Boomkat Product Review:
Swingeing, deeply earthly rug-cutters from Jeff Mills in multi-instrumentalist mode on his first instalment of the Zanza project
As with his prolific run of long players in the past decade, ‘Wonderland’ is a masterclass in how to grow older gracefully while not losing sight of what drove you in the first place. It’s the Detroit legend’s love note to the way jazz, Latin jazz, and electronic music have been explicit and discreet constants across his formative interests in new wave, industrial body music, Italo disco and samba, here distilled with his wizardly touch to a slinky, unmistakably Millsian essence.
Manning percussion (what sounds like programmed and sampled), plus piano and organ keys, he’s definitely got us doing the Aeron bounce and wiggle right now, hustling some of the most hip-gripping, serpentine rhythms and sultry vibes we can recall from his recent years. There’s a certain kinship with UR’s jazzier workouts such as Mation2Nation and the World to World EPs at play, and sure direct inspirations from his work with the late, great Afrobeat sticksman Tony Allen, but the restlessly iridescent flow of ideas is simply Jeff thru and thru, keeping attention piqued and hips swivelling from the tight jazzy fray of ‘Full Moon Brigade’ thru the off world lounge flex of ’Tropicana’, to his clear nod to Mad Mike on ‘When The Time Is Right’, the lip-biting shuffle of ‘Cause & Effect’, and a beatdown killer ‘Like Paradise’.