Ghost / Geesus Host
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Ghost / Geesus Host

Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand | INDIE

Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand | INDIE
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Here is a page where you can view some of my 100+ reviews from various magazines over the past couple of years - All sorts


With 18 tracks Ghost has created an epic which could serve well as a retrospective of instrumental hip hop over the past ten years. With echoes of DJ Shadow, Massive Attack and even Lemon Jelly, cinematic and spacious Ghost looks over his shoulder back at trip hop and break beat, aided by UK rappers Jehst, Dubbeldge and Verb T.

Expansive and dark, Freedom of Thought tells a tale of cities, opening with an RP vocal sample discussing the prevalence of thought criminals. The ominous mood continues with Return Journey: Halloween style piano, synth strings and choir, plus heavy beats with plenty of ride, opening out into expressive distorted guitar solo.

Then we're teleported to Wigan Casino for It's All Love, a heavy, off-beat Northern Soul-esque track with Rhodes organ and sped-up vocal, unusual in its humour and levity. Elevate is a relentless, slightly brutal view of London from Jehst with a push-pull rhythm flowing through its underlying piano riff. There's ironic joy in tracks like Feel Pain and Daze breaks up the break beat that pervades the album with a clunky off-beat rhythm and vocoder.

In standout track Frozen in Time Verb T paints a bleak and disturbing picture of epilepsy, psychotherapy and betrayal, its vividness offset by a calm backdrop with jazz guitar.

Some tracks are arguably painting by numbers, such as From The Beginning, a gradual building and falling away, perfectly pleasant but with little depth or memorability. See You Crying is another slightly weaker track, the vocals barely audible, and extremely reminiscent of Zero 7's This World.

There is nothing particularly ground breaking for the genre, but here Ghost has managed to create a soundscape which is comforting, well-crafted and with sufficient depth and contrast to keep the listener absorbed for some time. - BBC



It's 2009 and music is facing a crisis. A group of scientists have been despatched to the Arctic in a bid to find the one creature on earth who doesn't find Dizzee Rascal's Bonkers really annoying. It can be argued that despite some talented artists, the initial promise of UK Hip Hop has failed to make an impact beyond kids on buses playing tinny choons through their mobiles. Focus groups have been convened to ask the question: Where's all the good stuff?

For those hankering for something worth getting teeth into, Ghost's latest might well be the answer. The multi-skilled DJ and producer has spent three years expanding his tastes and chipping away at various music projects, culminating in this ambitious, multi-layered hour of tripped out beats and samples.

This is a cinematic blend of breakbeats that steps away from the usual UK Hip Hop territory in favour of an ambitious and international sound. On first listen, influences such as J Dilla and Mr Scruff suggest themselves. But it's DJ Shadow who looms large as the many moody instrumentals on the album certainly make this feel like a British Endtroducing. It's easy to picture Ghost digging through the record crates from that famous album cover. The samples have hints of David Axlerod compositions with Lalo Schiffrinesque beats and the penultimate track (Road To Somewhere) sounds like a cool and affectionate tribute to Blue Note records.

Ghost knows his way around a studio and Freedom Of Thought shows this knowledge in all its knob twiddling glory. It's recorded, mixed and produced by the man himself with a little help from some guests on vocals and together they've set out an ambitious attempt to move beyond rap, even if we have Jehst, Finale and Verb T guesting on nods toward purer Hip Hop. The rap tracks still have an individual sound to them that makes them worthy of inclusion.

A lot of time and energy have gone into the making of this album and Ghost's shifts in personal circumstances is reflected in the album's many different moods. As well as the downbeat DJ Shadow stuff there's also hints of Lemon Jelly with the chilled out interlude of Daze, and It's All Love is reminiscent of Gnarls Barkley. The latter track is wonderful in its simplicity, taking its base as a sped-up '60s garage track with some subtle extra layering.

So, 18 tracks of substantial, well crafted material. There may be a feeling that this kind of thing has been heard before, but in comparison to his contemporaries Ghost is well worth checking out. Freedom Of Thought looks set to be one of the best UK Hip Hop albums of 2009. - Music OMH


Regular readers will know that we're big fans of UK producer Ghost here at Flashlight. It's refreshing to see a UK producer able to take on the cream of the US indie hip hop scene, without ever lurching into parody. He undoubtedly takes his cue from the Endtroducing and Deadringer school of atmospheric, largely instrumental music which never betrays its b boy roots, but turns it into something altogether more cinematic.

With Freedom of Thought, Ghost takes all the promise he's shown over the last five years, and produces the epic he's always been capable of. Though the spectre of Shadow and RJD2 inevitably loom large, Ghost has managed to forge a sound that's (almost) all his own. As a statement of intent, opening track proper 'Return Journey' is as strong as you can get?a snare heavy beat supplemented with live synths, Axelrod-esque strings and even some guitar noodling; it is truly mesmerising. It's also, along with the simple beat and organ of 'The Day After', probably the most Shadow sounding moment of the album. Sure, the composition of a track like 'Way You Feel', with its acoustic guitar loop, undoubtedly references albums like Endtroducing, the beats deliberately lack the visceral edge, opting for a more understated, melancholic edge. The nearest Ghost gets to a straight down the line banger is with the incessant two note piano riff in 'From the Beginning'. Even then, its undercurrent is one tinged with sadness. Even when he's damn funky, Ghost can't help but throw a curveball in.

Elsewhere, there are some fairly mental, expectation-confounding curveballs to be found. 'It's All Love' is brilliant; a heavily filtered, twisted and tempo change-tastic take on Northern Soul. 'Road to Nowhere' is a slinky, low key nod to Blue Note, and 'Remember' is nothing short of psychedelic prog meets hip hop. Well, if it was good enough for Edan...

Ironically, the one weakness the album has is the same that Deadringer suffered from. Though Ghost is undoubtedly a prodigiously talented and eclectic producer, the tracks featuring MCs are largely underwhelming. Jehst and Verb T are excellent in their own right, but their contributions disrupt the flow of an otherwise impeccably composed record.

Nonetheless, it's a small gripe, for Ghost has made what is likely to be the most complete UK hip hop album of the year. At various turns it is lush, simplistic, funky and moving, and I really, really think you should buy it. - Flashlight


Discography

Postcards from the Edge (CD)

Invisible Inc – The Exit Strategy (digi)

Remixes from the Edge (digi)

Freedom of Thought CD (UK version/Japanese version)

Freedom of Thought EP 1 (Vinyl EP)

My Soul Looks Like This (mix CD)

Its All Love (7? vinyl)

Seldom Seen Often Heard (2 x LP/CD) (UK version/Japanese version)

Basic Instinct (Vinyl EP)

The Payoff (Vinyl EP)

Let em Know (vinyl EP

Ghost Stories (vinyl EP)

Photos

Bio

From humble beginnings Ghost learnt his trade on his dad’s W30 sampling keyboard and Cubase making beats and mixtapes.

Ghost made his debut on wax in 2003 with the ‘Ghost Stories‘ EP, since then Ghost has clocked up 10 international release’s, on vinyl or CD. See discography for more details. Ghost has received critical acclaim, strong sales and support from the likes of Zane Lowe, Mr. Scruff, Gilles Peterson, Sarah Love, and a host of international DJ’s across the globe. Not to mention support from magazines and blogs from New Zealand, to Tokyo, San Francisco all the way back to London.

Ghost was runner up in the Glastonbury Unsigned Talent contest in 2007 and had a track featured on the Glastonbury compilation CD for that year. Since 2007 Ghost has been touring and DJ’ing all over the UK and Europe (including stints at Glastonbury, Hip Hop Kemp, The Big Chill, Bestival and The Jazz Cafe). He’s also found time to work on a number of different projects including Lingua Franca and Invisible Inc (Synth/Electronic Hip Hop with Kashmere and Verb T).

Since the release of his debut album Ghost has had his music licensed all over the world, alternate versions of both his albums have been released in Japan. Ghost tunes have been included on many a mix CD and compilation (most lately on DJ Yoda’s Fabric Mix). Ghost has handpicked a number of remixes to help build his reputation as a go too guy, his remix of “Soul Investigators Theme” from the seminal Nicole Willis album “Keep Reachin’ Up” and Soul Rock outfit ‘The Heavy’ on counter/Ninja Tune, cementing that reputation.

Currently enjoying life in New Zealand, Ghost decided to have a change of scenery in 2009, moving from London to NZ has re-focused and energized a workaholic. With much more headspace Ghost has been busy finishing his 3rd Album ‘Postcards from the Edge’ set for release in August 2010. Not content with a new solo album Ghost has already released an exclusive remix project, ‘Remixes from the Edge’, available for free download from his website. If that wasn’t enough a collaborative project ‘Invisible Inc – The Exit Strategy’ with long time cohorts Verb T and Kashmere, has just been released through Ghost’s own label, Musicforheads.

Add to this already impressive CV that Ghost is currently Program Director at radio station RDU in Christchurch, and hosts his ‘Friday Drive Radio Show’ on RDU 98.5fm www.rdu.org.nz every Friday 4-7 pm, you get a picture that Ghost quietly goes about his business of getting the job done.

The radio show focuses on a strictly good music policy across the Hip Hop, Dubstep, and Electronic Beats spectrum. Learning his trade in the pirate radio scene in London with a 5 year stint on the legendary itch fm, Ghost brings the same cheekiness and cutting edge music to his radio show. Starting out focusing on new music, the last hour of the show pumps up the volume into a taste of what you’re likely to hear from a Ghost DJ set.