Switched On – Jimi Tenor: Deep Sound Learning (1993 – 2000) (Bureau B)

jimi-tenor-deep

reviewed by Ben Hogwood

What’s the story?

Bureau B have already had an extended look at Jimi Tenor’s legacy from the 1990s in last year’s NY, Hel, Barca – a fruitful foray into his impressively consistent archive. Deep Sound Learning visits a similar era, casting its eye over unreleased tracks from DATs sent by the Finnish artist to Warp Records, his label at the time. Warp preserved the tracks they didn’t use on his albums of that era, so this is a set of previously unheard music from the Tenor vaults.

What’s the music like?

Once again the music of Jimi Tenor is notable for its bold exploration and freedom, and the 19 tracks here cover all sorts of stylistic terrain. The saxophone often features, pulling some of the tracks towards deeper jazz, while many of these pieces of work venture into house and funk.

Colour is an important ingredient of the music, which is never dull, and never coasts. Exotic House Of The Beloved starts off by showing its age in a good way, with a chunky profile and funky beats. Dub de Pablo by contrast is a low slower, with a nocturnal air. Another Space Travel indulges Tenor’s love of a wobbly synth line, while Travellers Cape has an appealing bounce to its rhythm.

The Tenor saxophone blesses a few tracks with its presence, not least the evocative Sambakontu, or setting the scene on Downtown.

Does it all work?

More often than not. Sometimes the music is easily dated, which can be a good thing, but the standard is high. Only a track like O-Sex, with some familiar clichés, sounds like an offcut from the 1990s.

Is it recommended?

Yes. Deep Sound Learning is an ideal companion to last year’s exploration of Jimi Tenor’s early works, and shows just how consistent he could be – and how much fun he had while doing so. There will be something for everyone in this set, that’s for sure.

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