20 Jun 2019
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David Edwards - Album Review: Gleefully Unknown 1997 - 2005

25 Feb 2018 // A review by Peter-James Dries

There is the weird and wonderful. And then there is the weird.

Gleefully Unknown, the earliest of three compilations featuring selections from the David Edwards and his collaborators' discography, is the latter.

Actually, there is wonder. I wonder what the game is here. Is it meant to be as enjoyable for the listener as I'm sure it was to perform? I wonder if the anti-fame aesthetic is orchestrated, or the functional impairment that DIY recording brings.

Yes, there is wonderful here, but there is more weird.

At their worst, these selected titles are avant-garde noise, and at their best free-form jams under spoken word pieces. One big stream of consciousness(es), as if Kerouac and some mates sat in a room together thumping their foreheads into typewriters, buckets, tables, instruments, whatever was in front of them really, after hitting record on a 4-Track tape recorder.

The former, I can appreciate there was, and probably still is, a time and a place for. I've felt there needs to be counter-art revolution. Something dissonant in a world where the music industry pumps out the same cookie cutter shit, because that's what gets them Spotify dollars, and the corporations want to get any music money from anywhere in any way they can in this post-piracy wasteland. Free-thinkers not stuck in any genre.

But no one will hear it... Not the people that need to, short of some guerrilla music awards performance, and when they do hear it they won't get it anyway. Such is life. Sometimes music isn't meant to be heard, or enjoyed, or shit. Sometimes you gotta put a dictaphone on fast forward up to a guitar pick up in a room crowded with people who paid to be entertained. This is what you get. This is life. Go tweet about it.

And then the latter, the jamming,  I mean, sure, I get it... I've done it too. Recording jams, cutting them up and arranging them. Listening to them years later.

But I would never release them. Not out of pride or anything, even my best isn't good. It's just I'm the only one with any interest in my jamming. I was only doing it for me. It's hard enough to get people to the music I actually put effort into anyway. And besides, my jams are shit. Noise with a few moments where the world aligns, but mostly shit. If anything they're a reminder to me of how far I've come.

Maybe that's the point here. If no-one is going to listen, you might as well do what you want. Music as art, as opposed to a commodity. Moments of people in a room with synchronised vibes, and the recordings there to remember. Maybe it's better to be consistent, true to yourself, and make a career niche as a prolific noise maker.

Maybe I'm missing the point. Maybe this is actually good, and I'm the one out of touch with the world. Is there a subculture for this?   

You can find Gleefully Unknown, and the rest of the extensive David Edwards' back catalogue on the Fiffdimension Bandcamp.


Review written by Peter-James Dries

 

About David Edwards

Writer/musician ranging from acoustic singer/songwritering through spoken word to postpunk noise to avant garde improvisation & composition.

'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.


Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for David Edwards

Releases

Gleefully Unknown: 1997 - 2005
Year: 2013
Type: Album

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