Pitch Black have been consistently producing high quality electronica since the formative days of New Zealand’s dance music scene in the mid-90s. Having first made a name for themselves by playing dubbed-out live sets at the legendary Gathering festival in Takaka, they are now firmly established at the cutting edge of local beat-makers.
Their latest release is a remix project that sees the duo give an electric array of local and international artists the chance to radically reinterpret tracks from their 2007 album Rude Mechanicals. To be honest I wasn’t exactly holding my breath prior to my first listen. Call me cynical – but I feel quite a few ‘remix albums’ are just slap dash efforts designed to squeeze out more cash from their faithful.
Thankfully this not the case in this instance. Rude Mechanicals Remixes is a quality album. It spans a broad spectrum of styles – techy dub, dubby techno, downbeat and drum and bass – which nicely represent the sum of the influences that have shaped Pitch Black’s sound.
Pretty much every track on the album is quite pleasant – but there are a few highlights. Melbourne-based Deep Fried Dub provide an immaculate version of Transient Transmissions. Featuring a beautiful meditative melodica part, this track had me reminiscing about Salmonella Dub when they were at their peak with Inside the Dubplates.
Hooves’ drum and bass remix of Please Leave Quietly is another a particularly good track. With it’s lush atmospheric pads, fast rolling beats, and deep wobbling bassline – it sounds akin to some of Calibre’s dub DnB fusions.
Neon Stereo’s minimalist house take on Harmonia is also a standout. No doubt many of you reggae-lovers out there associate house with the cheeseball sounds of Ibiza (or perhaps with a bar you once ended up at which had a mysterious lack of females). Well most house probably is quite shit – but minimalist house/techno can be bloody good. Take this track for instance – drenched with reverb and filled with soothing textures it’s a delight for the ears.
This album is pretty good, so if you like dub of the electronic persuasion, I recommend you acquire it.