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Jeff Mills Blue Potential Review

Live. Released 2006.  

BBC Review

There are two important questions to ask here: firstly does it work? And that’s most...

Lewis Dene 2006

Techno legend Jeff Mills playing his landmark recordings live with a 70 piece symphonic orchestra – it’s no joke! It’s also not a particularly new concept – Radiohead, Emerson, Lake & Palmer, Metallica and Aphex Twin are four acts from musical ends of the spectrum to have rescored their material for classical interpretation; albeit with mixed results both artistically and financially.

That said, Blue Potential is prime candidate for the most interesting album of the month accolade, and whilst listening to seminal techno classics such as “Amazon”, “The March”, “The Bells” and “Sonic Destroyer”, performed with the Montpellier Philharmonic Orchestra, might not be to everyone’s liking, it certainly will expose his music to a far larger and mature market. Although it’s unlikely that classical aficionados, even the contemporary ones, will want to dip their toes too deeply in the new charms of what string, woodwind and brass reinterpretation can do to replace MIDI-encoded equipment.

There are two important questions to ask here: firstly does it work? And that’s most definitely yes. Mills’ beats and synth sequencing is comfortably replicated by the orchestra without sounding at all contrived. The second question, and perhaps most telling, is exactly who this project is aimed? At the end of the day no matter how innovative or out there this may be (remember there’s a very thin line that divides the two), the don of minimal Detroit techno and founding member of the Motor City institution Underground Resistance, has never embraced an ideology for the commercial… so maybe that’s just as well.

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