Ace Hotel x Moog Sound Lab // Jimi Tenor

Awol Finnish popster Jimi Tenor is the penultimate guest in the Ace Hotel synthtopia.


Words by: Natalie /

Who is he: Jimi Tenor

Where you can find him: Finland but Jimi is a man of the world, spending a lot of time between Berlin, Barcelona, London and New York.

What he gets up to: directing films, looking through peepholes, taking photos, designing clothes, making clothes and being an all round Sun Ra fan-boy.

A little more background: creativity flows through Jimi’s veins and with a jagged résumé tracing the lines of instrument designer, film director, painter and renown musician he’s not far short of an artistic enigma. Jimi’s output has been described by some as the musical equivalent of Andy Warhol’s pop art, with a selection of electro-mechanic instruments he constructed with Matti Knaapi unintentionally being displayed (half mangled) as pieces in an art exhibition. Conventional he is not. Entering the scene in the late ‘80s with his industrial rock inspired band Jimi Tenor And His Shamans, he took to the sax and vocals with the rest of the shamanic tribe picking up trumpet, guitar, bass and drums. The group released four albums; ‘Total Capacity of 216,5 Litres’, ‘Ditkafon’, ‘Mekanoid’ and finally, ‘Fear Of A Black Jesus’ in ‘92 before Jimi decided to move to New York.

Jimi then went solo and signed to Warp Records, a relationship that continued up until the turn of the millennia and produced four albums, as well as a handful of releases on Kitty-Yo and Sähkö Recordings. His solo releases cover an expansive field of music, criss-crossing genres and defying any sort of linear traditions. His first big solo hit was the enigmatic Take Me Baby, recorded at his NYC apartment on Union Avenue in the summer of ’93 along with a cover of Sun Ra’s Travellin Dem. Take Me Baby is most at home in the club, a tangled love song for a heated environment; maybe a musty basement club in a unnumbered building, sweat stalactites looming from the ceiling. The video sees a voyeuristic Jimi in his trademark frames, looking through peepholes with times his quivering lips in view. It oozes with his artistic tendencies, riding the pun he embeds in an emotionless controlled flow. “Take me baby / take me now / take me baby / take me to the edge of explosion / I’m about to / I’m about to / I’m about to / I’m about to / come to me baby come to me”.

His early solo work mixed up big band with soul and pop and the cinematic sprawl of ‘Europa’ before descending into typical Tenor madness in the late ‘90s. His solo work has taken back seat since 2007, but the years since have seen a variety of collaborative material with artists such as Soft Focus, Tony Allen and the afro-funk-jazz of Kabu Kabu.

What you can expect from his performance: it’s a rare UK visit from the ‘90s Warp Records and awol Kitty-Yo poster but we’re expecting the electronic funkster to go full Sun Ra on us. A living legend for clubbers, rockers and jazz-funk alike rebels, the lucky few sat with a Dream Machine can expecting to conjure up an eyes-shut cinema of a half fist-pumping half pogoing utopia. Also, the instrumentals we mentioned earlier made with Matti Knaapi were subjected to the Tenor elements during a performance and ended up wrecked, so don’t be surprised if we deck him (and the Moog Sound Lab) out in a two-piece suit made with the finest cosmic bubble wrap. 

Check out the rest of August's activity in the Moog Sound Lab takeover of Ace Hotel here.

Catch Jimi Tenor performaning in the Miranda basement space on Tuesday August 25th (RSVP).

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