a child of the plastic age, a man of the final hour
From the edge of Europe comes a child of the plastic age, a man of the final hour.
Finland's Jori Hulkkonen has never been the one to paint himself in the corner.
With releases in the last two decades exploring 360 degrees on the musical radar, he's been hailed as "the most underrated producer in the world", "living legend of electronic composition" and "music's best kept secret".
Since the debut 12" in 1993, ten artist albums for F communications and more recently Turbo recordings, collaborations with people as verstaile as John Foxx, Jose Gonzales, Jesper Dahlbäck (as Kebacid) and Phonogenic (as Discemi), dozens of 12" singles on some of the world's hottest labels, and close to a hundred remixes for artists as diverse as Chromeo, Kid Cudi, Robyn, and Lydia Lunch, followed by producing albums for the bands Sister Flo, Villa Nah and NightSatan, and naturally the writing and production work on both Tiga -albums, all qualify as self-explanatory efforts of a passionate music aficionado. And that's excluding the sideprojects.
Eversince the mid 90's Jori has travelled across the globe as a DJ and played hundreds of clubs and festivals from Australia to Zurich -and every alphabet inbetween -spreading the vibe with his unique blend of house and techno, fuelled by insatiable curiosity about the music's future and profound understanding of its past.
Aside from the more traditional DJ/producer work, in the past couple of years Jori has raised some knowing eyebrows by assembling the Acid Symphony Orchestra, an experimental avantgarde techno ensemble of eleven persons, featuring ten Roland TB-303's, performing a raw score written, conducted and mixed by Jori. In 2009 the project received an approving nod from the highest authority available in the noble form of Ralf Hütter after the Orchestra had warmed up for Kraftwerk.
Jori Hulkkonen (born 1973) hails from the northern town of Kemi, Finland. Raised up around the arctic circle, below freezing point and under the influence of a coctail of synthpop and early electro, house and techno handily available from the Swedish radio, Jori quickly developed a taste, and more importantly, a passion for electronic music. With no musical education or any backround in playing any instruments Jori started to experiment with electronics in 1988 and soon became addicted to making music.
After running his own label Lumi records with likeminded friends in the early 90's, he then released some raw jacking Chicago oriented tracks on labels such as the Italian ACV and Swedish Cari Lekebusch's Hybrid before signing an artistcontract with Laurent Garnier's legendary F communications imprint, and releasing his debut album Selkäsaari Tracks in 1996.
Aside from his increasingly versatile, more listening oriented albumreleases under his real name on F comm, Jori has had a habit of releasing more DJ-friendly music under dozens of various pseudonyms on labels such as Vinyl Piece, Get Physical Music, Turbo, Sähkö/Keys Of Life, Dessous, Stickman and Rekids just to name a few. Jori is also known to collaborate on frequent basis with fellow-Finn Tuomas Salmela, when they are known as Step Time Orchestra, DisCemi, or Fancy Robots for example.
One pseudonym/collaboration in 2001, namely as Zyntherius with a certain Tiga on DJ Hell's Gigolo imprint resulted the quarter of a million selling Sunglasses At Night, including a Top Of The Pops performance.
Jori is also known as a very busy remixer. Remodelling tracks since the mid 90's for artists such as The Presets, Goldfrapp, Chromeo, Robyn, M83, Cabaret Voltaire or José Gonzales (who returned the remix favour by doing a vocal on Jori's 2005 album Dualizm) has kept him in demand whenever a floor oriented re-vamp has been needed.
And then there's also the DJ-persona who has travelled around the world on all continents for over a decade bringing the latest, rarest and classic (or soon to be) jams for the dancing audiences in all the quality clubs and festivals. Jori also holds a slot on the national radio YleX in Finland since 1998 where he plays a selection of what's in his recordbox.
2008 looks like yet another busy year for the man DJ mag dubbed as "the most underrated producer in the world": already out is his ninth artist album, Errare Machinale Est (F communications/Pias), his most ambitious yet. Featuring vocals from artists as diverse as John Foxx (of Ultravox -fame), Jimi Tenor, Ernesto and Justine Electra, it combines many aspects of Jori's current musical interests from downtempo singer-sonwriter stuff to uptempo abstract avantgarde synthpop. In addition, he's working on a dancefloor targeted album for the Canadian label Turbo, this time under his Fenno-Baron guise. Various collaborations and productions for other artists are also penned in the calender this year so do yourself a favour: keep your ears and eyes open.
The bit below is not strictly a biography, but it was decided to be included here as it falls under the category 'contains biographical information', and adds an alternate view on Jori's work. It is written by Tiga, and was the one-sheet included on Jori's the 2007 Turbo release, Fenno-Baron.
When you think of Finland, you think of Lordi, Nokia, Zyntherius, pale men
with wiskers, Matti Nykänen coke-orgies and a stupid language.....but
underneath that depressing grey façade lies a rich musical culture....a
culture personified by the living legend of electronic composition Jori
Oddly enough I was first introduced to Jori in Miami Beach in 98 by our then
mutual friend Bobby Brown (Bobby was a huge fan of Jori's seminal Rokataan
Täysillä ep on Cari Lekebuschs Hybrid imprint.....claiming it had a profound
influence on his "Every Little Step" remix package released only 4 months
later). Once I figured out how to pronounce his name (it would take me many
years to learn how to spell his name) we became friends; sharing a deep love
of synth-pop, italo disco, self-deprecating humour and fine bitches. Two
years later we had teamed up to casually rewrite musical history with
"Sunglasses At Night". But while this megahit meant instant fame and fortune
for me, unhindered as I was by concepts of musical integrity...for Jori, the
consummate muso, the eternal dreamer, the hopeless idealist on the vanguard
of Scandi-Dadaist-Electrodance......this meant the beginning of a surreal
oddysey, a character testing trip thru the inferno of the "music-bizz". Over
the next years he would continue to produce albums for Fcomm, singles,
remixes and freeform poetry.....a man on a mission...or let's just say his
work was never FINNished. Until now. Maybe.
Let 2007 be declared The Year Of The Fenno-Baron....a new 4 track ep on
Turbo inspired by the ubiquitous Finnish sci-fi epic from 1983 by ...yes,
you guessed it....Pekka Virtanen, called: wait for it......oh
yeah.....catchy title: Katajanukke (Junipery Doll). If you have any idea
what I am talking about then you are a menace to "cool"...and if you ever
run into me on the street please stay away so I don't catch "weird Finn
The truth is I hate most of Jori's music. I mean, c'mon.....its
wack......it's indulgent, wierdo elctronic music targeting, well....
nobody...BUT, here is the mystery......he is a genius. Once you get thru the
string-soaked jazz-chord hell, you realize you are actually dealing with one
of the few real originals in dance music. Everyone SAYS they "play by their
own rules" but very few DO......and let me tell you one thing, not many
people have the balls to dress up in full Star Trek gear and rock an
electronic clarinet; it takes a certain kind of confidence to wear a patch
on Top Of The Pops, and then, under it all are the genius tracks, remixes,
and a stunning beauty and frailty waiting to be discovered. OH...and he
also discovered Scissor Sisters, I swear.
I told Jori so many times....please make me something I can PLAY. Just
something I will LIKE......don't go all mutant on us.....and then , he sent
us these four tracks: yes, they had stupid names, yes, they were a bit
odd.....but after a few listens it was clear they were VERY GOOD. And more
important than just being GOOD, they were JORI...and they were original.
"Original" is a dangerous word in music......it's something everyone throws
around...but in my days I have known very few...and Jori is one of the last
true electronic pioneers....never afraid to make a record everyone hates,
and in the process he makes records that everyone ends up loving....and
crucially HE loves. I have no idea how he lives in Turku all year without
going on a shooting spree, or why he likes pointy elf-shoes, or how I even
became friends with a Trekkie......but I thank god I did.....and I would not
change a thing because in this cookie-cutter world of myspace profiles and
generic souless music Jori is a dying breed, an artist, and a real
character who marches relentlessly to the sound of his own drums (and
Enjoy these 4 tracks of jori at his best. Dancefloor electronics from
finland. Never have so many vowels sounded this good.
Love from Turku VIA Montreal