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  • David Edwards - Album Review: Electric (Yang) / Acoustic (Yin) - 2CD Compilation 1998-2023

David Edwards - Album Review: Electric (Yang) / Acoustic (Yin) - 2CD Compilation 1998-2023

30 Dec 2023 // A review by Peter K Malthus

Fiffdimension is the name under which Dave Edwards records and performs, having released the debut album Scratched Surface back in 1998. He's certainly been busy since then; I think I counted around 40 releases listed on his website. He's also found time in the last quarter century to study, travel the world living in several different locations, and collaborate with a huge host of other artists, winning awards and playing at festivals. One might wonder when he finds time to sleep but given some of the glorious musical madness on offer over the 35 tracks on this double album... maybe he doesn't.

Fiffdimension's Bandcamp page describes the offerings as "Spans acoustic & electric noise, rock, folk, spoken word, postpunk, free jazz, gamelan, lo fi, electronica, & ethnomusicology", which not only sums things up nicely, but saves me having to try to describe the massive breadth of the eclectic nature of this work. Electric (Yang)/Acoustic (Yin) boasts some wildly different tracks; short instrumentals (the guitar and percussion of King Street Boogie, the piano and birdsong of Tui and Grey Sky, the guitar, rain, and bucket- possibly oboe too- of Classical Rain Bucket), song-length instrumentals (the gorgeous and floaty Kalbarri Coastline, the spaced-out psychedelia of Shuffling The Tarot, October Ring's sweet little guitar melody being countered by its evil twin sowing dissent and discord), spoken word over free-forming instruments (After The Filmshoot describing either a spiritual experience or very good drugs... or both, @Bomb The Space sounding like a guitar being attacked, Ornery Return Cravings spoken over sheer instrumental chaos), and occasionally, songs too (the stripped-back post-punk glory of Tony Was Here, the slithery, smoky, speakeasy feel of Cafes In Conversation, Inverno creeping in like a fever-dream of The Cramps, and the beautiful, emotionally-charged Paetumokai (Pua pua i te Koanga)).

Dave Edwards is a thoughtful and talented writer, composer, and performer. This double album ably demonstrates that, from the soft, delightful guitar ramblings on Stromatolites, to Wealth And Riches that sounds for all the world like a battle to the death between a drumkit and a horde of toy robots. He doesn't seem to so much want to push boundaries, as to act like he's never heard of boundaries in the first place. At times soft and beautiful, at others dark and jarring, it makes for fascinating listening.


About David Edwards

A self-taught outsider, David Edwards began writing songs as a teenager in New Plymouth, and released the debut Fiffdimension album Scratched Surface on CDR in 1998.

He spent the turn-of-the-millennium era in Wellington (his birthplace), amid the free-improvisation and avant-garde music scene (& yes was an extra in Lord of the Rings). Over the next six years he made an idiosyncratic series of albums on CDR and cassette, fusing acoustic folk and electric postpunk with modernist spoken word and free improv. And formed The Winter Trio with Mike Kingston and Simon Sweetman.

In 2005 Dave collaborated with Nigel Patterson (The Black Seeds), winning Best Music Award in the NZ Fringe Festival with their 18-piece punk orchestra Ascension Band.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for David Edwards


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