Saturday 28 January 2017, 7.30pm
Finnish musician and composer Jimi Tenor returns to OTO for a solo show following his new release, Saxcentric, on Herakles Records. Tenor has never settled for the traditional role of a pop artist. A musician whose work lies beyond current trends, Tenor is also as a performer who combines the finest elements of afro-american music, spontaneous silliness and shameless glamour in an style all his own.
“Cooking up a sultry stew of disco, funk, and modern dance, including drum 'n' bass, is his specialty. But even that isn't enough to satisfy him, as he ventures into gospel and choral music with the able assistance of a 60 piece Finnish choral group. With its many different threads and influences, including the Sun Ra-esque "Total Devastation," Organism makes the case that Tenor is a truly international artist.” – Sound Affects, review of Organism
Besides being a professional musician for almost 20 years, Jimi Tenor (born Lassi Lehto, 1965, Lahti, Finland) has also practised photography, directed short films and designed clothes and musical instruments. The electro-mechanic instruments built by Jimi Tenor and designer Matti Knaapi are not intended to be pieces of art on display at exhibitions, though have sometimes ended up as such. They emerge from musical needs, and are mainly made of scrap material. The instruments have been used at full blast during recording and on stage, so some of them have been wrecked.
Tenor's music, along with his design and technical innovations, springs from experimental rock. His first recording band Jimi Tenor & His Shamans (1986-1992) was influenced by the early 80s industrial rock, where instruments were made out of scrap metal and plastic. Later during the 90s Tenor moved first towards electronic music, but soon got closer to his roots: 60s and 70s jazz, psychedelic soul and African funk.
Although Tenor spent all of the 90s in Berlin, New York, London and Barcelona, his artistic approach was typically Finnish: technically practical, but saturated with black humour and a national romantic tone. So he was quite at home all over Europe in front of a crowd gone wild, wearing a glittering self-designed costume and a flowing cape, holding a noise-producing device the main components of which were a walkman made in Hong Kong and an East-German bicycle dynamo, performing a song about ancient Finnish forest gods, sounding like a mixture of Gil Evans, Jimi Hendrix and Fela Kuti.