Mantis Shaped and Worrying

The difficult third album – recorded during a time of intense introspection in 2002. I locked myself in my room in Wellington for all of November with an analogue 4-track tape recorder, electric bass, guitars and harmonica and wrestled with the void.The results rapidly put an end to my promising New Zealand music career!

I spent days alone in my room with a borrowed 4-track cassette recorder (thank you Jeff Henderson) and bass guitar (thank you Simon O’Rorke). I’d never had a bass lesson so came up with my own improvised atonal punk/funk style.

The thin walls and neighbours below meant I couldn’t use an amp but could only play in headphones. This added to the sense of implosion. Likewise vocals couldn’t be done in a loud voice. I mostly eschewed effects pedals, and went more for dissonance than distortion. The technology was all analogue.

The result was Mantis Shaped and Worrying. It received mixed reviews, but was unlike anything else (as far as I was aware) at the time. File under: sui generis.


[send us your review]

Track one was a major composition in three movements entitled And in a who gets to who and who does and him:

“On the first of the four tracks here, New Zealand experimental musician David A. Edwards spins out these dry verbal expositions of descriptive details in rhythmic and purely compulsive floods, while behind his NZ accented narrative various bloops, noodles and skittering musical sounds are smeared around the canvas. Almost poetry, but often more like verbal textures rather than a focus on the words themselves. His speaking delivery seem purposely emotionless.

An excerpt appears on the Gleefully Unknown: 1997-2005 compilation,

but the full 10:34 version is a personal favourite.

And in a who gets to who and who does and him. And then in on him hand in a then on the who on the we. An hand and an and with the end on the hand hand a way. When a hand on a man non in hand. Hand in a hind and a theme gone in blind where a blind while a mind to stand singing hand on him. Hand and an on in the hand and the in on him hand.
High and illegal. Legal and doing him. Local gal vaccine. Heist on a bank. Local legal then and downtown. Lukewarm severance to the hand on him severing severely. Drinking Cab Sav. And a side-on severely waits weights wait til sin severely sad savage. And a courtroom scenery seizes his mind.Loose lukewarm sad and a sigh of allegiance to the motto. Motto leading us shining and tall. Tall to the too many tale-spinning severance pastime savagery at seven. Signing it tall. Tall to the too many tale-spinning severance pastime savagery. Loose and sad tall. Sad in a hand on him sad with allegiance. Allegiance his motto. Stand in the sad to the sigh of allegiance. Win a worried stand tall. Sad to the in on him sad ways to allegiance.Want to stand blow. Want to stand worried hand blowing and tall. Win a worried perception. Willing watching him sliding and squirming under the knife of punishment. Wheel in hand punish the knife. Wheel in hand fine with the knife. Wheel in hand fly to the knife. Loose in on not hand. Hand hanging loose win a wheel. Looseful unknown. Hard hanging hand in a hand on the wind. With worse wind hand swinging knife. Win a worse hand winding. Worse with the winning hand. Worse within hang not, not within hang. Hanging hand with the were times. Which hand were times were hands hanging these? Hand a hand with one’s own hand hanging worth and though plainness need in the interference a scurrying place. Hanging were to those hanging faith in the her hand. Hanging place. Loose fits the hand with the hand hanging were times hopeless hide this. Hide bliss. Win all the were times. Report to back yard.Hand a hand-wringing hand in the win all the were times. Times win the hanging. Times win the were. The were which were having hand in the in on them were times when the wheel which was won was won and within the were wages hanging side in the in on him hand within hand on the wages. Signing blank cheque. Writing time on the wins. Tried in the hand on the hanging in wind, tired of creatures’ spleen with vagueness pause surreptitious scrupulous longing.Win a glancing at watch. Win a tired end to long night. Hide and withheld. Whose surreptitious hands hanging wind? Winded wounded whining on wine. Aloof and withheld. Spell him on held. In a spell made him held. He will willing wound and awake with a wind wound and wide. Wound in on hound. And a hand in on wand. Hand the hand within hand. Hand the wound to the win and on wine. Wound the hand wind with a wine. Hand in a loose to the perseverance signature balancing hand upon wine. Win the wound of the world. Wield a promising sign, hang the hand to sad wine. Wound the in on him hand hanging vagueness. Hanging hand upon head. Hanging head in the were times. Hand the head hanging wound of the were times with a stylized perception persuasion perseverance, hand the hanging on hand held the head. Held the head to the in on vagueness. And a scurry for contempt. Contempt the hoop hanging wideness. Hang the hoop upon head hand to smuggle them up.Hang the hoop hanging were times. Hoop the hand on the were times. Hang the hand on the were times. See them all on to march. See them all on hand hiding the straight lace and biding one’s time. And hiding one’s time. Time them on hoop hand. We will practice at home. We will captain them up. We will leave a pause for bad ruin seen in pause for our perfume will slaughter captain them up. We will slaughter them up keen on captain, sleeve keen on captain. Bed and table forces. Evil pleasure. Hanged in a head upon hand. Hang in the were times. Hand hanging pleasure. Hand on the hanging. A gleeful pause for seven days. Hang the hand hanging were times sleeve on captain.Loose hang the hand. Sleeve the hoop on the sling. Sliding the were times in on the sly. Oh those were the were times, we will win on them were times. Loose hope hanging hand. Were within woe. Woe within were times. Were hanging hand we will wheel and on woo her, woo her woe wail and win her on woe. Who win the woo within wailing win scurrying were times wailing sudden and daring, sullen and faded, sculling and jaded?Hang the hand on the woo within were times. Woo the woe with the hand upon wind. Hang within sever. Sever severely sullen and jaded wane on the woo within wind white we with woe. Wound within halls. We will sudden and woe. Wield the woe within walls. Hang hanging hand on the woo within wind. Greed will punish the toad. Hang the woo within wind. Wooden with walls. Hang on the were times worried with pause. Curried with wars. Aloof laden blank and afflicted with cause. Relief for a laugh wait in hand. Hand held the nail and then hammered in cross. Hand held in head. A high waters heave. A relief little woe. Side-singing. Peruse autumn trains. Dartboard the door. Quicksmart nails then. Pause.Very woe onto load-bearing members. Scurrying walls. A loose wall tune in doors. Two hand holding a sign of contempt. Return to our captain slaughter. Handing him on. Handling the hanging business. Hang a woo within were times. Report through the door to the were times. Were the her hanging were times to relearn all we were? Were we to relearn all we were ever been? Times to relean on, punning on pause. Times to relearn with good cause.We will pause relearn jape. And a tired allegiance to the hanging was. We will scurry and pause. We will rough waters conquest. Relearn on relying wait. We will scurry on relieving. We will worry with cause. Hang a tired allegiance to the woe hanging were times. Hang a tired relieving reliving remembrance to the hand upon head hanging hold of the were times. Hurried with wars. We will hurry of cause. We will cause this remembrance. We are taught with remembrance. Load within told. Remembrance pastimes. Scurry and vacate.


Loose hang the load upon head. Loose hang the head lest the high weight of load hang the hand within were times. And release waters load. Loose hang the hand lest the low weight of woo waits the waters in tow. And a fine weight of remembrance persevering relying in upon told. And a tired weight of remembrance hanging down upon head.In a loose hanging hand held the world. Hang with the hold. And a sigh of persuasion. Resulting in sewerage. Win the weight of the world. Win relate on remembrance. Win relate on in hand. Hand held the weight. Weight relate on the obverse side in upon head. Weight relate to the in upon world. Oh the world within pause. Wait a sudden wail of worry. Were on our own. And a teeth-clenching fool. Who held the hand in the wound on the walls? And a hand held the whom? Relief takes a laugh to the in on him days. A fine feel of friendly open pastures. Time takes a loose leaving shadow vagueness. Relieve autumn moans. Relive watered tones. And a time training perfume article shuttered. Too many people now will struggle in vagueness. The release form of friendly openness. And a time taken in were times. Back in the day.Hand in the were times. When a wee fortune falls. And a fortunate rest lie awake smiling untoward. Upturned and in shadows. Turned him in vague. We will speak onto shade. Hand a sigh of relief. In a peaceful relief gleam and purposeful toad.


“The second is an instrumental folkish thing that devolves into a battle between squids wearing black rubber raincoats.

“The third track is sung and perhaps the most “normal” moment here, with a meandering songlike structure and more compulsive verbiage.

For the b-side of the album I finally emerged, and crossed town from Mt Vic to Aro Valley.

Simon O’Rorke

Simon O’Rorkeplayed percussion on Revenge of the Smur – a xenochronous layering of three separate long improvisations, and a spoken word narrative. At 23mins it’s one of the longest tracks I’ve made to date.


“The fourth and final is almost 24 minutes of narration, swooping bass notes walking through the darkness, clattering spastic percussion, as the words seem to merge film noir dialog with surreal beat poetic train of consciousness.” – George Parsons, Dream Magazine #5

Further listening

The Marion Flow (part 2, Wellington)

Electric and acoustic songs, spoken word and instrumentals – an almost-recognised New Zealand classic, by Dave Edwards with Chris O’Connor, Paul Winstanley, Simon O’Rorke, Chris Palmer, Joe Callwood, and Dean Brown (2001)

It’s lo-fi, organic and about as eclectic as one could manage. Kind of reminds me of Nick Cave if he had grown up in Timaru. No pretentious American accents or catch phrase choruses, just a bunch of people making music. A little beauty!” – NZ Musician, August/September 2002

in the non-idiomatic idiom in Norway (part 1)

Free (in both senses) jazz from Wellington, by Dave Edwards and Simon O’Rorke with Paul Winstanley, Jeff Henderson, Blair Latham, Daniel Beban, Bridget Kelly (1999)

Loose Autumn Moans

Semi-acoustic songs with string section, recorded on all-analogue equipment, by Dave Edwards, with Sam Prebble, Mike Kingston, and Simon Sweetman (2003)

Gleefully Unknown: 1997-2005

vol1 – songs, spoken word and improvisations from the early phase of my gloriously unsuccessful career, by Dave Black with The Winter, Ascension Band,plus Chris O’Connor, Paul Winstanley, Simon O’Rorke, Chris Palmer, Sam Prebble, Francesca Mountfort and more

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.” The Broken Face

or slightly more recently, once I’d had a bit more practice on the bass

in the non-idiomatic idiom in Norway (part 2)

Free (in both senses) jazz from Wellington, Aotearoa, by Dave Edwards and Simon O’Rorke with Blair Latham, Chris Prosser, Julie Bevan, and Michael Hall (2014)

The Electricka Zoo

The duo of live electronica by the Digitator, and Dave Black on bass and electric guitar (2017)

[send us your review]

13 thoughts on “Mantis Shaped and Worrying

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s