Jimi Sumén: Early FinnScene - Synthpop

Jouko "Jimi" Sumén (b. 1959), originally hailing from Lappeenranta, Finland, started as a Jimi Hendrix-styled virtuoso guitarist and won the Finnish Rock Championships of 1977 with his band called Dreams playing Hendrix covers, but then moved on to a totally different kind of musical territory, influenced by David Bowie and David Sylvian's Japan. '(No More) Home Movies' (1981) by Sumén became known as one of the first Finnish music videos.

Having also played at Pelle Miljoona's band from late 1981 to early 1982, Jimi Sumén performed in February 1982 as a warm-up act of the well-known British synth act Classix Nouveaux at the nightclub of Hotel Presidentti in Helsinki. After this Classix Nouveaux recruited Jimi Sumén to their ranks and he moved to live in England, where he played on their final album, Secret (1983).

After having returned to Finland, Sumén concentrated on a career of record producer for many Finnish rock acts. His 1993 solo album Paintbrush, Rock Penstemon stylistically approaches jazz. Jimi Sumén also played guitar in Sound & Fury, an ensemble led by the Finnish jazz legend Edward Vesala.

  • Jimi Sumén @ Discogs

  • Jimi Sumén @ Finnish Wikipedia

  • Jimi Sumen: 'Boys and Girls' - live 1982 video clip @ YLE Elävä Arkisto

    Thanks to Jarkko Kuivanen and Hannu Haahti for additional info and Mikko Niemelä for scans.


    NOTE: by clicking some images, you can see larger versions of them.

    LOVE RECORDS (Helsinki, Finland)


    Jimi Sumén
    Key West (LP)
    LRLP 259
    A1. Fleet Street 64
    A2. Your Day
    A3. Backroads
    A4. If It's Too Loud
    A5. 'Cause It's Not Too Late
    B1. Hammingway Sam
    B2. You're a Punk
    B3. Miami Mammie
    B4. Hillage Boogie
    B5. Night Time

    DIG IT (Helsinki, Finland)


    Jimi Sumén Projekt
    Screenplay (LP)
    DIG LP8
    A1: Screenplay (1:46)
    A2: Motor City (2:27)
    A3: China Speed (2:34)
    A4: Local Lust (2:40)
    A5: Movements (5:35)
    A6: Katsu! (3:34)
    B1: Scandinavian (3:18)
    B2: Cut Up (3:32)
    B3: Mister (4:26)
    B4: Swingin' London (3:39)
    B5: Isn't It Wild (3:59)

    Jimi Sumén Projekt
    Movements [edit] / Swingin' London (7") DIGS 109
    A: Movements (4:20)
    B: Swingin' London (3:39)

    Jimi Sumén: Vocals, guitar, keyboards
    Illi Broman: Drums
    Kari Virta: Keyboards
    Veijo Naakka: Bass
    Seppo Valjakka: Guitar
    Heikki Halme: Saxophone (on Swingin' London)

    Produced by Tapio Korjus

    Jimi Sumén
    Katsu (instrumental, 7")
    DIGS 116

    NOTE: one-sided single.


    Jimi Sumén
    (No More) Home Movies / Neon Life (7"/12")
    DIGS119 / DIGMX 120
    Dig It
    A. (No More) Home Movies (3:49)
    B. Neon Life (3:55)

    NOTE: different versions to the album; background vocals by Kaija Koo.

    /early/synth/jimi_sumen/jskeski2.jpg /early/synth/jimi_sumen/jskeski1.jpg

    Jimi Sumén
    The Model / Love Is A Liquid (7")
    DIGS 125
    Dig It
    A. The Model
    B. Love Is A Liquid


    Jimi Sumén
    Between Orient And Accidents
    Dig It DIGLP 16 (LP, 1981)

    A1: Chain Party (4:58)
    A2: The Model (4:19)
    A3: Home Movies (3:45)
    A4: Neon Life (4:27)
    A5: Rebel Rebel (3:18)
    B1: Love Is a Liquid (5:47)
    B2: Visitor's New Objects (3:12)
    B3: Tokyo Story (4:46)
    B4: The Other Side of Life (7:13)

    All songs by Sumén, except Rebel Rebel (D. Bowie) and The Other Side of Life (D. Sylvian).

    Review in Finnish.


    Jimi Sumén
    Paintbrush, Rock Penstemon (CD)
    CMP Records (Kreuzau)
    1. Crane
    2. Curtain of Twilight Shimmer
    3. Meant To Rippen Into Straw
    4. Deep As Maze
    5. Butterfly of Wisdom
    6. Jumpin' In Obscure Mind
    7. Paintbrush, Rock Penstemon
    8. Envelopes of Despair
    9. Berperest Brou

    All compositions by Edward Vesala. Recorded in Helsinki 1991-92.

    Jimi Sumén (g), Matti Riikonen (tp), Jorma Tapio (cl), Jouni K annisto (sax, fl), Tapani Rinne (cl), Jukka Orma (pipa), Iro Haarla (keyb), Edward Vesala (dr, perc, keyb, producer), Kari Kriikku (cl), Mark Nauseef (perc).; Pertti Päivinen (sax, fl).
    Featuring also: Vesala, Edward; Kriikku, Kari, (cl); Orma, Jukka, (pipa)


    JOHANNA (Helsinki, Finland)


    Various Artists
    The Art of Breeding (LP)
    JHN 3013
    B1. Jimi Sumén: Nowhere To Run (5:10)

    Produced by Jimi Sumén & Kari Kalén
    Engineers: J. Sumén, M. Groundstroem, M. Vikstedt
    Mixed by J. Sumén, Finnvox-Studios
    Cover painting: Val
    Cover design: Kari Kalén

    Jimi Sumén appears by kind permission of Rockadillo Records

    B1. Holland-Dozier, arr. by J. Sumén, J. Havanna, K. Kalén

    (P) Johanna Kustannus Oy
    except B1. © Stone Agate Music Division (BMI)
    (P) A.A.B. Tuotanto Oy 1983

    Documentary films

    Tosi tarina: Jimi Sumén – sairaus parantaa ("True story: Jimi Sumén - how the disease cures")
    Produced and directed by Tommi E. Virtanen and Lari Seppälä.

    Trailer @ YouTube

    A short TV documentary for Finnish Broadcasting Corporation on Jimi Sumén's career and his later struggle with multiple sclerosis.

    "Jouko 'Jimi' Sumén was one of the brightest Finnish rockstars in the 1980s. He was a chameleon who dazzled with his virtuoso and confounded audiences with his surprising sound solutions. Known as a hard-working man, following the cliché of 'sex, drugs and rock'n'roll' and giving no thought to his home and family as his life was filled with tours and studio sessions, only when he fell ill with MS disease, Sumén had to stop to consider who he really is. After personal contemplation he felt how the disease had cured him from the narcissistic rock life.

    His wife Sari and his children, Julian and Tesla, hold now the most important place in Jimi's life. It has marked also a new musical beginning.

    Even though MS disease causes muscular weakness and the subsequent lack of coordination, gradually making the patient wheelchair-bound, Jimi hasn't given up. He has developed a new technique of playing and with that the musical creativity has been within his reach again. The regrouping of Sound & Fury with its comeback tour has meant a great challenge for Jimi. Physically every gig can be an extreme ordeal. On the other hand, musically Sumén feels he's more mature than ever and plays -- at least in his own mind -- better than ever. The chameleon has found the exact chord he's been looking for."

    (From the introduction for the documentary.)

    Jimi Sumén image 1 Jimi Sumén image 2 Jimi Sumén image 3 Jimi Sumén image 4 Jimi Sumén image 5 Jimi Sumén image 6

    Listen: Jimi Sumén YouTube playlist by pHinnWeb

    [FinnScene Early: Synthpop] [FinnScene - The Early Years]