Jeff Mills: the spaceship lands in Milan
New season of Magazzini Generali keep on for the celebration of its 25th birthday. On November 15th is the turn of the techno legend of Detroit: Jeff Mills.
Innovator, prophet, iconic artist. Dozens of transversal projects between the arts. Deeply inhabited by science-fiction, Jeff Mills adopts his ideas, concepts, stories and esthetics from the outset. For him Space is an obsession and his music almost becomes a musical science-fiction. Conquering space his music embodies the future while both respecting the past and remaining well into the present.
1991 – 2018 in short
Jeff Mills is a founding member of Underground Resistance, a techno collective that he started with former Parliament bass player ‘Mad’ Mike Banks. The group embraced revolutionary rhetoric and only appeared in public dressed in ski masks and black combat suits. Mills never “officially” left the group, but did begin to pursue his own ventures outside of the collective.
Mills left Underground Resistance in 1991 to pursue his own ventures. He relocated from Detroit, first to New York, then Berlin (as a resident at the Tresor club), and then Chicago. There in 1992, with fellow Detroit native Robert Hood, he set up the record label Axis. Mills keeps on fusing his love for music and image. Reframing his extraordinary DJing skills in 2004 when he released “The Exhibitionist”, a real-time, unedited films capturing Mills in creative DJ motions.
Mills released Blue Potential in 2006, a live album of him playing with the 70 piece Montpelier Philharmonic Orchestra in 2005. The album was a remix for classical interpretation, following musical acts such as Radiohead. In 2013, he released Where Light Ends, an album inspired by the Japanese astronaut Mamoru Mohri and his first trip to space. In 2018, Mills recorded E.P. Tomorrow Comes The Harvest with legendary afro-jazz drummer Tony Allen.
Film, soundtracks, and documentary
Mills performed a live set in January 2015 at the Jewish Community Center in San Francisco, California. The set was performed with four turntables to create a cinemix soundtrack for Woman in the Moon, the 1929 silent film from Fritz Lang. The set was performed during a screening of the film at the center. Mills has previously completed work highlighting Lang’s career, including composing, performing, and releasing a soundtrack to Lang’s 1927 silent film Metropolis, releasing the soundtrack in 2000.
Mills became involved in film with the help of French filmmaker Jacqueline Caux. He helped Caux produce the film Man From Tomorrow, a documentary about techno music that featured Mills. He continued in the film industry with the release of the independent film Life to Death and Back which he shot in the Egyptian wing of the Louvre Museum in France, the same museum where he had a four-month residency.
In 2017 the French Minister of Culture Jack Lang awarded Mills the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres for his services to the arts.
Mills is also an artist and has shown his works at exhibits internationally. His works have included “Man of Tomorrow,” a portrait of Mills that shows his perception of the future as well as “Critical Arrangements” exhibited at Pompidou Centre in 2008 as a part of “Le Futurisme à Paris – une avant-garde explosive.” One of his most notable works was exhibited in 2015. Known as “The Visitor,” it was a sculpture of a drum machine inspired by a UFO sighting in Los Angeles from the 1950s.