Music

1999

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At the close of the 90s, aged 20, I left New Plymouth, the large rural town in Taranaki province, where I grew up.

I moved to Wellington, New Zealand’s capital city, where I’d been born and where my 19th century pakeha settler ancestors had lived.

My second album, The Marion Flow reflected this journey. It showed a musical and lyrical evolution beyond my debut Scratched Surface.

(part 1, Taranaki).

The Marion Flow

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

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

Paul Winstanley, recording The Marion Flow (1999)

Paul Winstanley played bass on and engineered the recording sessions, which were hosted by Brian Wafer.

The “hit single” Banana Wizard was released on a compilation of Taranaki music and got a little bit of radio airplay around the country… about the extent of my commercial success to date.

I was also opening my ears and mind to more experimental sounds, and starting to move beyond conventional pop song structures.

At the same sessions we recorded free improvisations, which Paul later overdubbed and rearranged into

dAdApApA: Waiting for the Drummer

Taranaki improvised rock/noise deconstruction with sputtering synth, air-sucking turntables, didgeridoo and sundry toys providing layers of surreal abstraction (1999)

“after recording tracks for The Marion Flow at Wafer HQ in New Plymouth, an ad hoc group of associated locals assembled to record… the only rock references here come from the guitars… throw in some spoken word and a special guest appearance by N.P. record mogul Brian Wafer on vacuum cleaner and the dAdApApA nova had blazed and fizzled in the blink of an eye” – Eden Gully

& then I got to the capital city, and was suddenly a small fish in a bigger pond…

Part 2, Wellington

Dave Edwards, at Bar Bodega, Wellington NZ, 1999

Here’s what I sounded like around the time I arrived in Wellington – this solo postpunk set at Bar Bodega, opening for Chris Knox, was preserved (in lo-fi, a 90s aesthetic):

Live 1999

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But apart from songs I also fell under the influence of the burgeoning avant garde and free improv scene in Wellington.

It was centred around a venue called the Space (later Fred’s and then the Pyramid Club)… the dissonant flipside of the more popular smooth Pasifika/jazz sound the city became known for (Fat Freddy’s Drop et al).

Although way out of my depth technically, I met up with improvising percussionist Simon O’Rorke, and jazz players including Blair Latham and Jeff Henderson to make

in the non-idiomatic idiom in Norway

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

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Further Listening

Click here for more detail on the free improv scene in New Zealand

The Wellington jazz sound informed the second half of The Marion Flow, recorded over the next two years

For an overview of my early period see

1997-2005

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The Electricka Zoo – new tracks, late 2019

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Here’s a pair of new (late 2019) tracks from The Electricka Zoo

Keyboards & electronica by the Digitator

& Dave Black on electric guitar

in Upper Hutt, New Zealand, November 2019

the Electricka Zoo, 2017

Get our album if you haven’t already!

 

in the non-idiomatic idiom in Norway (part 2, 2014)

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978-1-877448-59-1

A few years ago I wrote a chapter of Jazz Aotearoa, a book about New Zealand jazz music history, discussing the free improvisation and avant-garde jazz scene in Wellington at the turn of the millennium.

in the non-idiomatic idiom in Norway is a collection of improvised instrumental music with some of the musicians in that scene, from the point of view of my own attempts as an untrained outsider to fit in with these advanced jazz players.

with

Simon O’Rorke – synthesisers

Blair Latham – bass clarinet
Julie Bevan – acoustic guitar
Michael Hall – alto sax
Chris Prosser – violin
Dave Edwards – bass, electronics, tenor sax (8)

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Spotify playlist – fiffdimension & friends

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Here’s my first Spotify playlist… a mix of my own tracks and by other artists who I’ve had the privilege to meet and be inspired by, in several cases played gigs alongside and/or collaborated with.

Thank you all for the journey! And some great music here.

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The Marion Flow (part 1, Taranaki 1999)

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A pre-millennial fusion of warm acoustic pop, spoken word and postpunk discord.. An almost-acknowledged New Zealand classic from Taranaki – of its time (the ’90s!) yet timeless.

Produced by Paul Winstanley, & featuring Steve Duffels, the Digitator, the Dadapapa Magickclone Orchestra and more. Recorded at the TFC Lounge, New Plymouth, 1999 – with special thanks to Brian Wafer.

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 1999, aged 20, I left New Plymouth, a large rural town, where I grew up, and moved to Wellington, New Zealand’s capital city, where I was born. The Marion Flow reflects this journey, geographically, sonically and spiritually.

The Marion Flow was originally a longer album spanning recordings from New Plymouth in 1999 and Wellington in 2001. I’ve now reissued the two halves separately – to emphasise the sense of time and place, and stylistic evolution, and to re-present each more concisely for the short-attention-span 21st century.

This page is for the 1999 New Plymouth sessions;

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Further listening

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with Snake Beings in Fiji

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www.snakebeings.co.nz

Dr  Emit Snake Beings  is a travelling artist/musician/filmmaker/shaman/academic who was an early influence on my music.

Most recently we’ve met up in Fiji and recorded a couple of new pieces which you’ll be able to hear soon.

Snake Beings and Dave Black in Fiji

A new sound for 2020 perhaps?

In the meantime have a listen to the ‘Ngumbang‘ album we made together in 2015 – a fusion of several genres and a DIY manifesto – “Pick up the pieces and make them into something new, it’s what we do…”

We also made a new Indonesia-inspired electro-acoustic track for Other Islands 2012-2018:

And Other Islands 2012-2018 concluded with a Fijian folk song, inspired by my earlier visits to Fiji in 2016 and 2018

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