Producing and reproducing crisply delineative yet densely rhythmic textural techno, Detroit-bred DJ/producer Jeff Mills weaves a nuanced mesh of pointillist percussion, ominous ambience, and undulating synths with pinpoint accuracy. His mixes are considered "minimalist" because they don't rely on the push and pull of peak-and-valley pump. Like snow flurries, his selections are blended into a blanketing whole, but when closely studied each element is revealed to be imbued with individualistic pocks and clicks.
Twenty years after he first began his career, Mills can still show the new generation a thing or two, which he literally plans to do with the forthcoming release of his Exhibitionist CD/DVD. "I've had this idea to feature segments of a DJ in creative motion ... since my days in Underground Resistance," he says. Both mediums capture him blazing through a three-turntable session of sleek mechanized soul in one take. On the DVD, Mills -- who has scored Fritz Lang's Metropolis and recently worked on a soundtrack for Buster Keaton's The Three Ages -- takes it a step further, offering the viewer three camera angles to choose from as he weaves together a comprehensive overview of his work on his own Axis, Purpose Maker, and Tomorrow labels. "It may seem like a lot," he reflects. "But I figured it out and I feature only one-third of all the music I produced in the last ten years."
Now incorporating interactive video technology on his first-ever full-scale tour of America as a techno DJ, Mills -- a member of the international underground elite who logs time in Tokyo, Paris, and Berlin -- certainly has a lot to show for a "minimalist."
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Jeff Mills performs on Sunday, March 7, at B.E.D. See listings for more info.