Higher Planes

comments by Jimi Tenor

1. Cosmic Dive

We recorded this in Sonica Studios in London. I think this is the most difficult track for the musicians I ever wrote. Especially the intro was hard to play. When I was making this track I was thinking "parts, parts! Different stuff, slow and fast. Lots of unis lines" - well you got it. The lyrics: "Cosmic Dive, get in there, change sides" is about the the ancient Finnish shaman-guys who used to take mushrooms and dive (in their minds) to the bottom of a lake, where there is a hole that leads to the other worlds. Sometimes they came back to tell stories about the other worlds and many times not (the mushrooms were toxic…)

2. Higher Planes

I worked on this track early in the mornings before going to hospital to meet my wife. She was waiting to give birth to our child. There was a beautiful sunrise every morning when I got to the hospital and I think that is the sound you hear in this track. Maurice Fulton did the drum track for this one.

3. Trumpcard

I made a version of this track with a Polish symphony orchestra, but the arrangement wasn't ready then. When I started to work with a Finnish big band called UMO my guitar player Ilkka Mattila suggested that I redo Trumpcard with them. I liked the idea because a lot of the rhythms are typical big band stuff. I'm playing Farfisa organ in this one. I love Farfisa because it has a very soft sound if I use the "flute" preset. This was recorded live at the Tavastia Club in Helsinki. We actually did record 32 digital recording in the sound check as well, but it didn't have the vibe that this version has.

4. Good Day

This was a long project I made couple of versions on ADAT at home. Then we recorded this with UMO-big band, which was cool but not 100% percent. Finally I ended up making a new version with computer using some of the new arrangement ideas I made for the big band. I also used some congas and drum samples that I actually had commisioned from Mongo Aaltonen and Mikko Hassinen for some other tracks.

5. Black Hole 

This was recorded with my band in London at Sonica as well. We did a live video for this one which is quite funny. The lyrics are about the end and the beginning of universe which is all packed in one singularity and will explode again to make a new universe, but with different rules.

6. Dirty Jimi

I guess it's clear this one was influenced by Dirty Harry. I guess I have to admit by now that I have this thing about film music. The great thing about film music is the length. Things don't take for ever. I tend to keep my tracks at 4 and half minutes, but the style is quite "movie". Same horn section as in Black Hole: Mike Kearsey (trombone), Terry Edwards (also and baritone sax, trumpet), John Scott (trumpet) and me (tenor sax and flute)

7. Tapiola

This track is pretty much influenced by 70's heavy metal and psychedelic rock stuff. Already from the very beginning I thought that the vocals must have the reverse reverb effect. I actually did that in the old school way turning the tape backwards in the tape machine. I find stuff like that easier to do that way and the results tend to sound better than using computer effects. Chris Dawkins played the guitar and that shifted the song quite a lot the Jimi Hendrix -land. I like that a lot! Tapiola is the land of the King of the Forests. In Finland they have these places in the woods where they used to sacrifice stuff for the gods. In this song the sacrifice is a naked virgin.

8. Spending Time

People say some of these vocals sound like Zappa. I guess so. I'm not an expert on Zappa at all. I tried to do a sweaty erotic track and this is the result. I bought a recorder from a flea market and I played some lines with that. I think after seeing "Wicker Man" the recorder didn't seem so uncool after all!

9. Let the music

Very similar production style as Good Day. I kept asking more and more people do overdubs for this one as the recording went along. I used my regular horn guys Jay Kortehisto and Jukka Eskola for the horn section. Well, and myself playing sax and flute.

10. Expatriot

Maurice (Fulton) listened to this and said that he's not any more into the "art music". Well, I am. I sometimes get mad at myself because I use more computers and electronic stuff than I use my sax. So I made this long line and played it many times from different keys many times with my sax. Together they made this really soft chord that moves up and down with the line. I thought this sounded really sad so I played a sax solo on top that screams out of pain. The pain is the sadness of an expatriot. In my case: I miss the Finnish nature a lot sometimes.

11. Nuclear Fusion

Another track made with UMO big band. I play the photophone on this one. You can hear that in the intro and the following ambient bit.
This is the only big arrangement that I've ever written without the help of a computer. My computers were stolen and I had a deadline to finish this track. So I had to write it with pencil and paper. Funnily enough it was almost faster than with computer.

12. Stargazing

I don't normally write stuff starting with piano, but this one I did. I was fooling around with these chords and I played a moog bass line on top of the rhodes-piano. Then I made the flute melody. I sent off the ADAT to Finland and asked my guys to do percussion, drums and horns overdubs. I always have a jazz-waltz on my record. Well, there are three on this album: Trumpcard, Nuclear Fusion and Stargazing (although the intro Nuclear goes in 4/4 timing).

Higher Planes track-by-track - Jimi's comments in Japanese
Higher Planes album info
Higher Planes interview
Jimi Tenor explains Higher Planes (realaudio)
Jimi Tenor explains Higher Planes (lyrics)
Black Hole (mp3 download)