Jeff Mills / ‘Sequence: A Retrospective Of Axis Records’ (Book / USB / 2xCD)

Jeff Mills started off as a ‘Wizard’ in Detroit; following many nights of him DJing around the world he is the man who could be ‘King’. The first explosion of his deck skills on the world was his seminal mix CD Live at the Liquid Rooms, but unless you’d seen him DJ in the flesh, it was difficult to describe what you’d seen. This changed the first time anyone saw the Exhibitionist DVD. It didn’t matter if you were a hip-hop DJ in Australia, a techno head in Russia or even an old punk rocker in London; if you were in to ‘alternative music’ that DVD found it’s way in to your circle. All I remember thinking at the time is that you may know someone who can mix that fast on vinyl, but no one I’ve ever come across mixes that accurately and is able to go somewhere with it. You can stream a full section of it below, in the words of Monsta Funk “check out the three deck mixing skills then wonder if CDs and files are really the way to go.”

Production wise Jeff Mills has been relentless on pushing his own sound, and the extra-terrestrial comparisons are worthy. Mills speaks his own language with his music and has done so for his double decade career (in fact if you take into account his time in Final Cut and his DJ shows in Detroit, he’s been going for over 25 years). On a personal note, the Waveform Transmission releases were a game changer for me. You hear ‘timeless’ and ‘ahead of the curve’ thrown around a lot in music, but nothing sums up those terms more than the two Jeff Mills and one Robert Hood (under the moniker ‘The Vision’) long players that form a three part series.As a label-boss, DJ and producer, there’s probably no one we respect more in electronic music, and certainly no one who’s impacted the musical landscape the way he has, continuing to push themselves in to new territories and mediums.

Big ups Jeff Mills, each and every way. Jimmy Monsta Funk was given the task of breaking down his career in tracks – and there’s no way this list could’ve gotten any smaller.

via Jimmy Monsta Funk

DJ hero worship is a wide spread activity, however in the world of techno music when you really analyse the merits of each DJ, their music selection, their deck skills, their production output, one name will feature regularly on the ‘best ever’ lists and that name is Jeff Mills.

Here is a list of some of Jeff’s output, as a man who is as prolific as Prince, this list barely scratches the surface of what Jeff has been involved with since is early days as a radio jock in Detroit going by the name of The Wizard, through his tenure in groups such as Final Cut and Underground Resistance, then through is own solo output of tracks and remixes, finally being fully anoited as an artist legend with his forays into soundtracks and orchestra!

‪In 1989 this was the track that first introduced the talents of Jeff Mills to the UK as part of Final Cut:

From 1991, a track from his time with Underground Resistance, this gives you a glimpse not only of techno, but for his early love of industrial music:

The first release on Jeff’s own label Axis, this track features H (Robert Hood, another UR alumni) and M (Jeff Mills himself):

From his seminal long player Waveform Transmission Part 1, this cements the link between Detroit and Berlin and is released on the German label Tresor:‬

This is one of Jeff’s Purposemaker releases, done with the aim of being a DJ tool. The hypnotic nature of these records means they transcend the mere basic, and hearing Jeff phase two copies of these records in his DJ sets is always a joy to behold:

Put simply, this is one of the best techno mixes ever – Jeff Mills Live @ The Liquid Room – (here’s a portion):

This track could have been released in the last year, it was made in 1997 and show’s Jeff’s skill as a remixer!

This track is Jeff Mills’ ‘Kind of Blue’, ‘Fight The Power’ and ‘One Nation Under a Groove’ rolled into one, a complete game changer as far as techno is concerned, it’s a complete dancefloor destroyer:

This is Jeff’s first effort at creating a sound track to film. Given his love of retro-futurism, it’s no surprise that he chose the classic Fritz Lang film ‘Metropolis’ from 1927. I went to the screening of it in the Royal Festival Hall in London and it was a surreal experience. Not only were the people cheering throughout the screening (‘GO ON JEFF’!), but Jeff’s DJ set had to be cut very short as the audience stormed the stage!

And as a bonus, here is when Jeff got access to an orchestra to play his signature tune!:

2012 represented 20 years of Axis Records, the Jeff Mills founded and run label that changed music for a lot of us. Bizarre how futuristic and other worldly those original plates still sound, and how retro-futuristic the modern ones do too. Only a year before we celebrated 20 Years Of Planet E in style, and the fact that techno refuses to go stagnant and continually evolves in new directions is a statement of years to come. As a musical form it remains barely adolescent, but the core form of what would be considered dance music.

In regards to merchandise and promotional items Axis Records has taken their Motor City pride another step forward, offering up leather driving journals, motorcycle helmets and driving gloves all embossed with the Axis Records logo. The limited edition skateboards were also quite dope, but the personal favourites were the metal stamped tools of the trade in the form of Axis Records Tire Lug Wrench and the Axis Records 4 Piece Wrench Set.

Arguably less practical for work in the garage, but somewhat more accessible, as part of the 20th anniversary there’s a new coffee table book on offer, as well as a 2xCD compilation. Sequence: A Retrospective Of Axis Records is 320 pages of Axis Records aesthetic, ever-stunning and always unique. Proper collectors item this, just a beautiful offering that you’re going to hang on to and pass down in the years to come. The book comes with a USB of the thirty tracks or the 2xCD set depending where you pick it up from.

Limited – and proper limited, not ‘…to as many as we can repress’ limited – to 500 worldwide, cough up the cash for this one while you still can.

via Axis Records
“What started out as a dance music label evolved into a international force of creativity that is unquestionably responsible for the shape, color and textures of the Dance Music we know today and probably tomorrow. Formed in 1992 by the acclaimed Techno DJ producer and artist Jeff Mills, Axis remains one of the few independent labels that consistently pushes the boundaries of Electronic Music off the dance floors and into the Cosmos. Axis is the science of body and soul.

After 20 years of feverous activity, an archive of work and projects are assembled in this comprehensive collection of art, photographs and designs that certify the influence of vision, concept and production that many producers and DJs refer to then and now.”

USB Tracklist

01 The Art Of Barrier Breaking
02 G-Star
03 Gamma Player
04 Daphnis (Keeler’s Gap)
06 Unfastened And Floating
07 Le Mer Et C’est Un Caractere
08 Flying Machines
09 The New Arrivals
10 Perfecture
11 The Loss Of Power
12 Condor To Mallorca
13 Utopia
14 A Universal Voice That Speaks To All That Listen
15 Expanded A1
16 Microbe
17 Tracer 1
18 Time Slip (Unreleased Version)
19 Spiral Galaxy
20 The Industry Of Dreams
21 Life Cycle
22 The Bell
23 Star Chronicles – Orion Belt 3
24 Real Life
25 Automatic
26 The Dancer
27 Changes Of Life
28 See This Way
29 The Realist
30 Spider Formation