2019

2019 roundup

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At the end of the decade, and looking for a way to follow up the eclectic Asia-Pacific Odyssey of Other Islands: 2012-2018, I stripped things back down to the solo acoustic format of my early years with Live 2019.

The set, at Wairarapa TV in Masterton, New Zealand, was streamed live on the internet on 4th of May 2019.

For the past couple of years I’ve been living in a small town and don’t get to as many gigs as I used to… so here was an opportunity to use 21st century technology to play ‘virtually’ everywhere.

On the other hand musically this was closer to a traditional folk/singer-songwriter set than I’d done for quite a while. I eschewed dissonant improv, multitracking, live backing musicians, field recordings, or electronic trickery this time, and used just acoustic guitar, banjo, and harmonica (and a few seconds of wah pedal on ‘Eastern’).

The set was followed by an interview.

I also released a companion album to Live 2019 its stroppier lo-fi postpunk ‘official bootleg’ predecesor Live 1999. This was recorded on cassette 20 years (or half my lifetime) ago, when I opened for Chris Knox at Bar Bodega in Wellington NZ last millennium:

Live 1999

I started and finished both live sets on the same two songs, to show continuity and evolution.

It’s been quite a journey in between!

Other projects

My other 2019 works in progress included

* experiments with animated visuals and electric improvisations (the ‘yang’ flipside of the deliberately toned down ‘yin’ Live 2019)

* a duo with Emit Snake-Beings, for an as-yet-untitled sequel to Ngumbang, coming in 2020 (we had a recording session in Suva, Fiji, of all places);

* a couple of informal jam sessions with the Electricka Zoo (which has otherwise been on hold since last year); ( http://www.soundcloud.com/darrel-hannon/jamming-with-dave)

* and I continued to adapt the 19th century book ‘Poems & Lyrics by John Collie’, which I’d learned was written by my Scottish great-great-grandfather in 1856 before he came to NZ. Three of his poems featured on Live 2019, with more in the pipeline.

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Huia Vortex

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Animated visuals, with electric guitar loops, one-stringed bass, and drums – the opening track from the ‘Ngumbang‘ album (get the free download) – w/ Emit Snake-beings & Nat da Hatt

The title ‘Huia Vortex’ refers to the location where the track was recorded, in Huia, a small village on the outskirts of west Auckland.

Dave Black & Emit Snake-Beings

It’s not necessarily related to ‘Swansong (for the Huia)(2004), the second album by The Winter, an electro-acoustic trio improvisation in tribute to the extinct New Zealand bird the huia by Dave Edwards, Mike Kingston, and Simon Sweetman. Its 19-minute final track remains an underrated fiffdimension epic. [send us your review]

The Electricka Zoo – new tracks, late 2019

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Here’s a pair of new (late 2019) tracks from The Electricka Zoo

Keyboards & electronica by the Digitator

& Dave Black on electric guitar

in Upper Hutt, New Zealand, November 2019

the Electricka Zoo, 2017

Get our album if you haven’t already!

 

Spotify playlist – fiffdimension & friends

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Here’s my first Spotify playlist… a mix of my own tracks and by other artists who I’ve had the privilege to meet and be inspired by, in several cases played gigs alongside and/or collaborated with.

Thank you all for the journey! And some great music here.

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with Snake Beings in Fiji

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www.snakebeings.co.nz

Dr  Emit Snake Beings  is a travelling artist/musician/filmmaker/shaman/academic who was an early influence on my music.

Most recently we’ve met up in Fiji and recorded a couple of new pieces which you’ll be able to hear soon.

Snake Beings and Dave Black in Fiji

A new sound for 2020 perhaps?

In the meantime have a listen to the ‘Ngumbang‘ album we made together in 2015 – a fusion of several genres and a DIY manifesto – “Pick up the pieces and make them into something new, it’s what we do…”

We also made a new Indonesia-inspired electro-acoustic track for Other Islands 2012-2018:

And Other Islands 2012-2018 concluded with a Fijian folk song, inspired by my earlier visits to Fiji in 2016 and 2018

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interview by Nikki King

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Live 2019 includes a post-gig interview with Dave Edwards by Nikki King.

We discussed the origins of fiffdimension (including where the name comes from), 19th century ancestors, life in the Wairarapa, and various projects, collaborators, and influences from New Zealand and abroad.

Nikki is the vocalist and trumpeter for Wairarapa postpunk band Spank, who also performed a set in the Wairarapa TV May Music Marathon that day.