If you are looking for evidence that Jeff Mills has long been one of the most technically-proficient names in techno, the Detroit native’s 1996 mix album, Live at the Liquid Room – Tokyo, is a good place to start.
I remember being handed this mix on an unlabelled tape (the horror!) around 20 years ago, and not realising what it was: as a relative latecomer to MP3 players, and having shunned Minidiscs altogether, it was only at a house part a few years later that I discovered its creator, the man known in DJ circles as The Wizard.
As if it could be the work of anyone else…
What’s great about listening back to it now is the ‘human’ element – some of the mixes go slightly awry, and you can hear the vinyl crackling as he pushes the record to change the tempo. In this era of overly-polished production, it’s a breath of fresh air.
Divided into three ‘segments’, the mix CD, released on React, includes some of the most blistering techno tunes from the early to mid 90s, including cuts from DJ Funk (Work That Body and Run), Surgeon (Magneze and Move), Derrick May’s seminal Strings of Life, and a smattering of Mills’ own tracks.
In fact the entire third segment of this mix is comprised entirely of Mills own work, as the shuffling Casa breaks into Life Cycle and then Step To Enchantment.
The highlight? The moment at the 11-minute mark when The Bells segues into Work That Body is pretty goddamn special.
[Kudos to ElectroBassDub3 for the upload]