Scratched Surface 20th anniversary

“Worth searching out coz this lo-fi singer/songwriter oddball has a unique take on the genre. He’s pissed off, a tad fucked up (as usual), but not full of lugubrious self-pity (as unusual) and is happy to get raucous & obnoxious in just the right kinda way.”Chris Knox

In December 1998 I self-released my debut album . Scratched Surface was a teenage no-budget lo-fi postpunk pakeha singer-songwriter album from the Taranaki, Aotearoa underground, recorded on analogue reel-to-reel tape.

I burned it on CDR and sent out copies to anyone who would listen. It was the opening salvo in a recording career that’s gone on for over 20 years now, occasionally dismissed, largely ignored, gloriously unsuccessful. A career nonetheless; I’ve made an album most years since.

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20 years on I’m still creating – here’s some of what I’ve done more recently:

Continue reading “Scratched Surface 20th anniversary”

Scratched Surface

“Worth searching out coz this lo-fi singer/songwriter oddball has a unique take on the genre. He’s pissed off, a tad fucked up (as usual), but not full of lugubrious self-pity (as unusual) and is happy to get raucous & obnoxious in just the right kinda way.”Chris Knox

The debut album from fiffdimension – a genuine 1990s teenage no-budget lo-fi post-punk singer-songwriter artifact from the Taranaki, New Zealand underground, recorded on analogue reel-to-reel tape.

Online reissue includes download-only bonus tracks and previously unreleased material.

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From these folk/punk beginnings my style evolved into the more complex/impressionistic/visionary approach of The Marion Flow, Mantis Shaped and Worrying, and Loose Autumn MoansThese combined songwriting with an interest in free jazz and poetic modernism that sunk my commercial chances.  I stopped writing words entirely with The Winter and Ascension Band, and eventually lived abroad in Australia and Asia and reinvented myself again as Dave Black.

As of 2015 I’m back in NZ where my latest project is Ngumbang, which comes full circle – weaving together these various strands, in collaboration with Emit Snake-Beings who was one of my early influences!

in the non-idiomatic idiom in Norway (part 1, 1999)

978-1-877448-59-1A 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 Simon O'Rorkeinstrumental 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 – including Jeff Henderson, Blair Latham , Paul Winstanley, Dan Beban, Julie Bevan and more.

It was recorded in Wellington in two halves, in 1999

Simon O’Rorke – percussion

Paul Winstanley – synth bass
Blair Latham – alto sax
Jeff Henderson – clarinet
Bridget Kelly – tenor sax
Dan Beban – electric guitar
Dave Edwards – electric and acoustic guitars

and 2014, to show an evolution.

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

Free improvisation is a genre of music with a self-explanatory name.  Nothing is planned in advance, and the performers create the music on the spot by responding to what the others are doing in that moment. Continue reading “in the non-idiomatic idiom in Norway (part 1, 1999)”

dAdApApA: Waiting for the Drummer

A companion to The Marion Flowrecorded in 1999 by the same lineup who provided that album’s longest (and least conventionally song-based track, pointing the way towards the increasingly radio-unfriendly Mantis Shaped and Worrying), “Lucifer Directing Traffic (at 3AM)”

Recording engineer Paul Winstanley, head of the excellent, now San Francisco-based avant-garde music label Eden Gully recalls it thus:

“after recording tracks for The Marion Flow at Wafer HQ in New Plymouth an ad hoc group of associated locals assembled to record for several sessions of improvised rock/noise deconstruction. really, the only rock references here come from the guitars, with the sputtering synth, air-sucking turntables, didgeridoo and sundry toys providing layers of surreal abstraction. 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.

“it wasn’t until several years later after the master mixes had been lost, partially recovered and then rediscovered intact again that “Waiting for the Drummer’ was given a final mastering and released as a CDR on EdenGully. it’s been a long strange journey…..”

credits

released 01 August 2006 on Eden Gully as EG15

Fiff Dimension Dave – guitars, spoken word and furbie / Speed Cook – turntables and recording / Pal Diddly – synth and pithy observations / The Digitator – guitar, didgeridoo / BWafer – vacuum cleaner and coffees

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