Rootwords – “Inappropriate Behaviour” (EP) part. IV

Chaque mois, Swissvibes vous présente un nouveau titre extrait de « Inappropriate Behaviour », le nouvel EP de Rootwords.


Incontournable de la scène musicale suisse, Rootwords puise la source de ses créations dans la culture hiphop. Loin de se contenter de recréer l’actuel ou le passé, le rappeur genevois d’origine américaine et zambienne allie des influences éclectiques à son style de prédilection. Le résultat ? Des univers hétéroclites, entre tendances et old school, guidés par le verbe consciencieusement aiguisé de Rootwords, qui mènent l’auditeur dans un voyage musical aux multiples facettes.

Après avoir présenté son premier album, « The Rush » (en 2014), et les EPs de ses débuts sur les scènes suisses, françaises, italiennes, allemandes ou encore chinoises de renom, Rootwords aborde 2016 avec un nouvel EP au concept peu commun. Composé de six titres qui sortiront au compte-gouttes tout les 25 du mois,« Inappropriate Behaviour » oscille entre titres solo et collaborations avec des artistes des quatre coins du monde, encrant ainsi Rootwords un peu plus dans la lignée des artistes citoyens du monde. Chaque mois, nous découvrirons un nouveau chapitre de cet EP avec l’impression de Rootwords sur ce dernier.

Rootwords a levé le voile sur « Inappropriate Behaviour » au travers de titres aux mille couleurs. De lourdes basses vibrantes (« Move (feat. Muthoni The Drummer Queen) »), une escapade au rythme africain (« Voodoo (feat. Blitz The Ambassador) ») et une mélancolie assumée (« She ») qui se relie d’un fil mélodique à l’atmosphère qui plane sur le titre dévoilé aujourd’hui. « Your Kingdom » se dessine sur un fond mélodique composé un beatmaker suisse habitué aux collaborations qualitatives : Celloprod (CasaOne Records). Après avoir façonné des harmonies pour Youssoupha ou encore Keny Arkana, le compositeur s’est laissé inspirer par un sample tiré de « Transients (feat. Szjerdene) » du producteur anglais Bonobo pour offrir le nuage envoûtant qui porte « Your Kingdom ». Sur ce titre, Rootwords reçoit l’artiste chinoise ChaCha à évoquer l’influence que peut avoir la société sur la créativité :

« La vie sur terre peut parfois être perçue comme un long et fastidieux chemin vers notre propre tombe. On se lève, mange, travaille, mange, travaille, joue, mange, dort, et on recommence. A chaque étape, on a souvent l’impression que ce n’est pas assez. On se pose des questions sur nous-même, sur le sens de la vie, on regarde le ciel et tout autour de nous, sans jamais obtenir de réponse satisfaisante. Si je ne vivais que pour moi-même, je ne pense pas que ce serait aussi difficile. Mais aucun homme n’est une île, et en tant qu’être humain, on dépend des uns des autres. Chacun contribue à la vie en société. Mais, à quel point la société me le rend à son tour ?

C’est un cycle sans fin.

En tant qu’artiste, je suis particulièrement sensible aux effets néfastes de la société sur ma créativité. J’ai décidé de collaborer avec ChaCha sur cette chanson car c’est une femme également sensible, en phase avec les ondes électromagnétiques de notre monde. Elle a voulu exprimer le même émerveillement, les mêmes douleurs et craintes que moi lorsqu’elle a entendu cette instru de Cello Prod inspirée d’un sample de Bonobo (qui au passage, a apprécié le morceau). »    

Rootwords –« Your Kingdom » (feat. ChaCha) est disponible en téléchargement gratuit sur Soundcloud.

Swiss bands at jazzahead 2016!

One night: eight showcase-acts: the Swiss Night on April 21 will be a highlight of this year’s live program at Jazzahead!  Find out more about the eight Swiss bands below. You can also listen to a track of each band selected at jazzahead! here. If you are not attending jazzahead! this year, Arte Concert is streaming the concerts played at Kulturzentrum Schlachthof live there. Alternatively you can also watch all videos of the showcases the next day on In other words, you have no excuse not to follow those guys  live or on Internet!


Plaistow_pic_LDLast week the editor of a UK jazz magazine said how much the office had got into Plaistow’s album Titan. I think they are something special. Plaistow is an acoustic piano trio driven by experimental dance musics, ancient drones and a desire to distill their sound to its most ‘alcoholic’, most potent. Plaistow make for a thrilling listen. At first I wasn’t sure of Geneva-based Cyril Bondi’s drumming style, it seemed to lack swing, bashing the air out of a beat, but at a sweaty, rammed Berlin Jazz Festival club last November, he was brilliant. Unique and aggressive with an engaging, rhythmic sensibility – perfectly coupled with the imaginings of pianist Johann Bourquenez. Irritating, repetitive notes hypnotise under his touch and at other times he sweeps you off your feet with a sweet melody as in ‘Enceladus’ – it has me in a whirl. Johann’s music is so fresh. Growing in confidence is Vincent Ruiz on bass. His sensitivity connects and subtly reflects the band’s ambitions.
To learn more about Plaistow, read our selection of articles on Swiss Vibes!



Colin Vallon

@Mehdi Benkler

@Mehdi Benkler

I’ve never seen Colin‘s own trio and am curious, especially as I felt his last ECM album, Le Vent (2014) fell into the ‘contemplative hole’ that undoes many an artist exploring prepared or experimental piano. I suspect Colin is currently going through a time of musical reflection about his direction. His trio is a pretty high-powered crew with drummer Julian Sartorius (who impressed London’s Cafe Oto in March) and Patrice Moret on bass and his appearance at jazzahead! will be a chance to discover where he is now – and what he wants to say.
To learn more about Colin Vallon, read our selection of articles on Swiss Vibes!



Elina Duni

© Blerta Kambo

© Blerta Kambo

Seeing Elina playing solo at Cully Jazz last year elevated her even more in my estimation. That woman can sing! She’s been performing since she was five years of age in her native Albania and although she moved to Switzerland when she was ten, you can almost taste her culture and country when she sings. Her experience comes through too – she moves an audience, but is never cloyingly sentimental. I think the drummer Norbert Pfammatter is key to the band, almost the yin to her yang (yes, that way round), responsive to her and tuned in, whilst Colin Vallon leads the music into imaginative landscapes, provoking her to stretch her ideas. The recent addition of Lukas Traxel on bass adds a sparkling energy as I saw when they played the EFG London Jazz Festival last year. I’ve spoken before about Elina evoking universal goosebumps with her emotive expression and that sold-out gig was no exception.

To learn more about Elina Duni, read our selection of articles on Swiss Vibes!



Christoph Irniger Pilgrim

ChristophIrnigerPilgrim includes Stefan Aeby on keyboards and Michi Stulz on drums – I know their work as part of Tobias Preisig’s quartet and both were crucial to the innovation of Preisig’s album, Drifting. In Pilgrim, Aeby draws on his ability to play an evocative jazz, informed by artists such as Bill Evans in order to echo Irniger‘s direction. Stulz walks an intelligent line between the past and the now and his interplay with Irniger, Aeby and bassist Raffaele Bossard, makes the band something special.

I like Irniger’s choice of electric guitar and Dave Gisler is a highlight of the track ‘Italian Circus Story’ from the album of the same name. Here, Christoph almost whispers in evocative drawls on the saxophone; he tells his tales in a spacious and thoughtful style. Along with the Christoph Irniger Trio and other projects with New York-based artists, he uses trips to the US to immerse himself in the heritage of jazz whilst carefully searching for his own expression.

To learn more about Christoph Irniger read our selection of articles on Swiss Vibes!




PommelHORSE ©Simon Letellier

PommelHORSE ©Simon Letellier

This confident and original Bernese quintet are a refreshing flight of fancy on the Swiss jazz scene. They inhabit a surreal terrain somewhere between mutant jazz, prog rock and synthy ambiant rhythms. Cleverly creating a story and atmosphere in each track, they juggle an abundance of patterns and ideas always leaving room for improvisation, tempo changes and general dashing about. With tracks entitled ‘Drunk on Christmas eve’ and ‘The circus is closed and all the animals have gone wild’, it’s impossible to resist their playful attitude and experimental forms, both dark and light. Very popular on the live circuit, PommelHORSE are currently working on their third LP.

To learn more about PommelHORSE read our selection of articles on Swiss Vibes!


Weird Beard

Weird_Beard_2_A5_RGB_PHOTO_RALPH_KUEHNERepresenting the exciting non-conformity of the contemporary Swiss jazz scene, Weird Beard is a quartet led by saxophonist Florian Egli, featuring guitar, electric bass and drums. The weirdness of their beards is less a facial hair reference, more a hallmark of their musical individuality. A band rooted in the jazz tradition in terms of improvisation and composition, but sonically pulled towards trashy metal, punk riffs and quirky noise. Both lyrical and totally unpredictable, their elegant, laconic sound designs can go off in all directions. ‘Everything Moves’ is their second LP just out on Intakt Records and comes warmly championed by Bugge Wesseltoft who describes the group as having ”musical ideas and inspirations merged into a very fresh and new sound.”

Weird Beard, Everything Moves, Intakt Records


Julian Sartorius

@Reto Camenisch

@Reto Camenisch

The Swiss musical ecosystem is a richer place because of drummer Julian Sartorius. What David Attenborough is to nature wildlife documentaries, Sartorius is to the world of sound: a beat explorer, a sound forager, a sonic researcher. His gigs are a masterclass in bashing, crashing and smashing – not just the ordinary drum skin or commonplace cowbell, but squeaky toys, handcrafted gongs, hairdryers, electric toothbrushes. Can he hit it? Yes he can.

Agile in pushing boundaries of the percussive sound from hip-hop to abstract electronica, Sartorius opens up endless possibilities and range. His latest video features cymbals rolling along a studio space, poetically crashing about at will. Previous works include a 12 LP box set called ‘Beat Diary’ composed of 365 analogue beats, each one painstakenly researched and accompanied by its own visual. A true artist in every sense of the word, a national treasure.

To learn more about Julian Sartorius read  our selection of articles on Swiss Vibes!


Luca Sisera ROOFER

roofer_01Luca Sisera is a well­ seasoned Swiss double bass player whose ROOFER quintet describe their sound as “contemporary, liberated jazz music”. Negotiating the fine line between improvisation and composition, the five elements come apart and then reunite in equal measures. There’s a theatrical edge to their music thanks to the horn section adding a lovely big band swing to the complex equation. One minute groovy, sexy, full of bump and grind ­the next angular, frenetic, swarming around one another like agile birds. The interplay between the musicians is extremely confident and general mood leans towards the playful. An exciting band to watch live because of their warm, busy and inventive approach.

Text by Debra Richards and Beatrice Venturini


Cully Jazz festival 2016 – Switzerland gets down to bizniz (day 3)

AKKU Quintet – Chapiteau, Cully, 10/4/16


@J-C Arav

Supporting a very traditional jazz vocalist, (Dianne Reeves), the Akku Quintet played as a very untraditional ‘jazz’ quintet – holding their weight very well as the alternative, slightly dark option on the Cully musical menu. A year ago the band were described as a work in progress, today the quintet comes across as a well-oiled machine full of maturity and articulation.

Underpinned by a definite focus on rhythmic and repetitive elements laid down essentially by the drums and keyboards, this quintet is not in a hurry. Their spacious, unhurried approach leaves plenty of room for interplay between all members who get to shine in totally different ways at very different times.



@J-C Arav

The most attention-grabbing sound is Markus Ischer’s electric guitar which verges towards the psychedelic and is played out to full effect, fuelling the terms ‘jazz rock’ and ‘jazz fusion’ that the band is often labelled with.

Some of the sound particles in the Akku atmosphere are made of of bleeps, hallucinogenic wails, squeaky outbursts. Music to immerse yourself in like a rich, pulsating heart-beat which occasionally slows down, skips and jerks. As Jonas Fehr’s live visuals suggest, the molecules are in gradual full expansion. Expect a new LP from Akku Quintet in spring 2017.

Some questions and answers with AKKU Quintet drummer and bandleader, Manuel Pasquinelli:
Describe the musical dynamics within the quintet

@J-C Arav

Manuel Pasquinelli: We are a quintet with saxophone, but the the sax is not the only leading instrument. The focus on an instrument changes all the time. We are all leading at different times, each member influences the whole thing. Groove and mood are as important as the solos. A solo is always part of the composition and leads from one part to the other. We try to create a piece of music as a journey. We leave space and don’t always play everything we could. We don’t tell a prefabricated story to the listener, so that the listener can derive their own story or mood.

Do you think you fit easily into the ‘jazz’ genre?

Manuel Pasquinelli: People often say to me “I don’t usually like jazz, but I really like what you do”,  so I think that ‘jazz’ is maybe not the right word to describe our music. It’s minimal, ambient, rock with the playfulness of jazz, influenced by different kinds of music (from Nik Bärtsch to Steve Reich, Yann Tiersen, Pink Floyd and beyond).

Akku Quintet “Molecules”

Band members:

Manuel Pasquinelli – drums & composition
Michael Gilsenan – sax
Markus Ischer – guitar
Maja Nydegger – keys
Andi Schnellmann – bass
Jonas Fehr – live visuals

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