avant-garde

the Ballad of William Knife

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Music video from the album ‘South Island Sessions‘, set in 19th century New Zealand with an ecological theme.  ‘The Ballad of William Knife’ was the name of the show we took to the Dunedin Fringe Festival in 2006.

See also the videos for ‘Bandit Joe on a Scraded Gat’ and ‘BFD’

1861 revisited – Read the rest of this entry »

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Ascension Band 2005

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“With elements of punk, post-punk, jazz, classical, straight rock, opera and music hall, the Ascension Band are that rare thing: Something Wholly Other. They retain avant garde cred and still manage to rock harder than AC/DC.” – www.varsity.co.nz 

This riff

by organist/conductor/arranger Nigel Patterson (The Black Seeds, The Manta Rays, Fly My Pretties), guitarist & organiser Dave Edwards (fiffdimension, The Winter), and over a dozen musicians on guitars, basses, drums, electronics, keyboards, trumpets and vocals, was the seed that grew into a full scale electric symphony: Evolution.

“The 50-minute piece of music, broken down into six movements, was performed live over a few nights for the Fringe Festival in 2005; the group taking out the Best Music Award. 

“It was stunning. Discordant guitars were choked, drums clattered and crashed, voices mingled with percussion and keyboards – but this form of free-improvisation had a structure to it. It had movement, it had a plan. It was a great beast of a song that writhed and wriggled and often managed to run downhill, away from the players – in the best possible way. 

“Here, the show has been recorded onto a CD for posterity – and it begs discovery. It’s an intense listen – but that’s to be expected from a group of players who took their name from one of John Coltrane’s toughest listening albums.” – Simon Sweetman

Dave Edwards – electric guitar & electronics
Nigel Patterson – hammond organ & conductor
Will Rattray – electric guitar
Bell Murphy – bass
Warwick Donald – bass
Murray Stewart – keyboards
Damian ‘Frey’ Stewart – laptop
Ryan Prebble – tone generator
Sam Jenks – trumpet
Felicity Perry – vocal
Atushi Iseki – vocal
Matt Baxter – drums
Greta Welson – drums
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The Winter: Exit Points

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Today is the last day of winter in the southern hemisphere – so to celebrate, here’s the fifth album from The Winter – a New Zealand free improvisation trio of Mike Kingston, Simon Sweetman and Dave Edwards… with a sound that swerves from acoustic folk/blues with hints of Asian, Celtic, and Balkan influences, to electroacoustic soundscapes, abstract dissonance, and pots & pans percussion.

Mike Kingston: guitar, bass, clarinet, electronics
Dave Edwards: guitar, bass, banjo, harmonica, ukulele, sanshin, electronics
Simon Sweetman: drums and percussion, electronics

Read the rest of this entry »

Ngumbang

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Out now!! the new collaboration with even more legendary & underground NZ artist Snake Beings.

Ngumbang is the first collaborative album by two of New Zealand’s more unusual artist/musician/filmmaker/ethnomusicologists – performed on guitars, bass, banjo, percussion, saxophones, clarinets, harmonicas, synthesisers, Okinawan sanshin, ukulele, violin, loop pedal, piano, drums and spoken word.  The album was recorded in and near Auckland, New Zealand in 20142015 and includes live performances at Vitamin S and the Audio Foundation.

Emit Snake-Beings, who over several decades has travelled intensively in Spain, Holland, the Middle East, Mexico, America and Japan, is a New Zealand / British experimental filmmaker and musician who has produced over 40 independently released film soundtrack CDs and made a number of short experimental and narrative films in Spain, U.K. and New Zealand. www.snakebeings.co.nz

Dave Black, originally from Taranaki and active since the late 90s on the NZ underground music scene, began by fusing acoustic songs, noisy postpunk, spoken word and avant-garde improvisation – and has diversified further from there. Notable performances include the award-winning 14-piece Ascension Band, appearing as an international artist at the Liquid Architecture Festival in Brisbane, Australia, and teaching a thousand Okinawan school students to perform a haka. www.fiffdimension.com

Dave Black & Snake Beings
Dave Black & Snake Beings

‘Ngumbang’ is Read the rest of this entry »

Dada Songwriting: Rejection dryrot ripple Gombage

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by Uneasy Chairs (USA, guitar) / T4x0n0m13s (España, bass + distortion pedal) / Dave Black (NZ, banjo) / Cylvi Manthyng (NZ, shaker)

 Each contributor created two mins of raw sound – a single track recorded live with no post-processing. After each set of four tracks arrived, they were blindly put together to create each track – as & when they arrived in Corporal Tofulung’s inbox.
The title of the album was created by writing the 40 contributed words on individual pieces of paper & drawing them randomly out of a bucket. Read the rest of this entry »

in the non-idiomatic idiom in Norway

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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 partly recorded in 1999 and partly in 2014, to show an evolution.  An easy way to tell them apart is that Simon O’Rorke played percussion on all the 1999 tracks and synthesiser on all the 2014 ones.

Featuring

Simon O’Rorke – percussion, synthesisers

Paul Winstanley – synth bass
Blair Latham – alto sax, bass clarinet
Jeff Henderson – clarinet
Bridget Kelly – tenor sax
Dan Beban – electric guitar
Julie Bevan – acoustic guitar
Michael Hall – alto sax
Chris Prosser – violin
Dave Edwards – electric and acoustic guitars, bass, electronics, tenor sax
Read the rest of this entry »