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Jeff Mills

Time Machine (Axis / Tomorrow)

Jeff Mills, one of techno's originators, is also one of its most prolific innovators. His rhythmic, machinistic techno-soul is at the very heart of the four-to-the-floor "Detroit sound", and some of his most recent releases continue to expand upon the genre's futuristic vision of tomorrow. In fact, Mills started a new label in 1999 called Tomorrow. The first release of which, the "Preview" 12", contained a statement of purpose that read, "...tomorrow is a perfect reason to strive. we see it as a new chance in the system of growth..." Growing as an artist has always been at the center of his thematic approach to his work, and he continues to do so, taking on bigger challenges, which have recently included scoring soundtracks to science-fiction's classic works of futurism.

Last year Jeff Mills composed a score for Fritz Lang's 1926 silent film, 'Metropolis', for the German label Tresor, and this year he looks to science-fiction's written word for inspiration with his new release "Time Machine", another inspired soundtrack based on the classic novel by H.G. Wells. However, Mills has also included a 10-page booklet with the cd that provides the listener with an alternate, imaginary starting point.

"...through the advance made in technology and the acute sense of futurism by the youth of today, we can capture the minds and expand the imagination..."
Jeff Mills has the right sound for this sort of experiment. It's perhaps a bit supercilious, but his "Time Machine" soundtrack works well from the get-go, opening with what sounds like a view-screen clicking on, the buzz of which retains it's hum throughout the disc, as if this aural encounter is experienced through some sort of advanced technology.

Musically, any Jeff Mills fan will not be let down, especially those fans, like myself, who have become fond of his increasingly soft, jazzy side. The drum programming is pure Mills, a simple, old-school sound of skillfully-crafted kick drum and high hats. Repetitive, but infectious. "Time Machine" is one of his more synth-y releases, really beautiful at times, with washes of soulful chords that zoom past like hovercraft, and bouncy synth melodies that dance in time to the groove. The soundtrack is spread out between 13 tracks of seamless sound, including some ambient numbers that provide effective transitions between his more rhythmic movements.

With "Time Machine", Jeff Mills has found the right combination of classic, detroit soul and self-inspired science-fiction, to transport the listener back to the future.

- SK

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