Jimi Tenor ‘Order Of Nothingness’ LP/CD/DIG (Philophon) 3/5

Having previously worked with Strut Records to collaborate with Tony Allen, Max Weissenfeldt’s excellent Philophon takes the helm of Jimi Tenor’s latest album.

Finland’s eccentric answer to Quincy Jones returns with ‘Order Of Nothingness’, a thirty minute fly through of disco, highlife, groove, and jazz. His eighteenth record as a soloist is a nod to African culture and German nightclubs.

The multi-instrumentalist has lived a career most musicians should, sacking off convention to immerse himself in every genre possible.

It doesn’t always work on this record – ‘Mysteria’ is disappointingly boring for an opening track, I haven’t managed to listen to it all the way through – but there’s skill here, and freedom.

‘Max Out’ is oppressive, ‘Quantum Connection’ sporadic, and ‘Chupa Chups’ is plain weird – all in a good way, I hasten to add. At points, ‘Tropical Eel’ could soundtrack an 8-bit game, until Hilary Jeffery’s slide fanfare entwines with Tenor’s flute. There’s nearly, nearly, a Hailu Mergia feel to it. And then, suddenly, to play us out, we’re almost transported to medieval England on the eponymous ‘Order Of Nothingness’, mushrooms growing all around.

Track 5 will probably be regarded as the stand out song. Eight minutes of Plastic Beach-era Gorillaz euphoria rains down on ‘My Mind Will Travel.’ Plush steel drums take over from Tenor’s Tenor Saxophone. Although he may be saying ‘infinity and way beyond’, you do not feel that time is passing slowly, captured by the mesmeric rhythm of Ekow Alabi Savage’s percussion. It’s a song that builds without being overtly indulgent.

If this is your first exposure to Jimi Tenor, don’t be put off by the unstructured nature of this record, because that, after all, is the point of it.

Sam Turnell