Jeff Mills, The Good Robot

000z73cxThanks, Lithuania!

[Axis]


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Like death and taxes, Jeff Mills is something of an inevitability. Restlessly creative and prolific even now, more than 20 years after his first release, Mills shows no signs of slowing down, and may just be learning some new tricks at this late stage in the game. Always a vinyl purist — Mills’ famed three-turntable DJ sets are legendary — the Axis and Purpose Maker label boss has recently signed a deal with Beatport to make his tracks available digitally for the first time, even taking the opportunity to issue unreleased bonus tracks (somewhat irking his fellow vinyl purists, of course). With his embracing of today’s technology at long last, Mills’ legendary obsessions with sci-fi and futurism are appropriately on full display on his first release of 2009, “The Good Robot.” Which, of course, is not available digitally.

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The five-track EP displays all of Mills’ best characteristics in spades: beatless ambient tools (the orchestrated “Replicant” and the shambling “Visage”) sit side by side with relentless, driving loop-driven techno that’s at once minimal in movement and dense in construction (thus the term “Millsian minimalism”), begging DJs to buy a spare copy for the crate to mix the two styles. Even though the EP relies on what has become somewhat formulaic construction for Mills, it is still capable of thrilling the ear. The hyperactive clanging bells and swooping/reversed noises that punctuate “Things To Know About Your Robot” are stunning, as are the pulsing phasers in the tune’s breakdown, the bleep-bloopy percussion riffs and hidden countermelodies of the title track, all deftly evincing that Mills hasn’t taken to resting on his laurels just yet. Closer “A Reluctant Compliance” brings Mills’ two styles together, as mellow digital tones and a skittering, echoic, low-profile beat combine in a musical expression of the cold, clinical beauty of robotics in smooth, efficient motion. If you haven’t checked out Jeff Mills’ music in a while — or ever — you’re missing out on a true master at work. He hasn’t yet lost a step.

bakh inamov  on May 12, 2009 at 4:30 AM

nice image

where’d you get it?

littlewhiteearbuds  on May 12, 2009 at 9:07 AM

Just one of the image boards I usually troll.

Todd  on May 12, 2009 at 11:13 AM

Haven’t heard anything that Jeff has put out in the last decade; this is sounding beautiful, so thanks for the tip.

hutlock  on May 12, 2009 at 12:00 PM

Yeah, I think a lot of folks are in the same boat as you, Todd. I VERY highly recommend his Contact Special series too, if you can track down either the original 7″ sets or (more practical) the Japanese CD version that Mills sells direct at the Axis Web store for a very reasonable price.

altichyre  on June 26, 2009 at 11:53 AM

In my opinion the absolute best Jeff Mills release is Every Dog Has It’s Day Volume 4. Extremely pure.

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