Home Read Albums Of The Week: Jimi Tenor | Multiversum

Albums Of The Week: Jimi Tenor | Multiversum

The colourfully creative, ceaselessly prolific Finnish multi-talent continues to bounce between jazz, ’60s pop, electronica, Afrobeat — and whatever else strikes his fancy.


THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Jimi Tenor has always been something of a Renaissance man. On leaving his Finnish homeland for New York in the early 1990s, and later as he travelled through Europe, he quickly discovered what he calls his ikigai, his great joy in life: To record and produce music in DIY mode at home with the most rudimentary of means, spontaneously and intuitively. In more than 30 years of making music, Tenor has remained true to his ideal, whether as a solo artist on his early electronic albums or in the widely diverse collaborations and constellations which followed (with the likes of Tony Allen, Kabu Kabu and Abdissa Assefa). Multiversum is his third album for Hamburg label Bureau B.

Tenor and the label first teamed up in 2020 for his NY, Hel, Barca retrospective and continued their association with Deep Sound Learning, a collection of rarities, in spring 2021. Whilst Tenor has predominantly released jazz and Afrobeat records over the past two decades, his live performances have often seen him return to his minimalist roots. Enthralled by how Tenor conjured up his space music with just a synthesizer, flute and saxophone, Bureau B invited him to record an album with this basic and yet astoundingly effective setup.

Photo by Antti Viitala.

Within just a few months, Tenor delivered an impressive selection of pieces, all recorded in his Helsinki home studio. These tracks form Multiversum, a record which provides further proof of Tenor’s versatility. Based on drum machine beats and synthesizer loops, Tenor’s music invites the listener to drift into open, limitless expanses — he is a master of the unforeseeable, audibly infusing all twelve new tunes with a sense of joie de vivre and intuition, with no recourse to standards. Multiversum is a declaration of love to the DIY spirit, somewhere between bedroom jazz and deviant techno.

Born in Lahti in 1965, he changed his name from Lassi Letho to Jimi Tenor in reference to his favourite instrument, the tenor saxophone, and out of admiration for Jimmy Osmond. After school, he took up music studies before eventually moving to New York, where he worked as a souvenir photographer on the Empire State Building. During this time, Tenor continued to work on his music in his flat, honing his unique mixture between house, jazz and experimental pop music. His solo debut Sähkömies (1994) established an exciting artistic career that has lasted for nearly 30 years. A techno pioneer in the 1990s, Tenor turned to jazz in the 2000s, recording an album with Afrobeat legend Tony Allen and collaborating with several orchestras.

To complement Multiversum, Tenor has also publishted the book Omniverse, a collection of photos and stories documenting his life, career, and varied interests. Along with music, Tenor has been active in photography, filmmaking, instrument making and even fashion design. Along the way, he has proven that everything is conceivable in the world of the ultimate Finnish pop star.”


Photo by Antti Viitala.