Are We Now Here Or Nowhere?

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Are We Now Here or Nowhere? presents Hey!zeus and Radimo, a duo who have teamed up to record an album that is an unconventional fusion of jazz and hip-hop. Radimo from the Champion Sound (formerly Prago Union support band) met
his producer and rapper in person for the first time a long time ago in London, and many years later recalls this meeting: “When I happened to meet Hey!zeus back in 2008 in the London Jazz Café, I did not have a clue that such a paramount connection was being born. This became clear after our first studio session. I have never experienced such creative freedom in terms of an instrumentalist-producer collaboration as with him. Most tracks were recorded on the first take, so the first thing that comes to me is recorded, the initial inspiration as it were, and in most cases, it also ended in this raw form on the track. Sometimes with crazy effects, other times in several layers.” Their first track recorded together was Annunaki Ninja Trials, which was released in a digital form as early as 2011, revealing where their joint creative efforts were heading, i.e. combining free jazz and hip-hop with a more classic jazz form and a large dose of psychedelia.

It took six long years for the final version of the Are We Now Here or Nowhere? to see the light of day and the release of this original material can be seen as the natural outcome of this long-term collaboration. The album features several other excellent musicians. For example, Hey!zeus’s partner from Obba Supa (mostly recording for German labels such as Sichtexot and Project: Mooncircle) Teknical Development.IS; other unmistakable vocalists such as King Kashmere of Strange U and Stacy Epps who to date has released two albums, the Ruff Draft and The Awakening. Honza ‘Watcha’ Koukal is featured on bass guitar and Blue Daisy (real name Kwesi Darko) on keyboards, who has previously worked with Tricky and Snow Ghosts; the list of his remixes include items such as the hit Night Air by Jamie Woon and Stay The Same by Bonobo.

The basis of each fragment, as previously mentioned, was their jam sessions that were always recorded and followed
by the edge grinding stage. In addition to sound experimenting, the melodic preludes gradually came to the forefront, creating a form of bridging of these rumble loops. Radimo also played a wide range of wind instruments (alto and soprano saxophones, flutes) percussion, keyboard instruments while many sounds “came straight from his mouth” (voices, whistles). The electronics are really just an allusion that sort of hang around; even then individual tempos and beats were created in other ways than by programming. Are We Now Here or Nowhere? talks to the audience with sweeping instrumentation and the voices themselves (and not only those of the guest protagonists) of ten become another instrument used to create the final version of a given composition. Individual jazz forms blend into each other, from free variations through to contemporary cuttings right to the wood, the most traditional form. Their counterparts are the hip-hop building elements and Hey!zeuse’s studio work.

Are We Now Here or Nowhere? is an unconventional feat on the Czech music scene, with its mixes of various musical
forms and genres. The combination of the various parables of jazz, hip-hop, sampling, rap and vocal improvisation has clearly recognizable features of Radimo and Hey!zeus’s team – its sound experiment works on several levels at the same time. Radimo summed up the result of their creative period with these words: “I love his production style. It sounds totally organic, like a jazz drummer live, and yet it is so hip-hop and full of space. For me, personally, it is absolutely inspirational music. He is, without a doubt, my most favourite producer that I have worked with. He is the only one who lets me to do anything in the studio, the craziest stuff I can think of. And the best part of it? He likes it!” So, there is a lot to look forward to.”