Detroit DJ Jeff Mills creates a rhythmic trip into the listener’s conscience
The Detroit music scene has been a place that pushes the boundaries of electronic music. So-called “Detroit Techno” combines house music with more off-kilter beat switches, tempo changes and futuristic-sounding production. Jeff Mills was an icon in this scene. Mills started his career as an original member of Resistance Underground, an infamous Detroit music label that pushed the Detroit electronic scene forward in the late ’80s. However, he would soon start releasing solo work which would get him much more mainstream attraction. Mills would go on to form his label called Axis Records, and release 25 of his 39 total albums.
On Mind Power Mind Control, Jeff Mills continues his signature style with a bit more industrial tones to it. The first track, “Crossing the Threshold,” is the most experimental track on the album. It features chopped-up synths, drones, sine waves and machine sounds that make the listener feel like they are entering hyperspace in Star Wars. This is intentional since Mills said he wanted the listener, “to enter the labyrinth of their own mind and confront whatever lies before them.”
On the second track, “Scarlet,” Mills creates a tense atmosphere with eerie synth chords and what sounds like a violin. In the second half of the track, the drums become louder and fill the listener with anxiety as the track gives way to the next titled “Hatsumi.” Originally released as an EP in 2021, it is a highlight on the track list and fits perfectly on the album. It gives the listener a place to reflect on the experience they just embarked on. The song is filled with synths and drums that resemble sounds that you might hear in downtempo music. While the atmosphere is calmer than the previous track, it still has scattered sounds of industrial noises that keep this track in line with the main atmosphere of the album.
Mills continues the sporadic nature of “Hatsumi” on the next track, “Vibrant Sanguine.” Throughout the songs, some random noises and samples sound like they come from the control center of an alien spacecraft. Continuing the sci-fi-like qualities is the next track, “Transmutation,” which contains most of the previous track’s tropes with a bit deeper sounds.
The last leg of the album features a return to form for Mills. It is the most recognizable part when compared to his previous works. In “Vermillion” the thumping, minimal bass and drums are reminiscent of the Motor City’s electronic scene in the early ’90s. “Radiance” and “Units” also feature classic Detroit production. On the final track, “Horizons” the rhythmic beat is almost drowned out by droning synths and static-like noises. It is a fittingly eerie end to such an industrial album.
Mind Power Mind Control is a unique listen. The anxiety-inducing and sci-fi feel other-worldly, yet the cerebral-like industrial sounds keep the album from being too avant-garde. It is a unique record from one of Detroit’s most infamous DJs.