is what you might imagine Detroit's answer to a cheesy lounge artist would be. Coming off as a kind of lo-fi
's recordings are released through Sähkö/Puu (home to most of the scant Finnish techno scene); despite the fact that they stick out of the label roster like a sore thumb, they have attracted something of a devoted cult following, mainly among the IDM/electronica crowds. Unlike most electronica artists, however, who routinely name-check
, and '70s B-movie and blaxploitation soundtracks. Classically trained,
gained the attention of influential Sheffield label Warp after releasing the full-length
's Sähkö releases. Warp featured the previously unavailable
label comp and released the 7"/CD single "Can't Stay with You Baby" a few months later, with two additional singles appearing in early 1997.
Prior to his solo work, Tenor
fronted Jimi Tenor & His Shamans, who in 1988 starting releasing several albums on the Poko, Euros, and Bad Vugum labels (including Total Capacity of 216, 5 Litres, Diktafon, and Fear of a Black Jesus, which included a 3-D sleeve and glasses). Despite the studied imperfection of his recordings (Tenor
chides modern electronic music for sounding lifelessly exacting), he spent 12 years studying piano, flute, and saxophone at a Finnish music institute. After dissolving the Shamans in the late '80s, Tenor
moved to New York, where he worked as a tourist photographer at the Empire State Building. He finally hooked up with Sähkö after receiving a copy of a solo recording by Mika Vainio
(of Pan Sonic
). Impressed with the label's openness to experimentalism (Sähkö had previously been known as something of the muso's minimalist techno label), Tenor
sent along some tapes and landed a recording contract, releasing his debut, Sahkomies
, in 1994. While in New York he also recorded with Khan
's Can Oral (under the name Bizz O.D.
), releasing the "Traffic" single on Ozon in 1995. Tenor
returned to Finland in 1995 to film a documentary of Sähkö (funded, oddly enough, by a government grant) and has remained there since, releasing Europa
in 1996 and securing licensing and recording arrangements with Warp. The full-length Intervision
was released in 1997, followed two years later by Organism
After the release of Out of Nowhere
in 2000, Tenor
and Sähkö parted ways with Warp. Tenor
's sixth full-length, Utopian Dream
, an overtly solo electronics record, still received import distribution. Tenor
was performing with a large band for 2004's Beyond the Stars
, distributed widely through Kitty-Yo, and 2007's Joystone
with his backing unit Kabu Kabu. The combination also paired for 2009's 4th Dimension. In 2010, Tenor
and Afro-beat drum legend Tony Allen collaborated on a volume in Strut's excellent Inspiration Information series. Itetune, a collaboration with Ethiopian percussionist Abdissa "Mamba" Assefa, appeared in 2011. In February of 2012, the first exhibition of Tenor
's photographs were shown at the Kingi Kongi Gallery in Helsinki, followed by his first feature film, Sähkö
, which debuted in Berlin. He capped the eventful year by releasing The Mystery of Aether with Kabu Kabu for Kindred Spirits. Tenor
recorded the experimental Dub of Doom with Icelandic reggae band Hjálmar in 2013, as well as the experimental Exocosmos with Lassi Lehto's global Imposter Orchestra. He and Nicole Willis co-produced Finnish band Haunted by Hallucinations' self-titled debut album, and he played on Masterstone by Lehto's Flat Earth Society.
His long association with vanguard saxophonist Kalle Kalima and drummer Joonas Rippa in the Tenors of Kalma resulted in the album Electric Willow, which was issued by Enja's Yellowbird imprint in 2015.