Peeni Waali : The Eve of… -final version- (CH/..,2000)

… a special “director’s cut” of this double CD, leaves out some weaker tracks replaced with previous “sequels”, to get the best picture of what this 12 year composition cycle of Peeni Waali was, a story which started in 1991…

The fundament on this record is much more often Jamaican reggae, dub and ska. Not for adventurous reasons, but for pure pleasure and fun, various tracks (not the earliest) are mixed with other cross-cultural interventions and combinations. Some of them I liked more than others. But I think the sessions done with Lee “Scratch” Perry were rather successful. Some combinations are a bit odd, and somewhat humorous. From the first CD I like very much “Colorace” about a guy being black in all of life’s conditions, accompanied with a tango-like bandeon, flute, piano, guitars, children voices and so on. Another favourite is “More Nice Time”, starting with African melodic percussion mixed with dulcimer, Swiss yodel, and then with a ska brass orchestra, with Swiss accordion, one of the tracks with Lee “Scratch” Perry. From the replaced tracks, “Pub Dub” is an odd combination of an Irish traditional into dub, while “Sleep Dub” is another, slow dub track with Mongolian throat vocals (!), while “SkaRab”, performed with Middle eastern keyboards and percussion, and some chill-out beat ideas, mixed with an Arab vocal sample, is my favourite of the three unusual combination tracks (which came from the album “The Dawn”). From the second CD I also liked to mention a few more odd combinations, because that is often my favourite territory. Strange is a dub brass with Hammond organ version from “Satin Doll” (written by Duke Ellington). “Maxi Mali” is another worth mentioning track, which seems to be a medley or resume of all the group’s musical interests, with elements of previously done tracks, with a core of heavy funky guitar/fuzz bass, and also with use of some turntable mixes.

I think this album is more interesting to those with an open mind who like dub/reggae and ska, but who would like to hear some bridges to other styles, without losing the easy going fun the mentioned music genres have.

Peeni Waali vs Schildpatt

The basic foundations for this record are mostly jazzy improvisations. A small section of musical interconnections are provided by Alan Kushan’s santur-improvisations. Besides this, there are always several ethnic world elements (or the appearance of ethnic music instruments mostly, with on at least some track, a voice sample), provided by many guests, of which just some are related with world music, and seemingly also with the world music label Face Records, also based in Switzerland. There are throatvocals from Mongolia on some tracks, and there are other influences noticeable from Persian origin (a Derwish dance with spoken word piece), African, Caribbean (?), and even Swiss Alps !! –mixed with other contexts- (on “Cliché Alpum”), with some intertwining sub-genres (including a Jamaican (?) influence, referring to some sub-genre, sipping into the other improvisations), always fitting with the improvised and rather jazzy (??) approach.  The album sounds as if it is composed as one large improvised (jazz) piece, with a few extra arrangements on it, but is recorded in various places and times. One of the most famous co-operators is Lars Hollmer on accordion, (even if it is only less than a minute long), with a droning improvisation mixed well into the Persian mode of santur and also some didgeridoo of the next track. “Canabeat” has some spoken word fragment of a child when writing something down on a board.

PS. I remember having heard and found the first, private, Schildpatt CD release (“Bunju”, 1986), as a long and slow improvisation. This newer, cooperative album however has many more elements, making it a convincing musical journey (from start to finish).
This venture now is different, in some way it could fit well with their (German) neighbours Embryo, who more often invited ethical musicians to play with their rather “progressive” jazz-rock approach.

Fizzé/Dizzi : Kulu / Manoeuvres (CH/..,1980-1985/1987;comp.1996)****’

I’m glad I received the opportunity to hear this compilation of earlier work of the musicians involved with previous group/project, Peeni Waali. This is a compilation of two LP’s. The first album, “Kulu Hathan Mannua” (1980-1985) is published under the name of Fizzé , the second album is called “Manoeuvres d’automne” (= French for “harvest movements”) is by Gilles-V.”Dizzi” Rieder , while most tracks are listed as being composed by Fizzé.

The first project is pretty close to the best potential I noticed with Peeni Waali, namely a great ability to make an original form of jazzy World fusion. I already mentioned there the great German progressive jazzrock group Embryo who often dealt with world fusion mixes. This was less often with African influences, compared to the first album in this compilation. This jazzy world fusion album sounds injected with African & North-African jazzy elements but without really belonging to any area, with improvisations that are clearly led by a clever percussionist, who skilfully played very colourful rhythms with ever changing material, which often sounds as if played by African instruments, but which is not always the case. Also kitchen material is used for instance, like a milkpot, and even when with more than once with a more experimental approach; also this is played with the energy of an “African” percussionist (: very colourful). Just here and there, voices are mixed in, like on “Animist” which uses a voice of a strange throat singer with personal qualities, which in combination with bass and sounds, percussion makes its own expressive experimental darkness. Besides that, lots of other exotic instruments appear. Some tracks therefore seem to be real perfect examples of what I called the all-world music approach. “Melody Mensch” for instance, sounds like a Chinese Orchestra, the medieval folk instrument, hurdy-gurdies, thumbpiano, and the Persian santur and a lot more, mix lots of worlds really perfectly.

The two projects melt in each other perfectly. The second project fits best with the experimental side of the front cover (the African mask refers to the first part). This project, partly percussion based, but also with colourful keyboards and world music instruments, sampled or not ? are also mixed with much more experimental sounds, and nature (animals, water sound rituals,..) sounds. The result is like one big soundtrack presenting a mind-state stage and theatre, brooding, relaxing, fusing, .. It has moments of a ritual with immediate result (pow-wow, ..). “La Mirte Guette” is a bit different but still very good track, with spoken word (in French), darker, and more progressive, and also aggressive, in a very constructive way, followed by quality jazz sax bringing the listener back into the fusing world. Most last few tracks have more direct Afro elements, have voices of Taj Mahal, Linto Kwesi Johnson, and Lee “Scratch” Perry, with the jazz element never too far. One of these tracks was the already mentioned brilliant bonus track on the CD “the eve” (see above review), “colorrace”, a splendid powerful statement with simple words. A highly recommended, limited edition release which I hope will be re-released elsewhere.


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