandic landscapes when it’s not defying gravity. Watch it below.