Taranaki

1999

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At the close of the 90s, aged 20, I left New Plymouth, the large rural town in Taranaki province, where I grew up.

I moved to Wellington, New Zealand’s capital city, where I’d been born and where my 19th century pakeha settler ancestors had lived.

My second album, The Marion Flow reflected this journey. It showed a musical and lyrical evolution beyond my debut Scratched Surface.

(part 1, Taranaki).

The Marion Flow

Electric and acoustic songs, spoken word and instrumentals – an almost-recognised New Zealand classic (19992001)

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

Paul Winstanley, recording The Marion Flow (1999)

Paul Winstanley played bass on and engineered the recording sessions, which were hosted by Brian Wafer.

The “hit single” Banana Wizard was released on a compilation of Taranaki music and had some student radio airplay around the country… about the extent of my commercial success to date.

I was also opening my ears and mind to more experimental sounds, and moving beyond conventional pop song structures.

At the same sessions we recorded free improvisations, which Paul later overdubbed and rearranged into

dAdApApA: Waiting for the Drummer

Taranaki improvised rock/noise deconstruction with sputtering synth, air-sucking turntables, didgeridoo and sundry toys providing layers of surreal abstraction (1999)

“after recording tracks for The Marion Flow at Wafer HQ in New Plymouth, an ad hoc group of associated locals assembled to record… the only rock references here come from the guitars… 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” – Eden Gully

& then I got to the capital city, and was suddenly a small fish in a bigger pond…

Part 2, Wellington

Dave Edwards, at Bar Bodega, Wellington NZ, 1999

Here’s what I sounded like around the time I arrived in Wellington – this solo postpunk set at Bar Bodega, opening for Chris Knox, was preserved (in lo-fi, a 90s aesthetic):

Live 1999

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But apart from songs I also fell under the influence of the burgeoning avant garde and free improv scene in Wellington.

This was centred around a venue called the Space (later Fred’s and then the Pyramid Club)… the dissonant flipside of the more popular smooth Pasifika/jazz sound the city became known for (Fat Freddy’s Drop et al).

Although way out of my depth technically, I met up with improvising percussionist Simon O’Rorke, and jazz-trained players including Blair Latham and Jeff Henderson to make

in the non-idiomatic idiom in Norway

Free (in both senses) jazz from Wellington, Aotearoa (1999)

[send us your review]

Click here for more detail on the free improv scene in New Zealand

The Wellington jazz sound informed the second half of The Marion Flow, recorded over the next two years

Further Listening

For an overview of my early period, try

1997-2005

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The Electricka Zoo – new tracks, late 2019

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Here’s a pair of new (late 2019) tracks from The Electricka Zoo

Keyboards & electronica by the Digitator

& Dave Black on electric guitar

in Upper Hutt, New Zealand, November 2019

the Electricka Zoo, 2017

Get our album if you haven’t already!

 

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

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The Marion Flow, March 2019

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Since last year I’ve been getting back into playing solo acoustic. Here’s a 6 March 2019 version of ‘the Marion Flow‘:

Originally recorded in New Plymouth in 1999, it became the title track of my second album.

The 1999 recording had quite a different vibe – spoken word delivery, electric guitars panned left & right, and Paul Winstanley playing a cymbal through a pitch shifter, turning it into a deep sea gong sound.

On other occasions it became a rock riff, based around just an E note and its octave.

I was surrounded by wider & weirder music too. I moved to Wellington and found a  kiwi avant-garde scene with free jazz, noise, and theatre gallore. We eventually finished The Marion Flow album in 2001, after recording sessions at Thistle Hall.

The lyrics are some of my favourite. They were scribbled in a notebook sometime in the late 90s. I was digesting the influence of literary modernism (eg lines like ‘yea take in that wake’ a shout out to James Joyce, using nouns as verbs and vice versa, and other general flouting of grammatical rules).

Taranaki and its coastlines inspired much of the atmosphere.

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the Electricka Zoo album

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We’re happy to announce the release of the Electricka Zoo‘s first (self-titled) album.

The duo of Dave Black & the Digitator, The Electricka Zoo combine influences from EDM and post-punk avant-garde rock to jazz, reggae, Balkan and Portuguese music. Their self-titled debut album features 8 original tunes by the bass/guitar and electronica duo wrapped in colourful mandala artwork by Lucie Hannon.

Thanks everyone who came to the launch gig at the Pyramid Club !

 

The Digitator

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The Digitator: New Zealand Producer, Songwriter, Vocalist, Drummer, Synth Driver, Live Looping Musician.

A fellow traveller from Taranaki, New Zealand, who formed The Electricka Zoo in late 2015 with Dave Black.
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The Electricka Zoo

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http://www.fiffdimension.com/the-electricka-zoo

IMG_20160102_154834This duo from Taranaki formed in late 2015 following an extended 15 year incubatory period. Roots in rock and electronica, The Electricka Zoo will leave you wondering if you should dance along, close your eyes, or just scratch your head in wonder how two people can produce such a wall of sound.

Our first release is available now on vinyl!

http://heavyspacerecords.blogspot.co.nz/2016/03/23-electricka-zoombadger-sett-split-7.html?m=1

Scratched Surface

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“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!

dAdApApA: Waiting for the Drummer

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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

Gleefully Unknown: 1997-2005

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“Whilst shopping from fiffdimension make sure to get hold of ‘Gleefully Unknown’, a best-of compilation of Dave Edwards’ music from 1997 to 2005.   Rough outsider folk-blues mysteries, dissonant rock textures, electric and acoustic improvisations…

“Edwards strikes me as one of the most overlooked musicians from the fertile lands of New Zealand and if you need a fresh start this might very well be the place.” – Mats Gustafsson, The Broken Face

Now available from Spotify, Bandcamp etc

A compilation of songs, spoken word and instrumentals from the first half of my gloriously unsuccessful career to date:

by Dave Edwards (acoustic & electric guitars, harmonica, bass, banjo, vocal)

with

Mike Kingston (cello, acoustic guitar),

Paul Winstanley (fretless bass, turntables),

Simon Sweetman (percussion),

Nigel Patterson (hammond organ),

Cylvi M (percussion),

Simon O’Rorke (percussion),

Francesca Mountfort (cello),

Jeff Henderson (clarinet),

Blair Latham (alto sax),

Sam Prebble (violin, percussion),

Chris Palmer (electric guitar),

Chris O’Connor (drums),

Antony Milton (violin, keyboards),

Frey (laptop),

Dean Brown (drums)

and more…

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Featuring tracks from the albums

Scratched Surface (1997-1998)

in the non-idiomatic idiom in Norway (1999/2014)

The Marion Flow (1999-2001)

Mantis Shaped and Worrying (2002)

The Winter: Parataxes (2003)

Loose Autumn Moans (2003)

Live 2004 (2004)

After Maths & Sciences (2005-2006)

… if you enjoy this, try the sequels Fame & Oblivion: 2005-2012 and Other Islands: 2012-2018