In 2018, the idea was introduced by Jeff Mills to address the lack of artistic collaborations within and from the city of Detroit/USA. The city had always been an engine of new innovative ideas related to music, art, dance, poetry and all other arts. It was thought of as a way to demonstrate the commonality people possess from various art forms and that by mixing ideas visions and perspectives together are might produce unexpected and often provocative results. The project started when Mills reached out to one of Detroit Techno’s founder and legendary DJ/Producer Eddie Fowlkes. Though the two are known and connected to Detroit Techno and knew each other for decades, they never worked together so the first few meetings and conversations were marked with finding all the common links that have built both of their careers. During this time, Mills wanted to find a third person for the project, one that was from Detroit, but not a musician. His idea and theory was that by engaging two other creative thinkers would most likely produce something unique as emotions would become linked together to find that common, but higher level. While browsing the web, Mills discovered a post that featured the Detroit-born poet Jessica Care Moore. Struck by her words and the energy she mastered to say them, Mills knew immediately that she would be the perfect artist to approach for this creative venture. As with most artists that grew up in Detroit, they immediately opened up the links in their past, present and future outlook. He presented the case and explained to her how he thought it might work. She liked the idea and agree to join. “The Crystal City Is Alive” (A phrase extracted from Moore’s words), puts the Detroit, America and the World on notice. The alarm has sounded and it is now time to mobilize all creative units to the frontline.
Jeff Mills continues the Every Dog Has Its Day series under his Millsart moniker with his second edition of 2020. Vol. 6 is a double LP set with nine tracks. Every track has a story behind. This collection of Electronic Music by Jeff Mills is uniquely crafted to ease restlessness, soothe impatience and at the same time build high life expectations while opening the passages to a better understanding of what you are searching for.
This New Year, Jeff Mills is inviting us to look inward in the form of his Every Dog Has Its Day series. The last time we had an installment came 17 years ago, just enough time for a periodical cicada to emerge from theground, finished with its former life as a nymph. The sixth edition of this series is soon to follow in spring dressed in brown, continuing to deliver a spiritual and emotional raft for you to see that Every Dog Has Its Day. Mills himself has said, “You never figure out life, you just get used to it.” Reflected in this record is that sentiment, that life doesn’t present to you the answers because there are none. What is right and just for you, may not be for me, so how can I share with you any secrets. Electronic music can act as a guide, a catalyst of your headspace; it is not the map.
The sixth segment in Jeff Mills´ retrospective series „The Directors Cut” is dedicated to his anthem The Bells. First released as part of the Kat Moda PM002 EP on the Purpose Maker label in 1997, the original track is remastered and available now again. Available on vinyl for the very first time is the orchestra version of The Bells, taken from The Blue Potential (Originally released on CD and DVD). The premiere of Jeff Mills performing his works with an orchestra was celebrated in 2005 in France. For his open-air concert with the Montpellier Philharmonic Orchestra, at the historic Pont Du Gard in Montpellier, Jeff Mills´works were transcribed in notes for the individual instruments of the orchestra for the first time. This version of The Bells captures an unforgettable live moment where electronic music met classical in an unprecedented way. History revisited, but Mills leads back to present & future as well; the previously unreleased The Homosapiens Sapiens is a Sci-Fi affair, created especially for this chapter of „Directors Cut.”
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).
His knowledge of electronic music is unrivaled, yet it’s his understanding of how we’ve barely scratched the surface of techno that separates him. The genre, in essence, has no boundaries, so why should we apply them, why can’t we foresee a future in which electronic music is tapping into technology and human psyche that we never thought possible? Why can’t it be a vessel that transports a viewer to a character in a film, or a link through time? A look back can often pave the way to the future, one in which we can see and hear beyond the final frontier.
Interview and text by Lee Shields
The fourth chapter from Axis Records’ The Director’s Cut re-issue project 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.
”Commemorating 50th Anniversary of the Moon landing (July 20 2019) Axis Records is pleased to announce the release of the album by Jeff Mills on his interpretations of Earth’s Moon. ”There are influences of the Moon we can detect, measure and document as scientific facts. If these are perceived as rational explanations, then it should raise questions about the possibility of other unseen mental and metaphysical connections humans have, not just with the Moon but with all other celestial bodies in and outside this Solar System. On the flipside, as we recognize that our Sun gives us light and a lifespan, what does an even greater force in the Cosmos, perhaps the darkness [or absence of anything] affects us. If we look at the Moon as a component in a vast configuration of integral connected parts, then an intuitive sense might lead us to a wider understanding about how deeply our relationship lies. This album and the imagination that helped to produce it should be considered as a proposition with open-endedness and no foreseeable conclusion. It is a chemistry of facts and feelings based on then, now and forever”. Jeff Mills”
Four track EP containing 2 remastered cuts and two unreleased tracks by Jeff Mills on his own Axis label. Note by Jeff Mills: ”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”
The second chapter from Axis Records’ The Director’s Cut re-issue project. Jeff Mills goes back into the Axis archive to release special unreleased versions as well as iconic tracks that made the label what it is today.
”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
The first release of a new Axis sub-label by Jeff Mills entitled ‘Star Marked’ with 4 tracks of Jeff Mills trademark techno tracks.
With just a few days from the current year left, I’ve compiled a list of 20 albums from 2018 that I enjoyed this year. Among these I have to highlight the much anticipated Mutant Beat Dance debut album, the first ever album from Gerard Hanson under the E.R.P. project, a new Gerald Donald project and a compilation of unreleased Heinrich Mueller remixes, a Silent Servant follow-up on Hospital Productions, a very interesting Fred Ventura compilation of unreleased house tracks, a new Lebanon Hanover, the beautiful debut album of Curses, the impressive Eindkrak album and the debut album of the Romanian producer Șerb.
The list is compiled in chronological order.
Eindkrak – Brullend Staal [Unknown Precept]
Waveform Transmission Vol.3 initially came out in 1994 on Tresor Records. The eight titles on the album marked a turning point for Jeff Mills. It indicates a transition from the straightforward sound he had created through the early 1990’s, into the different facets and sound pallet he will develop through the remainder of the decade. It is a significant piece within Jeff Mills’ masterwork.
As Electronic Music knows no creative boundaries, Spiral Deluxe is clearly a profound and convincing example of what is possible in the times we live in today. Traditionally, they would be considered a musical quartet. Each of the 4 members contributing to make a special joint effort – the meeting of minds from different spectrums of the musical sphere, but if you move in closer to examine how each have modified the way they communicate in order to play with each other, its astonishing because it shows a entirely new platform on how collaborating can be from now on. A longtime vision of their drummer/percussionist and Jeff Mills – yes, that Jeff Mills! Before becoming the world renown and groundbreaking DJ, producer and artist he is recognized for, he was a drummer in his youth, which carried on up until he began DJing in the late 1970s. Since then, he had always carried idea to get back to his musical roots. This longtime dream began to surface a few years ago when Mills was bestowed a “white card” residency at the Museum du Le Louvre in Paris. It was there that he found the opportunity to form a band for one night and it opened the doors to a chance to materialize his dream. Since then, the formation has carefully evolved into one might describe as a “super band” – a group of highly skilled musicians, working together to reach a higher level of creativity. For example, although members are using electronic instruments, there is no MIDI syncing connection. Each plays their instrument un-attached as if any Jazz or Rock band would play together. Each having a vast amount of experience in live and studio projects, this release displays their wealth of skill and musical knowledge that comes from Jazz, Funk, Pop, Gospel, Detroit Techno and all forms of House Music. Yumiko Ohno – Keyboard, Gerald Mitchell – Keyboard, Kenji “Jino” Hino – Bass Guitar, Jeff Mills – Drums and Percussion.
We are heading to Toulouse this weekend to catch the last representation of Jeff Mills’ new conceptual electronic-classical project, ‘Lost In Space‘, which is a collaboration with Orchestre National Du Capitole De Toulouse.
Jeff Mills in cooperation with Orchestre du Capitole present Lost In Space
Last year, Jeff Mills provided the soundtrack for a curious Japanese film by Tatsushi Omori called And Then There Was Light. The movie was based on a novel called Hikari, which focuses on a teenager who kills his girlfriend’s other lover while mistaking their affair for sexual assault. The dark tone of both novel and film naturally shines through in Mills’ refreshingly electronic score, which flits between moments of quietly spacey ambience, creepy intensity, Reichian minimalism (see “Danger From Abroad”), icy soundscapes, industrial strength intensity (the panicked “The Players of Consequence” and “Lost Winners”) and, on the “Hikari Mix” of “The Hypnotists”, full-throttle Detroit techno with Giallo overtones.
It has been 4 years since I made the last ‘review of the year …’ or ‘best of … ‘ list and it was not planned for 2017, but looking back at last year somehow the music scene shifted in a good way. From the music point of view, I think we are living better times now, we can see a revival of the old school electro and acid house, afrobeat is still hot, EBM is going strong.