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Zero 7 unveil new album Yeah Ghost

Zero 7

Story by Jack Foley

THINK you’ve got the Zero 7 sound pegged? We urge you to think again.

The duo – Mercury Music Prize and Grammy-nominated Henry Binns and Sam Hardaker – have pushed the boundaries to breaking point.

While they’ve been known and loved as the godfathers of ambient and downbeat pop for the best part of a decade, their latest album Yeah Ghost (out September 7, 2009 through Atlantic Records) promises to sound like nothing you’ve heard by them before.

With the tempo ratcheted right up, Yeah Ghost’s battery of new ideas spans everything from dance pop to acoustic folk and everything in between. It includes a quartet of instrumental tracks derived from their experimental side projects (Kling/Ingrid Eto), sampled, overdubbed and rebuilt from scratch.

From the evocative intro Count Me Out to the album’s shuffling, twitchy closer All Of Us – via the haunting Solastalgia and Ghost sYMbOL avant-garde electronic and distorted vocals – it’s Zero 7 as you’ve never heard them before.

One thing that remains consistent, though, is the roll call of up-and-coming talent on vocal duties, including singer Eska Mtungwazi. The Londoner, whose collaboration credits include Matthew Herbert and Bugs In The Attic, appears on Mr McGee, Medicine Man, Sleeper and The Road.

Martha Tilston, descendant of folk royalty and owner of a voice of rare crystalline beauty, provides vocals on while the mysterious “Jackie Daniels” sings on Ghost sYMbOL.

Even Henry himself takes the reigns with vocals on Everything Up (Zizou), which has been retooled by a host of remixers de jour Joker and Ginz, Mock n Toof and Gold Panda.

Childhood friends Henry and Sam began their musical career as sound engineers before producing remixes for the likes of Radiohead, N.E.R.D, Sneaker Pimps and Lambchop.

2001 saw the release of their critically-acclaimed debut Simple Things, followed by two more albums (When It Falls in 2004 and 2006’s The Garden), Mercury Music Prize and Grammy nominations and numerous requests for their tunes in film and TV soundtracks (Garden State, Sex and the City, House and Entourage to name a few.)

In between albums, Henry and Sam experimented with pared-back electronic side-projects, such as the current Kling EP, but regain sole focus on Zero 7 with their newest and most ambitious album, Yeah Ghost.

“This time, from an early stage, we were clocking ourselves as we went though the steps of writing,” Sam says. “Trying to be a bit more aware of our habits and to approach the process of making a record in a different ways.”

Track listing:

  1. Count Me Out
  2. Mr McGee
  3. Swing
  4. Everything Up (Zizou)
  5. Pop Art Blue
  6. Medicine Man
  7. Ghost sYMbOL
  8. Sleeper
  9. Solastalgia
  10. The Road
  11. All Of Us