Origin: United States
Jeff Mills, along with Robert Hood, Carl Craig, and Joey Beltram, is one of the biggest American names in techno. Championed for his music’s relentless pursuit of hardness and his intense, almost industrial DJ sets (often utilizing three or four turntables or CD decks and a drum machine), Mills is one of the most significant figures in a long line of Detroit-bred talent to earn an international reputation. A founding member of noted Motor City institution Underground Resistance, Mills helped build the artist roster and label ideology (as well as much of its back catalog) with partners “Mad” Mike Banks and Robert “Noise” Hood during the late ’80s and early ’90s. He then moved to New York and eventually to Chicago to pursue his solo and DJ career more vigorously (with a resident spot at the legendary Limelight and a recording contract with the noted German label Tresor, kicked off with the 1992 full-length Waveform Transmission, Vol. 1). Mills’ UR-related releases (including “The Punisher” and “Seawolf”) are stripped-down and erratic, fusing elements of hardcore acid and industrial techno to the sparse Detroit aesthetic. Subsequent releases for his own Axis labels are more abstract, while releases on the Purpose Maker imprint, such as 1997’s Kat Moda EP (featuring the enduring classic “The Bells”) include Mills’ most club-friendly material. He’s continued to expand his sound and vision, often venturing into ambient and even classical music with his lengthy, conceptual albums that explore themes of futurism and space. These include releases inspired by classic science fiction movies (including his 2000 score for Fritz Lang’s Metropolis) as well as a string of albums in a conceptual series titled The Sleeper Wakes, such as 2016’s Free Fall Galaxy.