Derrick May once described Jeff Mills: “He is always one step ahead and two on the left”. That is more than true.
Jeff Mills is one of the best examples of how a musician can be on the top for years, but at the same time staying true to a vision. Completely opposite to following the trends. When it comes to Dj-ing, not even changing the sound much within decades.
We all know how important the character of a sound is in electronic music. How can someone evolve without changing that core element? The way Mills is approaching music has enabled him exactly what Derrick May said when describing his colleague’s inventiveness.
Electronic music is relatively young and still an evolving thing. However, artists like Mills recognized the potential of this art form and the way that it can be developed.
Taking electronic music into the cinema
Mills’ very well established presence in the typical forms of DJing and producing has not limited him to explore and connect electronic music to other forms of art. Jeff Mills approaches to music like an alter ego that is opening different doors to creativity.
Two years ago, French director Jacqueline Caux made a documentary about Jeff Mills, “Man From Tomorrow”. The 45-minute film was set to premiere at the Louvre in Paris. Screenings were set for New York, and then Berlin, where both the director and Mills were attending.
As I reside in Berlin it was quite a treat to attend the screening and to see Mills outside of the party context. It was more than obvious that people expected something different. Maybe they did not expect anything but still found themselves surprised after the screening.
After the film ended, everyone still just remained seated, waiting for something… The reaction came a couple of moments later as it seems exploration of Mills’ music and conceptual ideas demanded some thinking time.
This is exactly what should be expected when an artist like Mills is involved.
Taking electronic music away from the club.
Jeff Mills consistently pushes the boundaries of Electronic Music we know today and probably tomorrow. What happens to be more and more interesting is taking electronic music away from the club.
In the below video Detroit techno legend and Axis label boss, explains his processes and intentions in taking electronic music into the cinema with Cinemix.