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Other Islands: 2012-2018 – a compilation of recent highlights, recorded in New Zealand, Western Australia, Fiji, Indonesia and Okinawa

In 2012 I was home in New Zealand for a total of seven days, in July/August. Oherwise it was very much a year of two halves.

Until the end of June I lived in 沖縄 (Okinawa).

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Nat da Hatt and I recorded a track for our duo album ネオン列車の風景 Neon Train Landscapes – our version of a traditional shima uta (island song)

As you can hear, the music of Okinawa is quite distinct from that of mainland Japan. It uses a different scale, and the sanshin is a distinctive instrument.


I also travelled twice to mainland Japan: to Kyushu in March – to Yakushima to see the 3000 year old cedar trees, and from Kagoshima to Kumamoto, Takachiho and Fukuoka;

and then in July to Honshu, where I climbed Mt Fuji – the Japanese have a saying that a wise human climbs Fuji-san once, but a fool does it twice; if so I was especially lucky to see the sunrise from the top –

and then spent six days crossing the northern alps with Nat da Hatt. We made a movie along the way and composed our own soundtrack.

All this inspired the album ネオン列車の風景 Neon Train Landscapes. 

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Whereas my first Asian album (from 2008) was made out of field recordings and acoustic instruments, ネオン列車の風景 mashed up Japanese sounds with electric guitars and lo-fi electronica – to reflect the mix of ancient & futuristic and the everyday surrealism of Japan.

Following this I returned to the southern hemisphere winter and spent a week back home. Mike and Simon and I reconvened for an acoustic jam, that became the Flying Visit EP. The sanshin I brought home plus Mike’s charango from his travels in South America added a touch of new pan-Pacific fusion.

The Winter: Flying Visit

Next I traded Okinawan coral reefs for Australian surf beaches, subtropical humidity for dry heat, and uchinanchu for bogan culture. I moved country once again to Perth, Western Australia, my base of operations for the next two years…

Dave Black in Western Australia, 2013

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