Review: (180g Axis Audiophile Series / color label/ black generic jacket) Including audio commentary by Jeff Mills himself. "Looking back in hindsight to the activity and accomplishments of Axis is with much pride - to witness the relationship between the music and listener evolving to this point. The Director's Cut reissue project is about manicuring detail. It's about a rare opportunity to enhance what we've done so that the relationship strengthens for the long term" - Jeff Mills
Review: The Wizard is getting a little reflective in his old age. While still remaining one of the Motor City's premier futurists, Mills has decided to inaugurate a series built around overlooked or hard-to-find gems from his vast back catalogue. He begins volume one by offering up a stomping and mind-altering "Unreleased Version" of 1993 horror-techno cut "Suspense", before allowing us a second chance to enjoy the off-kilter rhythms, dystopian electronics and melancholic organ chords of 1995 classic "Gamma Player". Over on side B, you'll find the metallic, industrial style percussion, deep space riffs and thrusting drums of "Transformation B (Rotwang's Revenge)" and what appears to be an alternative version of "Exhibitionist 2" track "Hydra & Synergy". The latter is arguably the most "sci-fi techno" cut on the EP.
The Industry Of Dreams (Jeff Mills Commentary) (1:52)
Review: For those new to Jeff Mills' vast - and largely incredible - back catalogue, the Director's Cut series should be essential. Like its predecessors, this fourth volume gathers together various versions of killer cuts previously produced and released by the Motor City legend over the past two decades. Highlights include deep space techno workout "Deadly Rays (Of A Hot White Sun)", the densely layered African percussion, low slung bass and echoing organ stabs of "Gateway Of Zen (Percussion Mix)", the bleep-heavy electro/techno fusion of sweaty workout "999" and the alien-sounding, minor-key hypnotism of "The Industry Of Dreams". Each track is accompanied by a separate "audio commentary" from the man himself, which is ideal for those who love to hear artists talking about their work.
Review: "Looking back in hindsight to the activity and accomplishments of Axis is with much pride - to witness the relationship between the music and listener evolving to this point. The Director's Cut reissue project is about manicuring detail. It's about a rare opportunity to enhance what we've done so that the relationship strengthens for the long term" - Jeff Mills
Review: For those who dig Jeff Mills but don't have the time or money to hoard records from his extensive back catalogue, the ongoing "Director's Cut" series showcasing hard-to-find gems from his discography is a godsend. Volume five begins with a trip back to 2015 and "Solar Cycles" - an alien-sounding, otherworldly mid-tempo techno loop jam - from the limited edition, USB-only "Proxima Centauri" album. Side B begins with the bleeping tribal techno hustle of "L8" from 1998's "Skin Deep EP", before Mills offers us a chance to drift through space via 2006 track "Above Waiting Worlds", which is one of his most intergalactic and cinematic dancefloor cuts to date (and that's saying something).
Review: Back in 2016, legendary Afrobeat drummer Tony Allen approached techno pioneer Jeff Mills with the idea of working together. A series of live gigs and off-the-radar studio sessions followed, with the first fruits of their joint efforts finally appearing on this must-have 10". As you'd expect, the duo's collaborative work combines Allen's traditional Nigerian polyrhythms, traditional Afrobeat instrumentation, and the far-sighted, sci-fi inspired electronic futurism that has always marked out Mills' work. The result is a quartet of cuts that could arguably be described as retro-futurist Afro-tech - all delay-laden beats, basslines and organs subtly sparring with gentle acid lines, Motor City electronics, beguiling deep space textures and shimmering, 31st century motifs. It's arguably Allen's stylistic contributions that dominate, but that's no bad thing.
Review: Eleven years ago Jeff Mills' Exhibitionist DVD undertook a rather ambitious project. An audio visual presentation where from varying camera angles, viewers got to witness the sheer dexterity of Mills' DJing style across three decks and a 909, warts and all. The second volume promises more of the same across two DVDs and a CD. So expect some epic mixes and the opportunity to witness The Wizard in true form in collaboration with a live drummer and even an interpretive dancer! But best of all; hear some brand new tracks, all exclusive to the mix. They're captured right here on this 12", the second volume. Hearing him do 303 acid over his typical 909 jam sounds as brilliant as you'd expect on "Studio Take 1" and "Studio Extra". On "Studio Take 3 & 4" he goes for the classic Axis sound complete with Millsian bleeps and dreamy pads and all with the trademark metallic hiss and crack of the 909, lurking in the background. Don't miss this.
Review: Given that Star Marked is a new sub-label from legendary Detroit Techno stable Axis, it's perhaps fitting that boss man Jeff Mills presents the debut release. Mills has yet to fully explain the ethos behind this new spin-off imprint, though by the sounds of the four contained tracks we're guessing a sharp dancefloor focus is part of the blueprint. There's plenty of variety on show, too, with the slamming, hypnotizing intensity of opener "Albali" - think metronomic kick-drums, sci-fi sweeps and a restless, minor key motif - being followed by the deep, melodious and dreamy, house-tempo goodness of "Patterns In Nature". There's a similar approach on the flip, where the dystopian techno throb of "Helix Nebula" makes way for the off-kilter deep space electro of "Aquarius". It's all superb, of course, but we expect little less from the masterful Mills.
Review: Some 20 years after "If" first hit stores, Jeff Mills has decided to get his old pal Terrence Parker to remix it. He's done a rather good job, with both versions making great use of Mills' ghostly original chord sequences and two different variations on the mesmerizing, seemingly drifting scat-style vocals that was arguably the track's most memorable feature. The A-side "Vox Soul Mix" includes new vocals in the original style by Marachka, whose haunting but soulful improvisations brilliantly rise above metronomic techno drums, spacey effects and those now famous chords. The similar sounding "Original Remix" is a little tougher and weightier, with tooled-up percussion (check the restless hi-hats) underpinning Anna F's original scat vocal and Mills' ethereal, ambient style chords.
Review: Given his stargazing, intergalactic ethos, it's perhaps unsurprising that sci-fi techno overlord Jeff Mills has decided to mark the 50th anniversary of the Apollo XI moon landing by releasing an album containing his musical "interpretations of Earth's moon". As you'd expect from an artist of Mills' standing, it's a very good album. Evocative, atmospheric and hugely spacey - this is Jeff Mills after all - the seven-track set moves from scene-setting, string-laden ambient ("Control, Satva and Rama") to sparse, acid-flecked dub techno ("Electromagnetic") via a string of fine cuts that variously touch on electro-fired broken techno ("Stabilizing The Spin"), Steve Reich style minimalism (the brilliant "Lunar Power"), and semi-orchestral electronic positivity ("The Tides").
Review: Given his length of service and the sheer volume of music he's put out, it would be fair to say that a Jeff Mills career retrospective is well overdue. Happily, as "best of" compilations go, "Sight, Sound & Space" is up there with the best. The three discs boast no less than 42 tracks plucked from Mills archives - and those of his Axis Records imprint - with the accompanying 50-page booklet containing detailed commentary on each by the man himself. It's a superb package for both fans and newcomers alike, with the decidedly intergalactic and alien-sounding tracks perfectly summarizing the breadth and depth of his far-sighted work (think Motor City techno anthems, heavy loop jams, sci-fi fuelled electronic soundscapes, neo-classical soundtrack comp, heady ambient works and early morning minimalist club jams).
Review: Jeff Mills, the legendary Detroit techno pioneer who has been praised and worshipped by everyone club kid over the age of 18 since the late 80s, has focussed his efforts more on the classical side of music in more recent years. His gigs at the Barbican over the last few years, for example, are the shows to which he's dedicated most of his attention to, and it somehow all makes perfect sense. Although legendary tunes like "The Bells" or "Amazon" are straight-up dance floor bombs, there has always been a feeling that Mills' tunes were composed of something more than mere kick drums and monophonic instruments. This new album, Planets, sees the artist showcase the role of science fiction and of an imagined order prominently, something he's always been fascinated with. The likes of "Mercury", "Venus", "Earth" and the rest of the cosmos make more sense here than they do in the academic books; much like the great Sun Ra, it's almost as if these artists have found a simpler, more instinctive way to transmit the power of the universe. And that's through sound. The price might seem hefty, but this will be regarded as a very important release in the future. A fantastic journey through space and time.