2012

安里屋ユンタオーバードライブ Asadoya Yunta Overdrive (Okinawa)

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Here’s a new bonus track we’ve added to the album ネオン列車の風景 Neon Train Landscapes – our version of a traditional shima uta (island song) from 沖縄 (Okinawa).

Dave Black – sanshin, harmonica, field recordings
Nat da Hatt – acoustic & electric guitars, electronics
Cylvi Manthyng – shakuhachi

As you can hear, the music of Okinawa is quite distinct from that of mainland Japan.

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East to West: Japan

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IMG_6606Back in April we performed Dave Black & Snake Beings: East to West at the Audio Foundation in Auckland.  Here’s a first excerpt from the show, which took the audience all the way from NZ to Portugal.  This chapter is set in mainland Japan, and takes in Kyoto, Mount Fuji, and 1990s Tokyo.  The soundtrack was performed live.

We’ve recorded an album’s worth of material, which is now available: Ngumbang

www.fiffdimension.com                     www.snakebeings.co.nz

In the meantime for other original music inspired by Japan, and more Japanese mountaineering, see ネオン列車の風景 Neon Train Landscapes by Dave Black & Nat da Hatt.

Fame & Oblivion: 2005-2012

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“This is something that he has to do, that he will do, come fame or oblivion” –Chris Knox

The second volume of fiffdimension’s best-of compilations, a sequel to Gleefully Unknown: 1997-2005 , sees increasingly wide-ranging experimentation and exploration both sonically and geographically, from New Zealand and beyond to Australia and East Asia.

Featuring tracks from the albums

Ascension Band: Evolution (2005)

After Maths & Sciences (2006)

South Island Sessions (2006)

First Time Around: East Asia (2008)

The Winter: 2011 (2011)

The Winter: Flying Visit (2012)

ネオン列車の風景 Neon Train Landscapes (2013)

+ previously unreleased tracks

The Winter: Flying Visit

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Acoustic instrumental music by Wellington, New Zealand, improvising trio The Winter.

Mike Kingston: charango, guitar, clarinet

Dave Edwards: ukulele, sanshin, tenor sax, piano

Simon Sweetman: xylophone, percussion

Our most recent recordings to date

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Okinawa, Japan 沖縄日本

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ハイサイ! イチャリバ チョデ!  よろしく おねがいします。 きょ-ねん 那覇市に すんでいました と にほんご ちょっと べんきょしました。

In 2011-2012 I lived in Naha (那覇市), the main city of Okinawa Prefecture (沖縄県) in Japan (日本).

The Ryukyu Islands are a whole other world from mainland Japan – there’s no Mt Fuji, samurai, sumo wrestling, geisha or shinkansen.  They have a different culture, food, climate and music – more tropical and laidback, the Hawaii of northeast Asia, with jungle, sugar cane, beautiful sea and coral – umi to sango wa totemo kirei desu ne – and wonderful people and tragic history.

The soundtracks to these videos are snippets of live Okinawan music I recorded there, such as eisa drum dancing and shima uta island songs.  Spot me on sanshin (traditional 3-stringed banjo) and harmonica in the Iriomote one, and having a drumming lesson in Ishigaki – the two Yaeyama Islands, in the remote southwesternmost corner of Japan.

Special thanks to the staff and students of Naha Kokusai and Naha Kogyo senior high schools – Nifei daebiru!


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Kyushu, Japan 九州日本

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Videos from a solo trip across Kyushu (in March 2012, on holiday from work in Okinawa).  Accompanied by Japanese music such as koto, shakuhachi, yokagura and hip-hop, recorded live.

Four videos –

1) from sugi (Japanese cedar) forest with 3000-year-old trees on Yakushima Island,

2) heading north via Kumamoto and its castle, to

3) a yokagura dance performance reenacting the legend of how the sun goddess returned to the world in Takachiho,

4) to the  city of Fukuoka (score by Dave Black & Nat da Hatt – free download)

Crossing the Japan Alps 飛騨山脈日本

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Music, video and hiking by Dave Black and Nat da Hatt – two New Zealanders living in Japan.

We crossed the Hida mountains in six days, losing a few kg along the way, and passed through 長野県(Nagano), 岐阜県 (Gifu), and 富山県 (Toyama) prefectures.