Projects may include acoustic songs, spoken word, distorted postpunk, free improvisation, lo fi electronica, Eurasian folk music, 19th century ballads, video installations, or all or none of the above.I was born in Wellington, New Zealand, and 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, and have self-released several albums combining folk, rock, avant-garde, free-improv and spoken word elements. I tend to record as ‘Dave Edwards‘ for the inward-looking singer-songwriter and live improvisation aspects of my music.
From these folk/punk beginnings I moved back to Wellington, New Zealand’s capital, where my style continued to evolve into the more complex/impressionistic/visionary approach of The Marion Flow, Mantis Shaped and Worrying, and Loose Autumn Moans.
These combined songwriting with an interest in free jazz and poetic modernism, which, 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.
Next, finding lyrics harder to write as I got older (and also not wanting to repeat myself or to be pigeonholed), I mostly left the solo singer/songwriter genre and reinvented myself with a more collaborative and mainly instrumental approach in The Winter and Ascension Band.
Since then I’ve travelled, taken up the banjo, and branched out further, into video-making and ethnomusicology. From 2005 to 2014 I mostly lived overseas, first in Melbourne, Australia, then Busan, South Korea, then Okinawa, Japan, then Perth, Australia (with side trips to Indonesia), and reinvented myself once again as Dave Black.
I use my alter ego Dave Black (my mother’s maiden name) for my harder-to-categorise non-linear outward-focussed projects since 2005. These incorporate field recordings and world music influences, and include albums such as After Maths & Sciences, South Island Sessions, First Time Around: East Asia, ネオン列車の風景 Neon Train Landscapes, and Ngumbang.
Since 2015 I’m back in NZ. Recent projects include:
- Ngumbang, which comes full circle, a synthesis of my various styles, in collaboration with Emit Snake-Beings who was one of my early influences;
- East to West, a movie of my travels. I performed as a solo show with a live soundtrack in the NZ Fringe Festival and took it on tour to Invercargill.
- I’ve been doing research into my genealogy (I’m of English, Scottish, Northern Irish, and Azorean Portuguese descent), and found some interesting 19th century ancestors who may inspire future projects (and a European field research trip if I can ever afford it).
- I’m a regular member of the gamelan orchestras Gamelan Padhang Moncar (Javanese style) and Gamelan Taniwha Jaya (Balinese) – a chance to immerse in a traditional music form that has a history going back over 40 years in NZ and centuries in Indonesia.
We first met in high school back in New Plymouth and he played on the Marion Flow and dAdApApA sessions back in 1999. We busked and played a bunch of gigs around Wellington, released our first album in 2017, and performed a successful season in the NZ Fringe Festival in 2018.
Watch this space for whatever’s next…
Most of this music is not just a solo effort. I’ve also worked with a range of talented collaborators including (in no particular order) Mike Kingston (cello, acoustic guitar, charango), Paul Winstanley (fretless bass, turntables), Simon Sweetman (percussion), Nigel Patterson (hammond organ), Cylvi M (percussion), Simon O’Rorke (percussion, synthesiser), Francesca Mountfort (cello), Jeff Henderson (clarinet), Blair Latham (alto sax), Sam Prebble (violin, percussion), Chris Palmer (electric guitar), Chris O’Connor (drums), Antony Milton (violin, keyboards), Frey (laptop), Dean Brown (drums), Nat da Hatt (electric guitar, keyboards), Hayden Gifkins (electric guitar), Ryan Prebble (tone generator), Matthew Thornicroft (electric guitar), Cylvi M (vocal, field recordings, percussion, shakuhachi), Emit Snake-Beings (vocal, percussion, flute, electronics), Blair Latham (bass clarinet), Chris Prosser (violin), Julie Bevan (acoustic guitar), the Digitator (electric drums, keyboards & loops), and more…
This site is an online compendium of music and video projects, currently sprawled across the internet on sites like youtube, last.fm, myspace, reverbnation, jamendo and so on. It’s also interactive – please drop me a line and let me know which parts you’d like to see, hear and read more of. Thanks also for visiting!