Pitch Black Profile

Gary Steel
17 Jan 2014

Why has Pitch Black survived, flourished and presided over our electronic landscape, while so many acts have briefly shone, only to quickly dissipate?

Well, even projects steeped in circuitry and synthesis benefit from complementary personalities, and my guess is that the partnership forged between Mike Hodgson and Paddy Free back in 1996 has worked in innumerable ways to keep the duo’s sleek grooves ticking.

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Pitch Black - Michael Hodgson and Paddy Free
Pitch Black at Big Day Out, 2005
Pitch Black sheltering from a rainstorm, November 1997
Photo credit: Photo by John Russell
Pitch Black
Late 1990s publicity shot
Pitch Black live at Cargo, London, July 2008
A poster for the Elbo Room, San Francisco, October 2005
Pitch Black at Splore, 2010
Pitch Black at Auckland Museum
Pitch Black at the 2011 Kotahitanga Unity Concert in Paeroa
Pitch Black's Paddy Free with Universal NZ staff at the 1999 NZ Music Awards - Al Cain, Paddy, Grant Kearney and MD George Ash. Universal distributed Kog Transmissions, Pitch Black's label.
Pitch Black at the Big Day Out, 2006
Pitch Black
Paddy Free and Mike Hodgson, Liquid Room, Tokyo 2006
NZ Musician, August/September 2000
Michael Hodgson and Paddy Free
Photo credit: Photo by Tony Nyberg
Pitch Black at The Engine Room
Bird Soul (Subtone Remix)
Paddy looking for the lost data flow!
Pitch Black at Splore 2010
The Technical Sessions - Pitch Black Interview from 2010
A poster for Pitch Black at The Liquid Room, Tokyo, July 2006


Kog Transmissions


Paddy Free - electronics, programming

Mike Hodgson - electronics, visuals


Free’s mind was melted well before Pitch Black, when he worked on Killing Joke’s trance-oriented 1994 album, Pandemonium. This was his introduction to programming, engineering and production. Later, he would work with Crowded House, Neil Finn, Supergroove, Emma Paki, Stellar* and others; and he would win a Best Producer award for his work with Salmonella Dub on The Dub Plates album.

Pitch Black’s music has been used on several television shows, including True Blood and, improbably, CSI: Miami.

Mike Hodgson’s Misled Convoy ambient project performed in “quadrophonic” sound at Gary Steel’s record shop/venue, Beautiful Music, in 1999. Ben Harris released a limited edition CD of the event on his Systematic label.

Paddy Free released his collaboration of taonga pūoro-influenced sounds with Richard Nunns, Karekare: Te Reo O Te Whenua (Dub Conspiracy) in 2008.