Aaron Matthews left in the morning. He took a suitcase without warning.
As social networks and gadgets streamline and isolate our lives more than ever, Ghostpoet brilliantly conveys those small realizations that hit us when we chose to engage with the world around us. The Coventry emcee, born Obaro Ejimiwe has a knack for finding small revelations in daily operations.
The four songs on The Sound of Strangers EP serve as an ideal introduction to the U.K. MC. Starting with “Gone,” Poet describes a disappeared girlfriend as “a mad one” over blurting synths, a creeping bass line and drums that knock like a vodka hangover. “Morning” kicks in with a spiral guitar pattern that falls into a hammer tick beat. Producer Micahu’s odd lullaby chorus offsets Ghostpoet’s mumbled ramblings, narrating the blur a life becomes from the alarm clock beep.
“Longing For The Night” is the highlight — both an ode to the unpredictability of life and an anthem for the reluctant 9 to 5er. Stuttering claps and airy synths mimic the sound of your commute, as Poet finds the transcendence in moving through the city like a ghost, and disappearing in the crowd. Despite the title, “Longing For The Night” is about the renewed possibility of each new day, the chance of “news through the letterbox, of long-lost friends or an auntie with a lotta dosh”.
The beats and their drum patterns betray a clear garage/2-step influence, but otherwise ooze with 3 a.m. wooziness: blurred synths, squeaks and whirrs. Which makes “Love Confusion” an odd but charming outlier, an endearingly awkward take on Tribe’s “Electric Relaxation”. If Obaro isn’t as smooth as Q-Tip, his faltering flow morefits the uncertainty of modern romance. Perhaps he’s just more of a realist than the Abstract Poet: “body’s important but looks diminish/give it 20 years and that face is finished”.
Ghostpoet’s single “Cash & Carry Me Home” furthers the EP’s boozed in the wee hours feel, as he stumbles over clattering drums and a striking two note synth line. It’s a plea from the slumped boozer at the end of the bar, still calling for rum and cokes at last call. Poet’s slurred crooning is oddly affecting when paired with the terse minimalism of his electronic backing; you almost want to buy the man and kebab and call a cabbie. There’s a lot of promise here.