2006 | Reviewed by Simon Sweetman
“After Maths & Sciences was recorded by Dave Black (some may know him as David A. Edwards, and if you don’t, then check his website, or the compilation of earlier recordings,Gleefully Unknown 1997-2005) in two parts: From May-July of 2005 in Melbourne, during the winter….
“…And then from December of last year to January of 2006 in New South Wales; summer.”
I performed at Liquid Architecture Festival in Brisbane, and at Lines of Flight in Dunedin. The second video is my live performance of Hot Weather (free mp3) at the Lines of Flight Festival in Dunedin, New Zealand 2006.]
“The album is a travel-document; a response to relocation, a series of sound-sketches and sonic-manipulations designed to confront (and possibly unhinge) the listener; a reflection of several journeys – an aural diary of events from time spent in Australia, evoking the mood of the place (geographically) and the mood of the time (politically).San Shimla’s occasional guitar, Francesca Mountfort’s cello and Cylvi Manthyng’s percussion and shakuhachi (a Japanese woodwind) support Dave Black.
“As Dave Edwards he has explored fuzzy-punk, free-jazz, spoken word, alternative-folk and demented pop, primarily using guitar, harmonica and voice; sometimes with a band or a backing cast at least – often as a solo artist(e). Here, as Dave Black, the palette is broadened: banjo, drums and the use of a laptop computer (triggering sounds via Fruityloops, Audacity and Audition programs) add extra textures. During 2005 Edwards studied journalism, his use of dictaphone and laptop on this recording see him reaching outside of music for influences to use in new contexts.
“The collages that form the pieces on After Maths & Sciences are modern-day field recordings, contemporary anxieties are explored (a typically frank Australian is overheard at a train station lamenting public transport in the wake of the London bombings). The juxtaposition of banjo (an instrument prominent in the work of Doc Boggs, Earl Scruggs and many of the earliest artists featured on the iconic U.S. Library Of Congress field recordings made by Alan Lomax and Harry Smith) helps to recontextualise the snapshots of modern-day Australia. And the name that Edwards has chosen, Dave Black, as well as having relevance within his family history, becomes a nice reference to the passing of The Man In Black (Johnny Cash) and various (possibly mythic) country-playing banjo pickers. For this is “country” music, though perhaps not as we know it. Birdsong, despite computer filtering, sits pure alongside the country’s archaic (near-redneck) political views. Abrasive bursts of white-noise are channelled via a throbbing electro pulse (Kraftwerk goes on safari sabbatical?).
“There are New Zealand artists working in this medium (Montano, Seht, Audible 3) combining concrete poetry, field recordings, found-sounds and electro-acoustic manipulations to sit as aural wallpaper, but Dave Black’s debut release (and a re-birth, if you like, for David Edwards) is an actual document – as much a post-modern piece of Performance Journalism as it is a static batch of “songs” or tracks, After Maths & Sciences is a pleasing challenge of an album. It lives up to the cliché of presenting something new with each listen,”- Simon Sweetman
I’ve revisited Australia on occasion (pre-pandemic);
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