New Zealand music

Top 10 albums*

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by Dave Edwards (aka Dave Black) and collaborators,

202120202010s 2000s 1990s 1850s

#1 Other Islands: 2012-2018

Gamelan Taniwha Jaya at Te Papa, Wellington, 2016

Compilation made in New Zealand, Okinawa, Western AustraliaIndonesia and Fiji,,

by Dave Black with The Winter, The Electricka Zoo, Dr Emit Snake-Beings, Nat da Hatt, Campbell Kneale, Gamelan Sekar Puri, Gamelan Padhang Moncar, and Gamelan Taniwha Jaya

“The 20 song album covers traditional Javanese and Balinese gamelan, AsiaPacific folk music, free jazz, and free noise…. If you have an open inquiring mind and love hearing a variety of sound, this is excellent. – Darryl Baser, muzic.net.nz

#2: Fame & Oblivion: 2005-2012

Taking a Korean gayageum lesson, 2007

vol2 – made in New Zealand, Australia, South Korea, Thailand, Mongolia, and Japan,

by Dave Black with Ascension Band, The Winter, Nat da Hatt, Wellington’s Most Famous Orchestra, and Cylvi M

“Experimental and avant-garde…. There is a clear passion, and a commitment to pushing the boundaries… This will challenge your perceptions of what constitutes music and open the mind to new possibilities of sounds that surround us – muzic.net.nz

#3 The Electricka Zoo (2017)

The duo of live electronica by the Digitator, and Dave Black on bass and electric guitar (2017)

The Electricka Zoo, 2017

“A totally original, mind warping album that smacks you across the face with big sound…. I salute anyone that makes a whole album out of EDM post-punk avant-garde rock / jazz, reggae, Balkan, [and] Portuguese music” – Corrinne Rutherford, www.muzic.net.nz

# 4 Ngumbang (2015)

Dave Black & Snake Beings

Our first collaboration with the even more legendary & underground artist Dr Emit Snake Beings (2015)

[send us your review]

# 5 After the Filmshoot (2002)

Dave Edwards solo postpunk spoken word free improv guitar spasms (2002)

[send us your review]

#6 Live 1999

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PSI​-​SOLATION + 1 (one year on)

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PSI-SOLATION | a global compilation of music made in lockdown | CELEBRATE PSI PHENOMENON (bandcamp.com)

2021 compilation album curated by Campbell Kneale. He’s known for his noise music, paintings of cats, and as proprietor of the Miracle Room gallery in Featherston.

A sequel to his acclaimed 119-track Psi-solation compilation of music made in lockdown 2020.

Both albums are pay what you want via Campbell’s label, Celebrate Psi Phenomenon.

I contributed a new Dave Black piece, Outono 21.

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Farewell to Thee, Charming Deceiver

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A 19th century unrequited love ballad – how anachronistic in the 2020s?

John Collie (1834-1893) – lyrics

Dave Edwardsbanjo, harmonica, vocal

lyrics

FAREWELL to thee , charming deceiver , No more will I crouch at thy gate ; I once was an earnest believer , And my folly I see when too late .

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Spastic Rhythms vol1

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A quickfire Dave Black solo EP, recorded one summer morning, 24 January 2021

[send us your review]

It adds banjo and electric drums to the 2020s Wairarapa DIY solo electric improv style begun in

Glimpses of Utopia (2020)

Articulation Incommunicate (2004)

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Previously unreleased! 

Dave Edwards dictaphone cassette recordings 2004, for spoken word and improvised guitar – a trip down a road not taken for New Zealand music.

Bomb the Space Festival, Wellington NZ, 2004

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.

My guitar heroes included British free improviser Derek Bailey and my Mississippi bluesman namesake David ‘Honeyboy’ Edwards – and fellow explorers in the New Zealand underground music scene.

Wellington, New Zealand

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),

and a pair of free improvisations, with percussionists Simon O’Rorke and Simon Sweetman, and Korean bassist Youjae Lee.

Next, needing a change of scenery, having pushed the singer/songwriter envelope as far as I could, and following some last ensemble collaborations with Ascension Band,

and The Winter

the next year I left the country on my OE and took a different approach again….

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Ruasagavulu

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Ruasagavulu‘ (made in Fiji

by Dave Black & Dr Emit Snake-Beings)

is now a free/name-your-price download – enjoy!

Thanks for your interest, and happy Matariki if you’re in NZ…

“So easy to get totally lost in this music, recommend for helping with your inner peace” – Andi Verse

Indo-Fijian inspired tropical devotional avant-garde instrumentals for keyboards, ukulele, dholak, duduk, harmonicas, DIY kitchen gamelan, and video.

 

Snake Beings & Dave Black in Fiji

This was one of the last in-person international collaborations from before the world ended… it’s got nothing to do with the pandemic.

It was recorded in Suva, Fiji, 2nd and 4th of November 2019.

The title ‘ruasagavulu’ means ‘twenty’ in Fijian, to kick off the new decade optimistically.

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Further listening

Our first duo recording wasNgumbang‘  (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…”

Read the rest of this entry »

Ruasagavulu

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Out now – the new album

by Dave Black & Dr Emit Snake-Beings

Made in Fiji

“So easy to get totally lost in this music, recommend for helping with your inner peace” – Andi Verse

Indo-Fijian inspired tropical devotional avant-garde instrumentals for keyboards, ukulele, dholak, duduk, harmonicas, DIY kitchen gamelan, and video.

 

Snake Beings & Dave Black in Fiji

This was one of the last in-person international collaborations from before the world ended… it’s got nothing to do with the pandemic.

It was recorded in Suva, Fiji, 2nd and 4th of November 2019.

The title ‘ruasagavulu’ means ‘twenty’ in Fijian, to kick off the new decade optimistically.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Further listening

Our first duo recording wasNgumbang‘  (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…”

Read the rest of this entry »

Gar mar par da nee sa

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the opening track from Ruasagavulu

by Dave Black & Snake-Beings

recorded in Suva, Fiji, 2nd November 2019

Snake Beings and Dave Black in Fiji

This short warmup improv is based on an Indian scale, inspired by Dr Emit Snake-Beings‘ travels to Kerala in India, and harmonium lessons in Suva.

There’s an Indian influence throughout the album, as several sections are based on drones and modal improv (rather than the chord changes)… though this is not a traditional Indian album, we’ve borrowed ideas to inform our own experiments.

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The temple in the photo is Sri Siva Subramaniya in Nadi. It’s built in the Dravidian style from southern India, which is also found in Singapore and Malaysia.

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In contrast to other Pacific Island countries, Fiji has a large – almost half – population of Indian descent. Indians came to Fiji in the 19th century, as indentured labourers to work the sugar cane plantations.

The following videos are made in India, courtesy of www.snakebeings.co.nz

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2002: self-isolation before it was cool?

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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!

Wellington, New Zealand

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 had nothing to do with a pandemic!

Kia kaha Aotearoa…

It was just me living in Wellington and looking for a way to follow up The Marion Flow (part 2).

I was moving further away from conventional 3min song formats into the avant-garde. Read the rest of this entry »

Fiji 1976, by Alastair Edwards

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Film footage by my father, Alastair Edwards, in Nadi and around Viti Levu in 1976.

It’s from a couple of years before I was born.

There was no sound, so I’ve added a soundtrack from Ruasagavulu, which Dr Emit Snake-Beings and I recorded in Suva decades later.

My Dad’s interest in film (then video) and photography was one of the key influences on my own travel and videomaking. He was doing this long before youtube or instagram!

I miss you Dad…