With an overwhelming sense of sinister, uncomfortable peaking sonics and unstoppable driving eerie tones, Ghostpoet (Obaro Ejimiwe) is back with his latest record, Dark Days + Canapés, to create an apocalyptic universe which leaves a solemn hollowed feeling straight to the soul.
This record is divine chilled poetics, coated in an incredibly dark vibe which cannot be truly explained in mere words. Obaro’s ability to create such a chaotic scene through his simplistic husked vocals and hollowed instrumentals are simply genius in every sense of the word and leave an incredibly lasting impact on the listener. ‘Trouble + Me’ captures the essence of the album brilliantly, an airy ethereal feeling atop of a pulsing woody bassline makes for a listen which leaves you clung to every word the artist has to say. The track only continues to layer up through subtle development, leaving an incredible haunting aura, proving that Obaro is more than living up to his ghostly name.
A strong sense of narrative drives the album and it seems to be the kind of record which can be interpreted through an immensely diverse range of perspectives. The first listen through made me imagine a narrative scene of pure chaos, however the second felt more of a dig at the disillusionment of modern life. Either way, the audience is left with an indefinite unease and I feel that is exactly what Obaro was aiming for. Undoubtedly the strongest and most powerful imagery on the record comes from the lead single ‘Immigrant Boogie’, which is not afraid to shy away from confronting the refugee crisis in a brilliant manner; the repetition of “Oh, let us in!” and distressing scenes of boats crossing the seas act as an incredible protest message.
For myself, ‘Freakshow’ is the pinnacle of this listen, it is the first time we see a more upbeat pacing to the record which keeps the listen fresh and engaging. The growth into a lone streaming guitar and building drum beats all combine into arguably the best part of the record, a manic laughter from an entire gospel choir which is both bone chilling and amazing! Conversely, ‘(We’re) Dominoes’ adds a far more ethereal feel to the listen whilst applying some almost drum and bass backing throughout. Obaro’s vocals definitely act as the glue in this track, the conversational feel brings each aspect into a fully blended piece without outshining the rest of the record, acting as more of a pulsing line which drives everything along.
The record’s similar style of chilled beats and creeping instrumentals through guitar or strings make it one that can be enjoyed just as a single listen or as a holistic collective from cover-to-cover. Ghostpoet’s tendencies to dwell on this sombre minimalistic sound is beautiful and has a somewhat abstract resemblance of what the new Gorillaz record was trying to achieve, but fell far too short of.
Dark Days + Canapés is yet another living piece that demonstrates the fine line of less is more without feeling empty. Serendipity and experimentalism are both such difficult aspects of music to master, but it feels as though Ghostpoet has been able to achieve both to such an incredibly high standard compared to even the most prestigious of artists. This is a sheerly brilliant album that you can delve into layer by layer, uncovering something new each time and coming out just as satisfied as the last. Listen to this album, you won’t regret visiting the brilliant darkness of Obaro Ejimiwe’s mind and will surely reveal something new about yourself you never knew was there.