Rough outsider folk-blues mysteries, dissonant rock textures, electric and acoustic improvisations… Edwards strikes me as one of the most overlooked musicians from the fertile lands of New Zealand, and if you need a fresh start this might very well be the place.” – Mats Gustafsson, The Broken Face
I was born in Wellington, New Zealand, but grew up in New Plymouth – near the sleeping volcano Mt Taranaki, rolling green hills, and black sand beaches with surf pounding on the shore of the Tasman. I’m a sixth-generation pakeha (European-descended) New Zealander.
As a teenager I learned a few guitar chords and started writing songs. Despite (or rather because of) the fact I hadn’t come from a musical background or studied music at school, I skipped learning cover songs and went straight to writing my own. I was inspired by the DIY postpunk ethos, exemplified in NZ by Chris Knox, Peter Jefferies, Alastair Galbraith, The Dead C et al, and Taranaki bands like Sticky Filth, Nefarious, 1080, Schizophrenia….
“Worth searching out coz this lo-fi singer/songwriter oddball has a unique take on the genre. He’s pissed off, a tad fucked up (as usual), but not full of lugubrious self-pity (as unusual) and is happy to get raucous & obnoxious in just the right kinda way.” – Chris Knox
Early in the year I met an older fellow Taranaki experimental musician Paul Winstanley (aka Paul H Locasta – his bass/synth album ‘Heaven on Earth’, made while he’d lived in Texas, was a revelation for me). I played guitar with a knife & fork in his multimedia noise ensemble the Bird & Truck Collision at the Sweetwaters 1999 festival.
At some point mid year Paul and I convened in New Plymouth, with the Digitator, Brian Wafer and others, to record (the first half of) my 2nd album The Marion Flow.
Of course my interest in free jazz and literary modernism, along with my rudimentary conventional musicianship and love of dissonance, and the influence of the local avant-garde scene… meant I had zero commercial chance.
Two years later came a chance to finish recording The Marion Flow . Paul Winstanley engineered, and played bass on the remaining tracks at Thistle Hall in 2001, with Wellington musicians Chris O’Connor, Chris Palmer, and Simon O’Rorke.
Throughout the year I recorded further solo postpunk spoken word free improv guitar spasms onto 4-track cassette tapes. I was underemployed so made my own entertainment.
The difficult third album, an idiosyncratic spoken word + instrumental voyage into inner space – I locked myself in my room for a month with a 4-track tape recorder and a guitar & a bass and wrestled with the void.
Next, finding lyrics harder to write as I got older (and not wanting to repeat myself get pigeonholed), I left the solo singer/songwriter genre and took a collaborative and mainly instrumental approach in The Winter
The Winter – Mike Kingston and Simon Sweetman – plus Sam Prebble on violin – appeared on
By this point my abrasive experimental electric side was in ascent
Previously unreleased: spoken word (salad) & improvised guitar.
At the end of the The Winter met again to record on 30th of December, our last time for several years.
the next logical step was to expand the sonic palette
The result was the
Ascension Band, in collaboration with Nigel Patterson, Ryan Prebble, Belle Campanita and over a dozen other musicians, from jazz-schooled through to untrained punks, won the best music award in the NZ Fringe Festival.