I Grow Tired But Dare Not Fall Asleep

· by Alain Brunet

Since 2011, Ghostpoet, a 37-year-old Londoner, has been accumulating attention, with five albums in the bag now. Dark Days + Canapes, his last before this, was nominated for a Mercury Prize. Here comes I Grow Tired But Dare Not Fall Asleep, undoubtedly the best of his discography, and even a turning point in his international reputation. Obaro Ejimiwe (his real name) popped up on the radar because of his visionary, to use the euphemism, musical and poetic ideas, and also because his set of references went far beyond the “natural” allegiances of a Western artist of African, Afro-British or Afro-American origin. This time, the mix is more or less the same, but the mastery is greater, the language more coherent, the ingredients better calibrated than ever. What’s more, Ghostpoet is attracting a lot of interest on the “basic research” side because he’s more experimental than Blood Orange or the Young Fathers, and stranger than Yves Tumor, which doesn’t take anything away from the latter. The house is thus haunted by echoes of post-punk, pre-rock, American minimalism, chamber music in the classical tradition, hip hop, grime, jazz, and electro. Invitations are numerous – Art School Girlfriend, Skinny Girl Diet’s Delilah Holiday, Katie Dove Dixon, and the French-speaking SaraSara, who opens up in her mother tongue. Words are expressed in the manner of a poetic track, with no rap or singing on the program. The atypical nature of the text and the dystopian tone of its narrator are certainly a reflection of the current situation, and the role-plays express a profound perplexity in the face of human society. It evokes the contradictory desires to live or die, to withdraw from traffic or to dive into it, the ineffectiveness of mood medicine, the benefits and harms of noise, the pronounced uncertainty of one’s own inner state… Nothing to reassure us about anything, the whole is nevertheless nourishing and fortifying. Ghostpoet thus proposes an exceptional work, one that fits perfectly into the current context.

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