Jeff Mills, Tyrell Williams | Smart Bar | Dance | Chicago Reader
This is a past event.
When: Fri., Oct. 15, 10 p.m. 2010
Price: $20, $15 before midnight
People looking for virtuosity in the art of DJing tend to get distracted by flashy turntablists with hyperspeed fingers and bags of tricks like behind-the-back transformer scratches. But to a large extent that approach depends on gimmickry, not substance, and Chicago's Jeff Mills proves it by standing dead still over three turntables, a mixing board, and a hulking early-80s TR-909 drum machine, shaping minimalist beats like some sort of techno-era conductor presiding over a machine quartet. It's no coincidence that Mills is one of the only DJs to collaborate with an orchestra—France's Montpelier Philharmonic on the 2006 album Blue Potential—and make it sound natural. Though lately Mills has seemed to be concentrating less on his music and more on Gamma Player—a fashion and design venture he launched with his wife, which likewise promotes a clean-lined and minimal futurist aesthetic—the GP boutique closed last month. That might mean we'll be hearing more from Mills soon, but either way, aficionados of techno and dance music in general should consider attendance at this gig mandatory. Tyrel Williams opens. —Miles Raymer



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