“Shards Of Memories”
Almost ten years to the day since the release of his debut album “Seldom Seen Often Heard”, April 18th sees UK-raised, now Australia-based producer Ghost dropping his fourth long-player, “Shards Of Memories”.
First making his mark at the turn of the millennium as a deejay on London’s then pirate Hip-Hop radio station Itch FM, Ghost soon made the jump from playing records to releasing them, with his 2003 EP “Ghost Stories” immediately becoming something of a homegrown cult classic thanks to its straight-from-the-crates, sample-based production, plus features from a new wave of UK talent who’d emerged in the early-2000s, including Kashmere, Asaviour and Verb T.
Whilst 2006’s “Seldom Seen…” built on the sonic foundations laid by that initial EP release, Ghost’s further two albums, “Freedom Of Thought” (2009) and “Postcards From The Edge” (2010), found the talented music man pushing his creative boundaries, with “Postcards…” going so far as to be completely sample-free, showcasing Ghost taking a step towards the musical worlds of electronica and dubstep (a decision which no doubt confused some original fans whilst bringing new supporters onboard at the same time).
As Ghost’s return to the musical arena, “Shards Of Memories” ambitiously (yet successfully) bridges the gap between the producer’s underground Hip-Hop roots and his desire to craft something that reaches beyond the scene’s traditional sound of dusty drums and head-nodding loops.
Yes, Ghost is extremely competent and able when it comes to delivering standard boom-bap beats, he just doesn’t want to only be known for that.
The opening “Who Do I” features British emcee Kal Sereousz pondering life decisions over crashing drums, whilst the atmospheric “Cold” finds Four Owls member Verb T switching lyrical gears with ease, utilising an engaging double-time flow over a striking blend of sombre strings and sparse beats.
“The Colour Of Life”, the first of three instrumental tracks here, is a piano-laced symphony of live musicianship, which builds into an intense wall of sound that effectively highlights Ghost’s sonic mastery and vision.
Australian rhyme vet Brad Strut lends his precise wordplay to the punchy “Where You Been”, and the Cappo-assisted title track breathes new life into the classic Bob James “Nautilus” break, with the Nottingham artist proving yet again why he should be considered one of the most gifted and consistent emcees of his generation.
The melancholy jazz swing of “Still Here” provides Prose emcee Efeks with the perfect soundscape over which to deliver his personal struggles of life as an independent artist, whilst the instrumental “O.S.T.” more than lives up to its title, with the track’s mix of gritty guitar, frantic drums and triumphant horns evoking images of scenes from a 70s crime flick.
An impressive effort which is both polished and well-executed whilst managing to retain a spontaneous, unpredictable edge, “Shards Of Memories” is the sound of a confident producer embracing his original Hip-Hop influences as he also continues to allow himself to grow through his music.
If you don’t already, this is one Ghost you really should believe in.