This is E.P. is a cracking collaboration between Jimi Tenor and Calm, recorded in the latter’s 9 O’clock Studio, in Kawasaki, while the former was on tour in 2018. The title track, Big City Takes, features both on keyboards, and Mr. Tenor on vocals – repeating the mantra of “Love can break your heart if you don’t know the score”, over synthetic strings, the odd beatnik bongo, and digi-dub subs. The wind chimes and West Coast harmonies perhaps a homage to The Beach Boys and Brian Wilson. Jackson “Tapes” Bailey’s two remixes each add a Bontempi “tick tock” and a beefy head-nodding break. The first reminds me, big time, of the sort of stuff that Ben Wilcox would chart, in Straight No Chaser, back at the height of the Hoxton Blue Note’s success. Music on Mo`Wax, by Attica Blues, Organized Konfusion, and the like. The second puts the organ’s percolations centre stage. Setting those against a downtempo tribal thump. I was getting Brian Briggs / AEO vibes, until another breakbeat gives it a further / bonus bashing.
Trans-Siberian Express travels through Jon Hassell-esque 4th World terrain. It’s a stoned, hallucinogenic haze of buzzing drone, electric piano and echoed detail, that summons images of an Amazonian Eden, unspoiled by human hand. Jimi jams a fluttering flute-line. The melody, Middle Eastern maybe, but with a definite air of mystery.
Time & Space is cool cosmic jazz, carried, again, by wistful woodwind, and Toimi Tytti’s siren-like vocal. Casting her spell amidst the crash of sampled surf. The keys conjuring Dorothy Ashby’s harp. Try imagining Sun Ra at Ibiza’s Cafe del Mar. Gary Irwin’s chugging, 90s IDM-influenced Vendetta Suite rework, though, takes the Balearic / Disco biscuit. Hypnotizing anyone in listening distance with its ever-evolving, all encompassing, undulating bass. This is the one that, perhaps, Jose Padilla would have played.
Calm & Jimi Tenor Bob’s Big City Takes E.P. is out now, on Hell Yeah!