Jeff Mills

Moon: The Area of Influence

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AllMusic Review by Paul Simpson

Commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing, techno pioneer Jeff Mills created the lunar-themed full-length Moon: The Area of Influence. This follows Mills' previous scores for sci-fi classics such as Fritz Lang's Woman in the Moon and Georges Méliès' A Trip to the Moon, along with numerous other albums and EPs which explore various facets of space and the cosmos. On the back cover of the album, Mills proposes the album as an open-ended question regarding humanity's connection with celestial bodies, and the existence of a greater force in the universe. The music on this album is similarly abstract, but clearly of divine inspiration. Mills' nebulous techno and ambient tracks feel like beams of light and energy floating and converging rather than rigid constructions, with synth tones shimmering and flickering, and beat patterns erratic and broken. The album opens with "Control, Sattva and Rama," a nearly overwhelming collage of sampled astronaut transmissions and dense, grainy waves of static. From there, the album is filled with experimental club bangers like "Stabilising the Spin," where eerie, detached note patterns are set against sporadic thumps. While these tracks seem to exist far outside Earth's orbit, they're anything but cold and lifeless. The light, cyclical "The Tides" is laced with relaxed but sensuous string synths, and "Lunar Power" is a strange but wonderful sort of sci-fi boogie. In addition to the beat-driven tracks are experimental pieces like the crackling, shuddering "Peaks of Eternal Light" and the disorienting conclusion "Absolute." Evoking the spirit of space exploration while encouraging further pondering from the listener, Moon is a stunning, magnificent work.

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