Option, Jul.-Aug. ‘92 by Dan Maryon

From its studios in Switzerland, Mensch Music is recording new rhythms by the likes of Rico Rodriguez and Linton Kwesi Johnson. This patchwork of tunes, recorded over the last four years, is fascinating and mysterious, beginning with Johnson’s opening poem which welcomes the luminous insect of life, peeni waali (candle fly). With session playing from Rodriguez, Deadly Headley, Dennis Bovell, Dizzi Rieder, Robbie Shakespeare, and a guest vocal from Lee “Scratch” Perry, the disc is reggae that takes Rasta vibes into funk and disco bliss. Fizzè coolly merges slow dub sounds with Middle Eastern vocal sampler, then bounces into a relaxed ska beat, through a horns-and-organ romp, and then back to a simple rock-steady beat. My favorite transition was the jump from a happy cover of Duke Ellington’s “Satin Doll” to a streetwise techno mix by Dennis Bovell. There’s an air of a European cabaret transported into the Third World. Keyboardist/composer Fizzè shares some of the wandering musical genius of Hector Zazou, orchestrating and mixing and matching a multi-clutural blend that sounds coherent and brilliant.