In addition flute & sax and other more conventional stuff (see below), Jimi uses an array of various musical contraptions and custom-made instruments which originate from the masterminds of Jimi Tenor and inventor/designer Matti Knaapi.


Jimi playing the Photophone. Photo: Chris Gurney

The Photophone

The Photophone is a light sensitive synth constructed from a rotating fan, a photocell and a piece of specially exposed black and white film. Through the film travels a beam of light which then hits the photocell, producing the sound. The pitch is controlled by the intensity of light which changes according to the tracks exposed onto the film.

"All-in-all it's a promising concept - we'll be looking into multi-channel possibilities using colour lights, producing soundfilms directly from samples, and a large solar- and wind-powered ecological model, which could be connected directly to speakers without using an amplifier." (Matti Knaapi)

A special cylindrical version of the photophone was introduced at the Barbican show in September 2000.


Sirkka. Photo: Matti Knaapi


Sirkka, a man-sized mechanical drum machine, is a sturdy device consisting of a couple of oil barrels which are hit by two large hammers. It is powered by an old washing-machine motor which gives a steady tempo, but can also be operated manually. The hammer system turned out to be too rough, wearing out the drums, so it was later replaced with a large-scale champagne bottle corker -like mechanism

Sample of Sirkka (mp3)


Jimi demonstrates the Liberace. Photo: James Cumpsty

The Liberace

The Liberace is a custom-built stainless steel thing with coils from a Fender Rhodes piano hanging from it. It sits over a turntable on which special metal record spins, thus activating the coils. And out comes a noise, the tone and rhythm of which can then be altered using different records.

"Unfortunately it soon became evident that the Liberace wasn't capable of producing anything but a sub-bass sequence, though impressive as such." (Matti Knaapi)


Nicole Willis playing Vera. Photo: Chris Gurney


The automatic trombone Vera is made of an old vacuum cleaner, a rubber glove and a trombone of course.

It's operated by the vacuum cleaner set to blow rather than suck. The rubber glove acts as a pair of lips between the vacuum and the trombone and can be controlled by hand to vary the pitch.


Jimi and his Noisebox. Photo: James Cumpsty

The Noisebox

by Jimi Tenor and Matti Knaapi. Inside a plywood box lurks a Sony Walkman powered by a hand-driven dynamo. Equipped with a line out and a strobo light. A tape in the walkman and hands on the crank - out comes noise!

In action!


A list of equiment Jimi uses/has used:

Akai S20
Alesis ADAT
Alesis HR16
Apple PowerBook running Metasynth
Boss DSD-2 delay/sampling pedal
Boss T-Wah pedal
Casio CZ-101
Digitech rack effects
Eko Rimini (Italian synth)
Fender Rhodes
Fostex Spring Reverb 3180
Hammond organ
Korg Electribe EA-1
Korg KMX62 keyboard mixer
Korg MS20
Korg Poly 6

Korg Poly 800
Korg Super Percussion
Moog Minimoog
Music Son II Mixer
Novation BassStation
Oberheim DX
Rockman Delay
Rockman Distortion
Roland RS-09
Roland S-550
Roland TR-606
Roland TR-808
Tama Techstar
Yamaha MIDI keybord
Yamaha NS10s
Yamaha QY20
Yamaha SU10