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Jimi Tenor 

Out of Nowhere
(Matador/Warp)

Out of Nowhere
  • Out of Nowhere
Since the mid-'90s, this Finnish king of kitsch and catchy electro-lounge music has reveled benevolently in his cultish following, pushing the saccharine psycho-go-go '60s aesthetic so far down people's throats that he even initiated a line of clothes called "Tenorwear" to be donned, ostensibly, by members of the Jimi Tenor Fan Club. All this adulation would cause anyone to venture further into artistic indulgence and see just how many come along for the ride. Metallica's foray with the San Francisco Symphony last year, for example, was so self-indulgent that its fans stood by in disbelief as a "beautiful" orchestral version of "Nothing Else Matters" pelted their ears.

You can add Jimi Tenor to that list with Out of Nowhere. Tenor employed the Orchestra of the Great Theatre Lodz in Poland last autumn to hash out his avant-soul score, along with a hodgepodge of specialists ranging from Indian musician Baluji Shrivastav to the Pro Canto Choir. Occasionally, Tenor realizes his creative potential -- on "Hypnotic Drugstore" and "Backbone of Night," the exchange between traditional symphonic instruments and his slinky production turns out wonderful gems. But the blade cuts both ways, and Tenor should be incarcerated for the hideousness of "Blood on Borscht," which features some atrocious guitar leads and choir howling. Church-like vocals and a simplistic leitmotif heavy with French horns just doesn't jibe with a distortion pedal, no matter how cool you think you are. Pray to God that Out of Nowhere is a phase and little more. Tenor can do so much better.

More by Heath K. Hignight

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