Rolling Stone - Los Angeles
The Beat - Florida
LA Weekly - Los Angeles
The Wire - England
Option - New York
cdroots - USA
Audion - England
Tracking Angle - USA
Electronic Musician -
Observer - England
Inquirer - Philadephia
Sound Choice - San Francisco
poll - greates performance of the year!
World Music Chart
Rating 1991 /
record release sheet
other press reviews (hereafter) and some gems
found on the internet
L.A. Weekly by John Payne - july 16th 1992
Peeni Waali is the love labor of Swiss composer/theoretician Fizzč, whos
assembled a superstars-of-reggae cast along with several Euro-iconoclasts to produce a
soundscape of wide dimensions. Normally youd suspect such a concept package to be
the brain child of a clever Euro-guy with a big record collection who somehow gets the
money to hirle his dream band, then dicks around with the tapes any way he pleases, and
gets to hit a snare drum, too. Ahh, but just listen to the long, hard work Fizzčs
put into his project and his obvious respect for music. Youll rarely hear more
detailed, concise and natural musical editing; everything, the mixes and the cuts, just
flows. And what a band Fizzčs put together: Brit dub poet Linton Kwesi Johnson, who
frames the disc with an ode to the firefly ("Welcome, nocturnal friends / I name you
beacons of hope"); the formidable Jamaican trombonist Rico, a most languorous player
and the featured artist on this disc; both Robbie Shakespeare and Dennis Bovell on bass;
Leroy "Horsemouth" Wallace, the essence of Jamaican drumming; and notably Lee
"Scratch" Perry, the Jamaican dub genius, the godfather of hip-hop cutting
wizardry and the man whose discoveries underlie this sound-painting approach.
What youll hear on Peeni Waali is up to you, as Fizzčs deliberately pursued
an absolute-music aesthetic, in which the music is what it is. It doesnt augment
lyrics or polemics; its a vast structure of tiny sound pieces, a multiple
minimalism. Perrys info-age lyrics on "Licht & Stein", for example,
enumerate impressions - places, people, things, events - to a non-specific end. Politics
wopes the floor with music, of course, but the effect here is ultimately more profound
than an earnest seminar about nuclear disarmament.
The real politics of this music could be the discs whopping playing time 68:27 -
more value for the dollar here, folks.
The characteristic style thoughout Peeni Waali stands on Jamaican-based rhythmic
foundations, but theyre comping through cuts like "Irish Ire", the
traditional jig performed on heavy bass, slow-trot drums, violin, cabassa, harp and
spoons, and the convergence of musical forms makes sense. In the version take of the title
tune, Fizzč mixes kalimbas, balaphones and clarinet into a new sound, one in which the
satisfying sonorities of mallet instruments, too, sudenly appear quite clear.
Call it urban tropical music, or music for a happy and pleasant way of life. More
importanly, though, Peeni Waali is contemporary music on the right track: its played
and edited in real time, retaining the stirring psychological element of natural rhythms
played on instruments (so sequencers); it offers the genuine and intelligent character of
spontaneous, composed music making.
translation of an article by Marco Pandin appeared in the italian
There can be so many ways of disarranging a globe map of the world, upsetting and
manipulating the borders that separate the nations. Fizzč found out a very special way,
putting into practice a truly pacifist strategy to effectively redraw the map in new
shapes (how I wish those in power would purchase musical instruments instead of wasting
money in missiles...).
So here comes Peeni Waali, a strange name that should be already familiar to those of you
who know "Voix vulgaires". Its a transcultural project that joins both the
coasts of the ocean, a self-managed and independent initiative coordinated by Fizzč, once
keyboardist with Nimal (an amazing act at the 1987 Zurich Jazz festival, they put out an
album of the same name on the Wiss label Rec Rec, and a live cassette tape).
In this adventure, Fizzč rearranged a musical map of the world according to many
different choices and preferences, approaching the mountain valleys of his homeland to the
summer beaches of Jamaica, not to forget a handful of the subversive mist permanently
clouding the London suburbs.
No rhythmical Adrian Sherwood-ish anxiety in this record: here you can freely breathe the
mood for joking and amusement typical of certain new Swiss musicians. An honest commitment
and an upright attitude give birth to a new kind of open music (another example of this
"new wave of amazing contemporary music" is the album release of Ensemble Rayé,
recently released on the French label Ayaa Disques). Anyway, amusement here is not just
another word for banality.
Peeni Waalis album first track is "Beacon of Hope", a poem by Linton Kwesi
Johnson performed by the composer himself over a multicoloured background. A small bright
Brixton mosaic pulsating with so many tendencies and tastes, just in the middle of the
land of chocolate. I have never heard such an attracting rhythm before. Its an
unheard interweaving of noise and sound. Johnny Humans accodion dancing happily on
Strong feelings and amusement: can you aqsk for more to a record? "Beacon of
Hope"s flashes still echoing, and here comes "Skarab". If you already
know "Voix vulgaires...", you will easily see Kulu Hatha Mamnua in disguise.
Fizzč took a plane to Kingston, Jamaica, and asked Robbie Shakespeare and other friends
some contribution. And again "Ricochet", with well known and largely used in
these recordings Rico Rodriguez on trombone, "Licht & Stein" with Dennis
Bovell, a horn section from Liechtenstein and a dub-feverish Lee "Scratch"
Its a complete mess on your mind, as you listen to "Irish Irie", a
wonderful gemstone of Irish reels and reggae rhythm: such music is unheard and someway
upsetting. Youve just the time to breathe, and youre again in deep water
listening to Duke Ellingtons masterpiece "Satin Doll", heretotally
rearranged in the form of a timeless jewel of no geography.
I find Peeni Waali is great because its no sort of musical cosmetic surgery.
Its not definetely world-music-at-all-costs: again, go back to the "Voix
vulgaires" booklet and read Fizzčs controversial writings on the subject.
Peeni Waali is a giant step forward David Byrne and Brian Enos pioneeristic
expedition in the bush of ghosts: once the duo did manipulate tapes, today Fizzč deals
with people, and he does his job with extreme respect.
Peeni Waali works because its the long-awaited new approach to making music.
Its a new and fresh and clean and open minded attitude, a definetively new way in
creating music and love together. And Peeni Waali is reggae, it is dub, it is experimental
music, it is rumorism, it is folk music from the middle of Europe... and it sounds nothing
like these labels!
The only thing you should really do now is to purchase this record (go to
translation of article appeared 31st of october 1997 in
Badische Zeitung, Freiburg (D)
"Flight around the Alps with Looping"
Peeni Waali "The Return" Mensch CD AGR 009, Selfdistribution and
"Kulu/Manoeuvres" Mensch CD AGR 008
As harmless as that sneeks in a work of the century of worldmusic: down in the valley a
few cows ring their bells, from a distant mountain yodels a trio, the Swiss hammered
dulcimer (hackbrett) and accordion melt with lovely native sounds. And until youve
noticed that this not so harmless mix has thickened to a heavenwards sucking Swing,
its already too late, because then...
... then youre already flying free-handed over the alptops, youre looping to
the sound of mighty dub-rythms and youre blown around the world three times by an
apparently totally red hornsection. Its difficult to say, whats the most
pleasant after 10 flights throug this CD but its a real treat to hear that
apparently nobody squints at chart-notations but over country borders and culture barriers
its simply making music together in friendship. Theres an incredible humour
and fresh wit in it. "Peeni Waali - The Return" overpasses any pattern of yet
known worldmusic. A worldmusic that deserves its name because here the ditches between
cultures arent just filled with well meant but politically dull conscienceness, but
these differences are used productively and result in a cosmolitical mix of humanistic
avantgarde. Popular reggae-beats are driven to the utmost by audacious avant-garde still
keeping this irresistible groove. And purely technically speaking, this production
demonstrates a craft that reduce worldmusic-studiochaps such as Don Was or Bill Laswell to
schoolboys. Even a Peter Gabriel could cut himself a piece of this crossover that breaks
any barriers of styles.
Who the hell hides behind all this beauty? The answer comes humbly from the canton of St.
Gallen, from "Mensch Music", Sparrengasse 7, CH - 9476 (thats also the
purchasing adress). Mensch is program, here are friends at work in hedonistic
exchange. The producer and multi-instrumentalist who hides behind the pseudonym
"Fizzč" understands that its not enough to gather as many as possible
top-instrumentalists from all over the world but he understands how to blow soul into his
projects; and belly! "Fizzč" describes his personal dada this way: "My
wife looks after the beefsteak, leaving me the freedom to escape from exterior pressure.
Of course, I work with computers, but I buh techno and that line where mans only the
sequencers slave anymore. My hobby is hosting people."
To his hosts count neighbours like the genuine euphonium-player Shirley Hofmann but also
representatives of most different cultures and various musical traditions. Linton Kwesi
Johnson, Dennis Bovell and Lee "Scratch" Perry already participated to the
previous Peeni Waali venture (CD 004) which was equally impressive. They added juicy
reggae-life to middle-eastern vocals and irish folkmusic.
And all without Jamaican flavour but with toilet-seats, gasstove and drill comes the
re-mix of CD "Kulu/Manoeuvres", witty fun on a very different level.