Dave Edwards dictaphone cassette recordings 2004, for spoken word and improvised guitar – a trip down a road not taken for New Zealand music.
These tracks were primitively recorded, not just obscure but completely unheard by anyone else, and seemed like raw unfinished demos at the time – but in hindsight may be the culmination of my 1997-2005 early period (a fusion of original songs, spoken word and free improv).
By 2004 my style was wordy, dense with allusions, and deliberately flouted not only verse/chorus structures but grammatical convention in parts; the influences here were literary modernists as much as music – eg Joyce, Beckett, Burroughs, Pynchon,Dylan (Thomas), and New Zealand poets James K Baxter, Alan Brunton and Hone Tuwhare. I was a postgrad journalism student that year, so partly it was spare time relief from the constraints of non-fiction writing.
The album is rounded out by an abrasive noise guitar, dictaphone and electric razor performance at the Bomb the Space Festival (the youtube clip is one of my few music videos to have over a thousand views… go figure),
The album is structured as a progression from summer (with a NZ pohutukawa tree in flower on the cover) through autumn – a time of harvest, preparation, shortening daylight, and the shedding of old dead layers – and finishes with an extended live version of ‘O Henry Ending’, recorded at the Winter’s first gig.
The original C60 cassette (and later online) release included solo interludes recorded in 2002. The collaboration with these guys followed on from
“A strange sonic brew that includes dissonant rock textures, rough outsider folk-blues mysteries, electric and acoustic improvisations and a considerable part of tasty feedback. Imagine equal parts Derek Bailey, New Zealand’s Pumice and classic ’60s blues/folk and you’re in the right ballpark.” – The Broken Face
In 2002, a year whose digits are an anagram of this one’s, I was living in Wellington (New Zealand’s capital, and my birthplace), looking for a way to follow up the almost-success of The Marion Flow (part 2).
But I was moving further away from conventional 3min song formats into the avant-garde.
This is the second largely solo album I made in 2002.
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 cassette recorder.The results rapidly put an end to my promising New Zealand music career!
In 2002, a year whose digits are an anagram of this one’s, I locked myself in my room for a month of self-isolation.
“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
By the time the opportunity arose to finish recording the Marion Flow I’d been thoroughly immersed in the Wellington free jazz and avant-garde music scene, and was very fortunate to have help from some of the top players there. I’d never studied music at school or been in a conventional band, and was out of my depth technically… so working around my limitations became a spark to creativity.
In 1999, aged 20, I’d left New Plymouth, a large rural town, where I grew up, and moved to Wellington, New Zealand’s capital city, where I’d been born and where my early pakeha settler ancestors had lived in the 19th century. The Marion Flow reflects this journey, geographically, sonically and spiritually.
I’ve now reissued the two halves of the album separately – to emphasise the sense of time and place, and stylistic evolution, and to re-present them more concisely for the short-attention-span 21st century.
“Edwards’ music is often a sculpture rather than a melodic composition. Within this chosen form, amongst all the writings rantings & poetry there’s much difficult pleasure to be had for the musically adventurous.” – Brent Cardy, Real Groove, July 2002
I wrote this in 1999, after moving to Wellington. I was at an open mic night, at an upstairs bar in Cuba Mall that no longer exists, waiting for my turn to play. I had to wait a while – hence a lot of lyrics.