[midlife 150] #112: jimi tenor “hypnotic drugstore”
October 16, 2010
Jimi Tenor (born Lassi Lehto, 1965, in Lahti, Finland) is one of those musicians that occupies an indefinable space between astral jazz, techno, post-rock, afro-beat, pop and film score. I say “one of those”, though I can’t think of who might share that precise spot with him. His neighbours might include the Chris Bowden of Time Capsule, some of 4hero‘s output and the inner reaches of Sun Ra‘s music (from this solar system, say, rather than further-flung galaxies).
Out Of Nowhere saw Tenor move on from his previous electronic noodling to prove his chops as both composer and arranger. Drafting in – and remaining firmly in control of – a large scale group in the form of Polish 60-piece Orchestra Of The Great Theatre Łódź (listen to out-takes and live versions on this page before investing in the album), he creates an exotic, swinging, funky and faintly foreboding soundtrack to an imaginary 1960s beat movie. Hypnotic Drugstore amplifies both the exotic (courtesy of Indian sitarist Baluji Shrivastav) and the funk in a tale of narcotic-induced decline and eventual self-destruction.
Tenor’s vocal performance, it must be said, is not what makes this track so successful, though its strained imperfection does somehow reinforce the authenticity of the protagonist’s plight. The song’s triumph is its unassailable groove, constructed from hundreds of moving parts – organic and electronic, live and sequenced – emerging indivisible but both solid and fluid. Hypnotic Drugstore insidiously trickles into your mind before attaching itself to parasitically feed on your vices and fears.
This review is part of close to 94 ‘s [midlife 150] series, which counts down favourite music 1970-2009.