Explosive windup for Fringe

Evening Post, 20 March 1998

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The Fringe Festival comes to an explosive end tomorrow night with the Rewind dance party.

The show, taking place over the three levels of the Phoenix Theatre, features the largest line-up of live, local dance music acts seen in Wellington. Only Takaka's annual festival The Gathering comes close in terms of live New Zealand dance content, organiser John Pell says. "The beats on offer at Rewind are a genuinely diverse representation of New Zealand's burgeoning electronic and dance culture, covering house, techno, trance, drum 'n' bass, dub, hip hop and jazz."

Groups performing are Pitch Black and Short Fuse from Auckland, Wellington artists 50Hz, Aspen, Jet Jaguar, Christchurch group The Nomad, plus Crackheads and Casiotone Utd. A top line-up of local DJs includes Mu, K-Tel, Cyrus, Coda, Lemon, Softex, Vishal and Jaz, John Saunders and Clinton Smiley. Visual effects have been designed by Axis and Pitch Black.

Michael Hodgson, one half of Pitch Black, is not only playing live but providing some of the visual effects for Rewind. Melding video and music has been a hallmark of Hodgson's work with groups such as Projector Mix and Tinnitus, and Pitch Black - a duo with Paddy Free, one of New Zealand's foremost keyboard players/programmers - is his biggest step yet into the musical mainstream.

"The music I'm playing now (techno meets drum 'n' bass with elements of dub) is probably the most accessible I've done, but then musical tastes have also shifted, so I probably haven't had to move that far from the left," Hodgson says.

Unlike many live electronic bands, Pitch Black shies away from the use of sequences and pre-programmed music. Everything that happens on stage is generated and mixed live by the two players. That gives each performance the spark of spontaneity, but can also have its problems, Hodgson says.

"The last time we played we were halfway through a song and I decided to mute the bass at exactly the same time as Paddy decided to go into a bass solo. All we were left with was the sound of this high hat cymbal slowly disintegrating into the distance. We just looked at each other, counted to four and started all over again. It worked out OK though, because we had to then take that song into a new and interesting direction."

* Rewind. Phoenix Theatre, Dixon St. Saturday, 11pm onwards. Tickets $25/$20/ $15.

Mike Houlahan, Evening Post, 20 March 1998

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