spoken word

Scotland, postponed

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John Collie (1834-1893)

Around this time (September 2020) I’d planned to travel to Scotland, on my first visit. There was to be a family gathering for my sister’s wedding in Edinburgh.

The trip’s now postponed indefinitely, for obvious reasons

The idea was to visit Boyndie, Banffshire, where my great-great-grandfather John Collie grew up.

In 1856, in his early 20s he published a book : Poems and Lyrics (in the English and Scotch Dialects).

I‘ve started setting some of it to music.

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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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After the filmshoot (2002)

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Dave Edwards solo cassette tracks, in Wellington NZ, 2002.

Wellington, New Zealand

 

Hey so the new (2020) album Ruasagavulu is out!

(go there, like, share etc)…

 

& in the meantime, until the next new project, here’s one from the vault:

 
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In 2002, a year whose digits are an anagram of this one’s,  I was living in Wellington (New Zealand’s capital, and my birthplace), looking for a way to follow up the almost-success of The Marion Flow (part 2).

But I was moving further away from conventional 3min song formats into the avant-garde.

This is the second largely solo album I made in 2002.

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Solitude

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Written in 1856, but timely perhaps?

This poem is the first of 44 pieces in the book Poems & Lyric by John Collie.

It was written by my great-great-grandfather in Scotland. 164 years later, living in 21st century coronavirus lockdown NZ, we’ve all had to bring back solitude. Creating music’s become a solitary pursuit again (or else a virtual one). Adapting this poem gave the chance for a 12-minute acoustic epic whose time had come (again).

lyrics

OH give me near some swelling stream to stray, 0r tread the windings of some pathless wood, For I am wearied of the bustling day, And long to meet thee, gloomy Solitude: That I with thee may climb those shelfy steeps, Which frown majestic o’er the boiling deeps. Read the rest of this entry »

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 »

The Marion Flow (part 2, Wellington 2001)

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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

The Marion Flow was originally a longer album which spanned recordings from New Plymouth in 1999 and Wellington in 2001.

This page is for the 2001 Wellington recordings: produced by Paul Winstanley, & featuring Chris O’Connor (drums), Chris Palmer (electric guitars), Simon O’Rorke (percussion), and more. Recorded at Thistle Hall, Wellington, 2001, and mixed by Joe Callwood.

For the earlier 1999 New Plymouth sessions see The Marion Flow (part 1, Taranaki);
By the time the opportunity arose to finish recording the Marion Flow I’d been thoroughly immersed in the Wellington free jazz and avant-garde music scene, and was very fortunate to have help from some of the top players there. I’d never studied music at school or been in a conventional band, and was out of my depth technically… so working around my limitations became a spark to creativity.

Edwards’ music is often a sculpture rather than a melodic composition. Within this chosen form, amongst all the writings rantings & poetry there’s much difficult pleasure to be had for the musically adventurous.” – Brent Cardy, Real Groove, July 2002

In 1999, aged 20, I’d left New Plymouth, a large rural town, where I grew up, and moved to Wellington, New Zealand’s capital city, where I’d been born and where my early pakeha settler ancestors had lived in the 19th century. The Marion Flow reflects this journey, geographically, sonically and spiritually.

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I’ve now reissued the two halves of the album separately – to emphasise the sense of time and place, and stylistic evolution, and to re-present them more concisely for the short-attention-span 21st century.

Further listening

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The Marion Flow (part 1, Taranaki 1999)

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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

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.

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The Marion Flow is 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.

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;

Further listening

Read the rest of this entry »

interview by Nikki King

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Live 2019 includes a post-gig interview with Dave Edwards by Nikki King.

We discussed the origins of fiffdimension (including where the name comes from), 19th century ancestors, life in the Wairarapa, and various projects, collaborators, and influences from New Zealand and abroad.

Nikki is the vocalist and trumpeter for Wairarapa postpunk band Spank, who also performed a set in the Wairarapa TV May Music Marathon that day.

 

A Visit to the Beehive

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A pleasant surprise this week to get a small (single figure) royalty payment from APRA for radio airplay for the shortest track from The Marion Flow, recorded back in 2001!

That goes some way towards recovering the $600 or so I spent recording the album (a lot of money for a broke student back then). I can’t claim it’s a prescient political satire that predicted this week’s news events, but maybe like the album as a whole it’s just timeless…

It’s also, for fans of Wellington avant-garde music, a rare opportunity to hear Simon O’Rorke play a straight rock beat on drums!

The Beehive is the nickname for the Executive Wing of New Zealand’s government building in Wellington .

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 »