Though Jeff Mills compiles previously released tracks for The Art of Connecting, the ten-track CD plays like a traditional album rather than a compilation. These ten tracks are culled from vinyl-only releases on Mills' Axis and Purpose Maker labels, and some of them, such as "The Bells" and "Java," are quite old, originally released in the mid-'90s. Yet, despite the thrown-together nature of The Art of Connecting and its old source material, it sounds surprisingly fresh, even if you're already familiar with these tracks. There's a careful balance of Mills' spacy, cinematic ambient recordings (here represented by album opener "Deckard" and closer "Utopia" as well as elements of "Nepta" and "Cobalt"), which offset some of his best Purpose Maker-style dancefloor tracks ("The Bells," "Java," "UFO") and his dystopian Axis-style work ("Pacific State of Mind," "Gamma Player," "4art"). The Art of Connecting functions well overall as an accessible sampler for anyone casually interested in Mills' diversity of output. You get a little taste of everything here while many of Mills' other CD releases tend to emphasize a particular style of his work, such as how From the 21st collects his spacy, cinematic ambient techno, Purpose Maker Collection his dancefloor tracks, and so on. More than anything, The Art of Connecting succinctly showcases precisely how ably Mills has mastered all corners of the techno spectrum.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Jason Birchmeier