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The men behind the European downtempo outfit Zero 7 - producers Henry Binns and Sam Hardaker - launched their careers in the music industry as tea boys at a London recording studio. Shortly thereafter, however, both were in the thick of the action, working alongside a string of well-known British musicians such as the Pet Shop Boys and Robert Plant. Their break came in the form of a remix of a Radiohead song, "Climbing Up the Walls." The remix was played numerous times on radio stations and led to further mixes for artists including Lenny Kravitz, Sneaker Pimps and Lambchop.
In 1999, the duo released an EP of its own original material called EP1, under the name Zero 7 - originating from the name of a Honduras night club. In 2001, the album Simple Things debuted. It featured a combination of soul, jazz and acid-funk collaborations with the dynamic vocalists Mozez, Sia Furler and Sophie Barker, earning it wide critical and audience acclaim. The album quickly reached gold record status and included great hits - "Destiny," "In the Waiting Line" and "Distractions."
When it Falls was released in 2004 and included such hits as "Warm Sound" and "Somersault." Two years later, the third Zero 7 album, The Garden, starred the talented Sia, Swedish rising star Jose Gonzales and for the first time, Binns himself. This 2006 album is considered by many to be a masterpiece. Following its success, the duo felt it was time for a change. Sam Hardaker said in a recent interview, "I was sitting in the studio thinking about how we were going to make this new record a reality," he related.
In the interim, the duo had created Ingrid Eto and Kling, two electronic side-projects. "All of our efforts had been concentrated on the Zero 7 album," said Hardaker, "so we decided to play around with some smaller projects - to allow ourselves the freedom to do what we like." He continued, "We enjoyed the chaos, the thrill of knowing it could all fall apart at any moment."
Sam's idea was to make an instrumental album with Binns doing the vocals - only Binns refused, with the exception of one track, "Everything Up (Zizou)," named for soccer legend Zinadine Zidane. "The song is about overcoming self doubt and I liked the image of Zidane changing a situation in a second in such a graceful way," Hardaker explained.
That track was one turning point in the new album. The second was the addition of a new vocalist named Eska Mtungwazi. "She breathed life into the music," he said. "She put everything into shape. Up till then it was a bit shaky and I was seriously considering forging a career in carpentry," Hardaker joked.
The result is Yeah Ghost - an album that takes a turn from the downbeat formula of past releases and plays with a more experimental vein. Fans will still find the older sound infused within these new compositions but this is one of those excellent cases where a band takes a creative leap and comes up with an inspired new direction. The album includes instrumental bits derived from the Ingrid Eto and Kling experiment, an exceptional pop dance number titled "Mr. Mcgee" with a sound resembling that of Basement Jaxx, as well as songs, such as "Pop Art Blue," reminiscent of The Garden era.
With its unique sound and production filled with various musicians, catch Zero 7 as it makes its way to Tel Aviv shores for one performance only.
Zero 7 performs on November 21 at Hangar 11. Tickets range from NIS 220-350. Doors open at 9 p.m. The opening act is the amazing Israeli groove funk band Coolooloosh. For tickets and more information call *8965