Saturday, June 16, 2012

DJ Mixes Revisited: Live At The Liquid Rooms Mixed By Jeff Mills

Arguably the most influential commercially-released techno mix, Jeff Mills' signifying statement of intent is an exilarating listen from start to finish, almost as much for the train wrecking, of which there is a bit, as the tunes. Mills mixes like a man possessed, you can almost feel the sweat dripping and the records being hastily unveiled and then summarily discarded, as each one contributes in no small way to the cut and thrust of this instinctive, intuitive performance. More than most, Mills puts on a show. His timing is otherworldly, his focus intense. . . . and you can feel this with very little effort.

Divided into three "segments" and featuring thirteen of his own tracks, the mix is a veritable mid-nineties techno document, featuring long gone partners in crime such as DJ Skull and Dan Morgan, as well as some who have only increased in importance through time, like Surgeon, Richie Hawtin (as Circuit Breaker) and Derrick May. There's nods to house, as visceral as it's possible to be, as well, with Joe T. Vanelli, Ian Pooley and the Traxmen all featuring. To single out individual moments is futile. Suffice to say that when I bought this mix I'd never seen Jeff play, so it was the first time I'd heard so many of his tunes in the mix, that in itself was special. 

He played at Fnac Bastille in Paris to promote it. I was there, late afternoon, along with at least a hundred others. Turntables, mixing desk, everything . . . was set up in the shop and we got a free hour set which remains one of my most memorable record shopping experiences to this day, even if Fnac just sold cds and a token amount of vinyl at the time. He played a set similar to that of the mix, but the biggest cheer was reserved for when he mixed in Thomas Bangalter's 'Trax On DA Rocks'.  . . .which was nice.

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