First came a handful of remixes, including Radiohead
's "Climbing Up the Walls" and Terry Callier
's "Love Theme from Spartacus." Then came Zero 7's own material, beginning with the release of EP 1 in 1999. Only a handful of copies were made and they sold out in a matter of days, a feat that was repeated with Zero 7's second release, EP 2. The duo's first full-length album, Simple Things, came out amid much salivating from the media in mid-2001. A collection of laid-back soul, acid jazz, and funk tracks, the album carried collaborations with respected vocalists Mozez
, Sia Furler, and Sophie Barker
. A sophomore effort, When It Falls, appeared in March 2004, followed two years later by the Grammy-nominated Garden, which included contributions from longtime partner Sia
as well as Swedish star José González
. Meanwhile, Zero 7's presence on the popular Garden State soundtrack helped attract a wider audience, endearing the group's music to crowds that didn't typically follow the downtempo scene.
Despite the gathering momentum (which increased when Garden was nominated for a Grammy in 2007), Zero 7 was left without a principal vocalist when Sia Furler left the group's fold, choosing instead to focus on her songwriting career. Binns and Hardaker soon aligned themselves with a different singer, the London-based Eska Mtungwazi, whose influence resulted in a new emphasis on pop music. Released in 2009, Yeah Ghost unveiled Zero 7's retooled mix of pop-influenced electronica and ambient jazz, and the group toured on both sides of the Atlantic in support of its release. ~ David Peter Wesolowski, Rovi