About

fiffdimension is an umbrella label for audiovisual projects by Dave Edwards (aka Dave Black), solo or with various collaborators.  It was originally a nickname from high school.

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.

Dave at Mt Taranaki, NZ

1997-2005

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.

I self-released my first album Scratched Surface on CDR in 1998.

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From these folk/punk beginnings I moved to Wellington, New Zealand’s capital, in 1999. My style continued to evolve into the more complex/impressionistic/visionary approach of The Marion Flow, Mantis Shaped and Worrying, and Loose Autumn Moans.

The Marion Flow

Electric and acoustic songs, spoken word and instrumentals – an almost-recognised New Zealand classic (19992001)

The difficult third album, an idiosyncratic spoken word + instrumental voyage into inner space (2002)

Loose Autumn Moans

Semi-acoustic songs with string section, recorded on all-analogue equipment (2003)

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.

Gleefully Unknown: 1997-2005

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I’d already been influenced by the Wellington free improv scene around venues such as the Space, and Happy (later Fred’s, and the Pyramid Club), and tried my hand at working with jazz musicians.

in the non-idiomatic idiom in Norway

Free (in both senses) jazz from Wellington, Aotearoa (1999/2014)

[send us your review]

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.

2005 got off to a good start, with Ascension Band: Evolution

The successful collaboration with Nigel Patterson, Ryan Prebble, and over a dozen other musicians, from jazz-schooled to untrained punks, won the best music award in the NZ Fringe Festival.

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2005-2012

Since then I’ve travelled, taken up the banjo, and branched out further, into video-making and ethnomusicology.

and reinvented myself once again as Dave Black.

I use my alter ego Dave Black 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.

From 2005 to 2014 I mostly lived overseas, first in Melbourne, Australia,

After Maths & Sciences

An Australian novel for the ear, recorded in Melbourne VIC and Gosford NSW (2005-2006)

then a year in Nelson, te wai pounamu.

South Island Sessions

Steampunk folktronica from an alternate 19th century (1861/2006)

[send us your review]

then a year and a half in Busan, South Korea,

First Time Around: East Asia

Field recordings, sketches, soundscapes and stories from South Korea, Japan, Thailand, Vietnam, China and Mongolia (2008)

[send us your review]

back to Wellington at the turn of the decade

The Winter: 2011

Acoustic trio improvisations on banjo, ukulele, clarinetpiano, guitar, harmonica and percussion (2011)

before leaving again, for Okinawa, Japan,

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2012-2018

After living in Okinawa, Japan, and travelling in Honshu and Kyushu

ネオン列車の風景 Neon Train Landscapes

Japanese psychedelic rock made by kiwis (2010-15)

[send us your review]

I relocated again to Perth, Western Australia for the next two years

I started playing with the Perth gamelan group, and made two visits to Indonesia) –

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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).

…and in late 2015 I formed a new band the Electricka Zoo with the Digitator… something a little more accessible and electronic, funky, danceable etc than usual for me.

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.

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A new compilation of highlights from these recent works is available

Other Islands: 2012-2018

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2019

…and here’s some of what I’ve been up to so far in 2019.

Along with my own songs, I’m working on adaptations of pieces written by my great-great-grandfather John Collie in Scotland in 1856.


4th May 2019 @ Wairarapa TV May Music Marathon

Collaborators

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…

The bulk of the music is available for free downloads, and I hope you enjoy the ethnomusicological field studies and other assorted adventures shown in the videos.

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!

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One thought on “About

    Andrew Mcewen said:
    10/01/2015 at 2:15 am

    hello,
    found the name of Totara Jack claimed as you ancestor, curious ” who are you, how are you related to him????
    My name is Andrew McEwen, farming in the Manawatu, Totara Jack belongs to my Mums’s family tree, he was my 2nd Great Grandfather, he had a son Thomas Edwards, who also had a son Leonard Edward Edwards, who was my granddad on my mum’s side, her dad.
    Just curious, because seen you got some old photos in your collage, of Totara jack, his son Thomas Edward and his wife Philadelphia Benge, who are some of the others in the photos?? Cheers Andrew

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