Jeff Mills  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Jeff Mills (born 18 June 1963 in Detroit, USA) is an influential African-American Techno DJ and producer from Detroit.

Contents

Life

In the course of the eighties Mills was an influential radio DJ on WJLB under the pseudonym The Wizard. Mills' sets were a highlight of the nightly show from "The Electrifying Mojo," Charles Johnson. Complimenting Mojo's eclectric playlists, Mills would do advanced DJ Tricks like beat juggling and scratching while mixing obscure Detroit Techno, Miami Bass, Chicago house and classic New Wave tracks both live and using a multi track when pre recorded.

In going on to create his own music Jeff Mills is credited with laying the foundations for legendary Detroit Techno collective, Underground Resistance, alongside 'Mad' Mike Banks, a former Parliament bass player. Just like Public Enemy did some years before in hip hop, these men confronted the mainstream music industry with revolutionary rhetoric. Dressed in uniforms with skimasks and black combat suits, they were ‘men on a mission’, aiming at giving techno more content and meaning.

Mills would never leave UR officially, but later on he still went his own way. He moved to New York and after a short stay in Berlin (Tresor) ended up in Chicago. There in 1992, with Robert Hood, he set up his most important record label, Axis, aiming for a simpler more minimal sound than most of the techno being produced in those years. Later sub-labels were announced Purposemaker, Tomorrow, and 6277.

His albums and EPs are mostly separate tracks of his compositions, which Mills would mix into the live DJ sets for which he became a legend. Mills has been credited for his exceptional turntable skills. Tracks are almost chopped to bits to showcase the strongest fragments for his relentless sound collages. Three decks, a Roland 909 drum-machine and seventy records in one hour: at breakneck speed Mills manipulates beats and basslines, vinyl and frequencies. The live album Mix-Up Volume 2 is a highly-regarded example of Mills' 1990's stage show (recorded at the Liquid Room in Tokyo). For a later live show (in 2004) try the 'Exhibitionist' album.

More recently he appears to be taking extended forays into epic techno (such as his re-scoring of Metropolis (which he performed live with the original film) and his 16 September 2004 7 hour set with Laurent Garnier at Fabric. The epic proportions were further extended when his 2006 album Blue Potential was recorded with the Montpellier Philharmonic Orchestra under Alain Altinoglu. There is a DVD of the concert at which the album was recorded, an opportunity to see Mills in action, live on stage.

Releases

Albums

  • 1992 Waveform Transmission - Volume 1
  • 1994 Waveform Transmission - Volume 3
  • 1996 Mix-Up Volume 2 Live at the Liquid Room (a live DJ set)
  • 1996 Purpose Maker Compilation
  • 1997 The other Day
  • 1999 From the 21st
  • 2000 Every Dog Has Its Day
  • 2000 Metropolis (soundtrack to the Fritz Lang film)
  • 2000 The Art of Connecting
  • 2000 Lifelike
  • 2002 Actual
  • 2002 At First Sight
  • 2004 Exhibitionist (a live DJ set, also available as a DVD)
  • 2004 Choice: A Collection of Classics
  • 2005 The Three Ages (new soundtrack to the Buster Keaton film)
  • 2005 Contact Special
  • The Mission Objective (2005) (a live DJ set)
  • 2006 Blue Potential

Axis

  • AX-001 - Tranquilizer (Mills & Hood)
  • AX-003 - One man spaceship
  • AX-004 - Mecca
  • the Mills and Hood 'Drama' EP from 1994 has now been re-released/enhanced as AX-041 Suspense/Dramatized
  • AX-006 - More Drama
  • AX-008 - Cycle 30
  • AX-009 - AX-009 Series
  • AX-010 - Growth
  • AX-011 - Purpose Maker
  • AX-012 - Humana
  • AX-015 - Other Day EP
  • AX-016 - Very (first released vinyls were perfume-scented to 'enhance the idea of influence through interaction'
  • AX-018 - Tomorrow EP
  • AX-019 - Apollo
  • AX-020 - Every Dog has its Day
  • AX-021 - Lifelike EP
  • AX-022 - Metropolis
  • AX-023 - Every Dog has its Day Vol. 2
  • AX-024 - UFO / 4 Art
  • AX-026 - Every Dog has its Day Vol. 3
  • AX-030 - Every Dog has its Day Vol. 4
  • AX-036 - See the Light Part 1
  • AX-037 - See the Light Part 2
  • AX-038 - See the Light Part 3
  • AX-040 - The Tomorrow Time Forgot
  • AX-043 - Time Mechanic (EP) (
  • AX-044 - Blade Runner (EP) (inspired by the Ridley Scott film)
  • AX-103 - Thera EP (1992)

Purpose Maker

Purpose Maker is a funky tribal techno label from Jeff Mills.

  • PM-001 - Java
  • PM-002 - Kat Moda
  • PM-003 - Force Universelle
  • PM-004 - Our Man in Havanna
  • PM-005 - Steampit
  • PM-006 - Vanishing Act
  • PM-007 - Live Series
  • PM-008 - Skin Deep
  • PM-009 - If/Tango
  • PM-010 - Circus
  • PM-012 - Jetset
  • PM-014 - Electrical Experience
  • PM-015 - Divine
  • PM-016 - Kana
  • PM-020 - The Bells [10th Anniversary]
  • PM-021 - Natural World
  • PMWCD9601 - Purpose Maker Compilation [CD]
  • PMWLP9601 - Purpose Maker Compilation [2xLP]

Tomorrow

  • TW-001 - Preview EP
  • TW-300 - Sculptures 1-3 CD
  • TW-400 - Europa CD
  • TW-800 - Time Machines CD

6277

  • MISSION 01 Elektrabel - Elektrabel EP 2003
  • MISSION 02 Hieroglyphic Being - Du Commencement A L'Eternite 2004
  • MISSION 03 Elektrabel - Crocks EP 2005
  • MISSION 04 Elektrabel - For Various Reasons 2005
  • MISSION 05 Sub Space - First Step EP 2005
  • MISSION 06 Zachary Lubin - Controllability 2005
  • MISSION 07 Various artists (Jeff Mills Mix) - The objective Mission [Top Secret] 2005
  • MISSION 08 Trefa - Elektrabel 2006
  • MISSION 09 Ben Gibson - No Signify EP 2006
  • MISSION 10 CounterPart - The Martian Mystique 2006
  • MISSION 11 Johannes Volk - The Mysteries Of Tharsis Montes 2006

Tresor Records

  • Waveform Transmission Vol. 1
  • The Extremist
  • Waveform Transmission Vol. 3
  • Waveform Transmission Vol. 3 (Detroit Cut)
  • Atlantis (under moniker X-103)




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Jeff Mills" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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