New band of the day – No 799: Ghostpoet

With lullabies to hypnotise, this somnolent spirit is sleepwalking his way to greatness

Hometown: London.

The lineup: Obaro Ejimiwe (vocals).

The background: Great summer songs are many and varied, but here's another type of sunshine soundtrack, ideal for those slow, oddly still, slightly uneasy moments when you seek refuge from the heat in the shadows of the parks and side streets of London. Ghostpoet's music is perfect for that atmosphere of muggy dread. He sounds like Dizzee on mogadon, or a half-asleep Streets. A lot of his songs are set early in the morning after the night before, and find him doing what might imagine: dreamwalking his way through a series of scenarios, usually quietly nightmarish – like the one in Gone, the first track on his Sound of Strangers EP. Over a minimal, mesmeric loop, our anti-hero wakes up to find his girlfriend not in bed next to him. "Oh damn crap, what will I do?" he wonders, assuming she must be "jamming with her iPod, sitting on the loo". Then he remembers the previous evening's madness, which found him out late, "me and my boys", drunk, flirting with girls, and taking photos of him with them on his mobile. Then it occurs: his girlfriend must have seen the results on his phone, packed her bags and gone. Still, he's all right because "I know she's coming back. Well, I hope so ..."

Like much of Ghostpoet's material, it's mellow but anxious. It makes sense that Ejimiwe – the London-based Coventry boy with roots in Nigeria and Dominica – should have signed to Gilles Peterson's label, Brownswood, because the music's got that cool London jazz "vibe" (sorry), but it also makes sense that his EP should have been produced by Mica "Micachu and the Shapes" Levi because there's a playfulness and lightness of touch that keeps it this side of acid jazz hipster slickness. The second track on the EP, Morning, actually features Micachu and has spicy oriental flavours. Again it finds Ghostpoet just woken up, drowsy, "the neighbour playing basslines" even though it's only six am, his lugubrious gruff baritone and the air of murky menace sweetened by the gorgeous wraithlike Micachu harmonies that appear in the mix. It's like hearing Dirty Projectors' awesome Stillness Is the Move through the wall as Tricky mumbles his way through Maxinquaye in the foreground. Semi-wakefulness is clearly a leitmotif here – third track Longing for the Night is another one about being half awake in the morning, dreaming of sleep and, perhaps, an escape from his overactive imagination and the problems of the day. At university, Obaro was part of a grime collective, but on The Sound of Strangers EP Ghostpoet has come up with a different sort of music with a different kind of enervated energy.

The buzz: "Don't sleep on this young, inventive, British MC, he's destined for greatness" – Entertainment Focus.

The truth: Or rather, he's sleepwalking his way to greatness.

Most likely to: Lullabite your head off.

Least likely to: Mix seamlessly with Bonkers.

What to buy: The Sound of Strangers EP is released by Brownswood on 21 June.

File next to: Gil Scott-Heron, Roots Manuva, John Cooper Clarke, Tricky.


Tomorrow's new band: Jamaica.


Paul Lester

The GuardianTramp

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