Jeff Mills' utopian dream

Nov 8, 2000 at 12:00 am

Fritz Lang’s visionary silent Metropolis (1926), with a story beautifully told through stunning imagery and a strong humanistic message, has long been inspiring musicians to make new scores, such as the one Detroit prodigy Jeff Mills has just released via Berlin’s Tresor. Initially I saw this film at the DIA with a crew of 313 list members in 1996 (while the Alloy Orchestra provided an amazing live sound track), after having been scared off by the soundtrack to the 1984 Giorgio Moroder restoration (Loverboy?). I later learned that Moroder not only did the world a service by giving us Donna Summer’s “I Feel Love” and years of genius synthesis, but by commercially releasing the most historically accurate version of the film. Thankfully, now there is now a more suitable sound track. Who better to update the score for today’s generation than the classical futurist himself? Who better to realize the political implications of the film with such grace as the co-founder of Underground Resistance?

Metropolis shows Mills in a real return to form with some of his freshest ideas in years, especially the stellar “Prefecture: Somewhere Around Now,” his most inspired conceptual work to date. The music is made compelling since this is a sound track following not the laws of music logic but that of the cinema. This gives new life to Mills’ loop-based work, as illustrated in tracks such as “Transformation B: Rotwang’s Revenge.” Not every piece on the sound track works without the film, but some (e.g. “Flood”) capture the film so perfectly you can actually feel the workers destroying their city. Once again tradition and innovation meet in the works of Mills, inspiring new generations with this bold artistic statement and a return to the future. Perhaps the DIA can book a showing of Metropolis with Mills ...

Revenge of the jaguar

After an eight-year hiatus, one song, one DJ and two brothers got Derrick May to come out of retirement. It’s no surprise that a song such as “Night of the Jaguar” would get May back in the studio, with its perfect balance of dramatic melody and its intense-peak dance floor feeling, but it took more than that. After he agreed to do the mix, the Burden Brothers went to where May was vacationing, rented studio time and then called him from the hotel lobby, “Do you still want to do the mix for ‘Jaguar’? How about right now?”

The results are no less surprising: From the opening effects to the flamboyant melodies, you get the feeling this man is back. In celebration of this, you can catch Rolondo and Lawrence Burden, Thursday, Nov. 16 at the Transmat Night at Temple (344 W. Nine Mile Rd., Ferndale). Call 248-414-7400.

KAoz Atmospheres

It’s all too rare that Detroit gets an event with an out-of-town deep house guru, let alone one not in a nightclub, but with that special downtown loft-party vibe. Coming up on Saturday, Nov. 18, we have just that, with Kerri Chandler, one of the most consistently innovative deep house artists, producing more than his fair share of classics (who can forget the Atmosphere EP on Shelter?). If you want to see soulful tradition taken into the next century, then witness the best that deep house has to offer with the best of Detroit represented via Theo Parrish and the true underground soldier, Mike Huckaby. For information and directions call 313-438-3810. Doors at 11 p.m., party until 5 a.m.

A whole other kind of chaos

After recently storming one of Motor’s Research & Development parties with his take on TLC’s “No Scrubs,” Kid 606 returns to Detroit to give you a taste of his softer side (P.S. I Love You-style) at detroit contemporary. In an all-live Tigerbeat 6 label showcase on Monday, Nov. 20, Kid 606 will perform alongside Orthlong Musork (Kit Clayton’s label) artists and Mills College students Blectdum From Blechdom, Cex, Gold Chains and Detroit’s own Maersk with E.P. in an all-new process. Another night of adventurous music presented by Sharif’s Maersk-Music, just a month after the successful Pole show, also at detroit contemporary (5141 Rosa Parks Blvd., Detroit). Call 313-898-4ART.

Pitch’d is MT’s biweekly column devoted to Detroit’s BPM musiculture. E-mail to [email protected]