Back 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
“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, and a reinvention as Dave Black.
A third volume, Other Islands: 2012-2018 will be out in the next couple of months and include my return to NZ and more recent works.
Featuring tracks from the albums
Ascension Band: Evolution (2005)
After Maths & Sciences (2005-2006)
South Island Sessions (2006)
First Time Around: East Asia (2008)
The Winter: 2011 (2011)
The Winter: Exit Points (2010/2015)
and previously unheard tracks
by Dave Black (acoustic & electric guitars, banjo, harmonica, laptop, bass, tenor saxophone, field recordings, piano, gayageum, vocal), with
Mike Kingston (acoustic guitar), Simon Sweetman (percussion), Nat da Hatt (electric guitar, keyboards), Hayden Gifkins (electric guitar), Nigel Patterson (hammond organ), Ryan Prebble (tone generator), Matthew Thornicroft (electric guitar), Cylvi M (vocal, field recordings, percussion, shakuhachi), Jeff Henderson (drums), Noel Meek (vocal), Clever Hansel (ukulele)
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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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)
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.