Boomkat Product Review:
Jeff Mills revisits Fritz Lang's 'Metropolis' once again, stitching together an entirely new soundtrack that's intended to be a more nuanced reaction to the story itself. A headier, more psychedelic treatment, it's some of the most probing material Mills has released in years.
When Mills released his take on "Metropolis" back in 2000, he was the perfect candidate to approach such a cinematic milestone and bring it crashing into the techno era. The concept of the rescore was still in its infancy, so listeners weren't yet completely jaded by the mixture of silent movie footage and contemporary music. Mills' music had always represented technology, and Lang's classic detailed man's relationship with machines in the most visual way - Mills just offered a fresh backbone that helped build out the vision into another dimension. Over two decades later culture has shifted, so Mills felt it important not to just George Lucas his score but to J.J. Abrams it completely.
Unlike its comparatively compact predecessor, 'Metropolis Metropolis' is a labyrinthine sprawl of lengthy compositions that touch on jazz, baroque music and of course techno - but there's little you could imagine rattling through Tresor on a Sunday morning. Mills hardly reaches for the drums at all on the album's first two chunks, using jazzy flourishes on 'The Masters of Work and Play' but never allowing a beat to form completely. His focus is on mood curation, but the record wakes up when Mills plays to his strengths.
The second half of the record is more animated, with 'Transformation the Aftershock and Evil' using the Detroit legend's glassy soundset to evolve into a rhythm that's between Underground Resistance and Jon Hassell. 'Yoshiwara and the Players of Chance' is even better, with pinprick kicks and swirling oscillators that draw out a classic sci-fi scene without resorting to forgettable tropes. Mills' control of rhythm is most impressive, and he uses interlocking patterns to provide momentum to Vangelis-esque washes of electronics. 'Liaisons and Complicated Affairs' takes us to the end credits, plodding thru synthetic strings and into a flurry of hypnotic sequences that's not a million miles from Klaus Schulze's similarly engaging imaginary score to "Dune".