Having pumped their way through New Zealand's electronic music scene since their inaugural performance at the annual Gathering New Year's eve festival in 1997, Pitch Black have spent the last nine years rousing dance floor punters, generating rave reviews, winning awards and gaining thousands of fans across the world.
Hard to box into a single audio 'genre', Pitch Black is a combination of musical journeys, created by Paddy Free and Michael Hodgson. Their sound is distinctive; ranging from organic ambient beginnings and layered soundscapes to skanking keyboards, cutting acid riffs and thumping rhythmic grooves, with dub being the glue that holds their sound together. One critic has described them as like "Richie Hawtin meets King Tubby, or Rhythm and Sound in Technicolor".
Their debut album, Futureproof, was released in September 1999 and rose to the top of the New Zealand electronic charts, despite no marketing or advertising. Their second album, Electronomicon, followed in August 2000, and led to a sell out 30-date tour of New Zealand and Australia. Both albums spawned remix projects, featuring mixes by local luminaries such as International Observer, Epsilon Blue and Downtown Brown.
Their third baby, Ape to Angel, was released in New Zealand on October 4, 2004 to critical acclaim. The Ape tour was the biggest yet, with 42 shows across the world, including their debut performances in America. The album was then released in Europe thru Dubmission in July and in America on Waveform in August 2005. Englands DJ Magazine rated it Album of the Month, giving it five stars.
Tracks from Ape to Angel have been undergoing the remix treatment of late. The first installment of mixes came out as Halfway in New Zealand in November 2005. This collection featured versions by Bluetech, Antix, peak_shift, Agent Alvin and others. Another selection was released in Japan in July 2006 as Halfway from Ape to Angel, which had extra tracks by Youth, Kenji Williams, System 7 and more.
The final collection came out on September 25th 2006, with mixes by International Observer, Red Star, Youth, Alucidnation, son_sine, Module, Bluetech, peak_shift, Minuit and more. Called Frequencies Fall it is out on Dubmission Records or thru iTunes, Beatport and other online stores.
Pitch Black's live show really makes them stand out from the rest of the crowd, both sonically and visually. Their tracks take on an added dynamism and their performances reveal the dialectic behind the band - Paddy wants to do it for the crowd, Michael wants to do it to the crowd. Visually they are in another dimension due to Mike's cutting edge visuals, which he manipulates at the same time as mixing the sound! Not for nothing have they been hailed as the "Hexstatic of New Zealand" and have been warmly embraced by England's Big Chill community - playing three times at their annual festival.
Over the years they have also found favour among many DJs, both radio and club, including John Peel (Radio One/BBC), Nick Luscombe (Xfm), Greg Roberts (Dreadzone) and Pete Lawrence (Big Chill). Their music has been used in fashion shows and several films, the latest being the Oscar nominated Whale Rider.
Their new album, Rude Mechanicals, came out in NZ on August 6.