Frey

Ascension Band 2004

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The post-punk big band Ascension Band convened in 2003-2005… here’s the 2004 lineup performing at the Meatwaters Festival at Happy in Wellington.

Nigel Patterson – hammond organ & conductor
Dave Edwards – guitar & electronics
Mike Kingston – guitar
Jesse Toews – bass
Warwick Donald – bass
Antony Milton – violin & electronics
Damian Stewart – laptop
Jason Secto – cornet
Simon O’Rorke – percussion
Myles Climo – drums

The following year we won best music award in the 2005 Wellington Fringe Festival

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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South Island Sessions

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1861 revisited – my first pakeha (European) ancestors, Totara Jack and Mary, arrived in the South Island of New Zealand on board the Olympus and settled in Nelson.

John ‘Totara Jack’ Edwards

When I lived nearby a century and a half later,

I found the address where they’d lived, just below a spot on a hill that marks the geographical centre of NZ.  To the north is Tasman Bay, and south are the foothills of the Southern Alps.

I jammed with South Island musicians; studied at the Nelson School of Music; played in Hokitika, Greymouth, Westport, Nelson, Blenheim, Lyttelton and Dunedin (as well as Brisbane, Australia); and recorded the sound of tui and makomako (native birds) in Nelson Lakes National Park.

Music by:

Dave Black – acoustic guitar, banjo, drums, harmonica, laptop, field recordings, tenor sax, and vocals

Cylvi Manthyng –  vocals & phat beatz

Hayden Gifkins / Matt Thornicroft – electric guitars

Frey – no-input mixing desk

Haz / Cookie – drums

1 Eats Beats Roots Sleeps (B(W)FD) (warning:explicit) free download 3:20
2 The Only Ones Who Know the Earth’s Worth free download 3:25
3 Lake Rotoiti to Fox Glacier free download 6:35
4 gridget k free download 3:52
5 End of Daylight Savings free download 5:15
6 Bandit Joe on a scraded gat (west coast highway in digital Junefree download 4:36
7 The Ballad of William Knife free download 4:59

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