Jimi Tenor

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  • Out of Nowhere - ole-460 - 2000-07-25



Out of Nowhere
July 25, 2000

Multitasking Finnish savant who has been called “the Elton John of Jazz” (cough) and “the Barry White of Finland” (gulp) returns with a major work of cinematic soul, recorded in Poland last fall with a 55-piece orchestra. 

Well, it’s not his long-awaited “pop” album, that’s for sure. It’s far more interesting than that. ‘Out of Nowhere’ is a great record — possibly better even than that — and it marks Jimi Tenor as a serious composer, seriously dislocated from just about everything else that’s going on. To say he’s ploughing his own furrow is to vastly underestimate his agricultural ambitions. Jimi’s in a field of his own, but just what is he growing? 

Those familiar with his Jimi’s two previous albums, 1997’s Intervision and 1999’s Organism, will be acquainted with his soundtrack-y tendencies and lascivious way with a lyric. But though these elements persist, Jimi’s scope is now broader than Broadway and wider than Panavision. Every piece on ‘Out of Nowhere’ sounds like it could be taken from the best scene in a fine film. Sometimes it’s an ambush in a Western dry gulch; sometimes a rain-soaked futuristic sci-fi metropolis; sometimes cars passing on a noir-ish unlit lonely highway. Sometimes all in the same song. 

One thing’s for sure, ‘Out of Nowhere’ has been a massive labour of love on the part of everyone involved. For a start, it’s Jimi’s first orchestral record, and was recorded with the 60-piece Orchestra of the Grand Theatre Lodz in Poland. This decision was partly taken for financial reasons (orchestras are cheaper in the East), and partly because the guy in Paris who was supposed to score the album had recommended them. When he turned out to be a flake, Jimi found himself locked in a bare Polish room frantically writing the scores for the 60 people waiting next door, while he tried to remember the range of each of their instruments and forget that he’d never done this before. 

One way he got through was by imagining very tightly storyboarded scenes, complete with camera movements, for each section of a song. So “Night In Loimaa” opens with a shot of a Mafia boss and his obligatory hoes in a penthouse hot-tub, which pulls back to reveal a ringing phone and, as the opening credits begin to roll, the tempo changes and the scene cuts to the street outside. Conceptually it all works beautifully until Jimi tells you that Loimaa is in fact some one-moose town in backwoods Finland. 

Working with the orchestra placed certain restrictions on Jimi and he had to “reduce the funk” and write more straightforward rhythms than usual. As a result Jimi has been driven to new forms of invention, and ‘Out of Nowhere’ is anything but restricted. “Blood On Borscht” sounds like Carl Orff’s ‘Carmina Burana’ covered by a heavy metal band with a cast of a 1,000 slave extras...on the Planet of the Apes. In other words: terrifying. Actually, its huge slabs of communistic sound are inspired by ‘Solaris’ (Russian film director Andrei Tarkovsky’s cosmonaut answer to ‘2001’) and its OST composer, Eduard Artemives. 

Opener and title track, ‘Out of Nowhere’, marries the high drama of Lalo Schifrin (of “Jaws” fame) to music reminiscent of a scene of alien abduction somewhere in Nevada. Elsewhere, Jimi has Baluji Shrivastav, his blind sitar player, tune his instrument to the Chinese scale to approximate a “Hollywood idea” of Oriental music. Yes, that bizarre. As well as the orchestra and sitars, ‘Out of Nowhere’ plays host to the Pro Cantor Choir from Lahti in Finland, who also graced Organism, plus an international cast of American, British and Japanese talent, including Jimi’s new bride Nicole Willis, who sings lead vocals on “Call Of The Wild.” 

At the heart of all this wild invention sits a cast-iron, copper-bottomed Jimi Tenor funk classic entitled “Hypnotic Drugstore,” which starts with a tabla offbeat and dizzying flutes, before embarking on a lyric about "sleeping eyes wide open" and receiving calls "from the 5th dimension, or whatever". Hmmm? The 5th dimension? That might explain it.

Pre-blog News

05/25/00 — Coming in July, via our association with Warp, we’ll be releasing ‘Out Of Nowhere,’ an epic orchestral work of staggering power from one of the planet’s most dynamic figures, Jimi Tenor.

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