Towards the end of 2020, the freeform soundscapes of Jeff Mills‘ releases as Millsart waded further into the waters of electronic jazz. Not one to fight his natural musings, the techno icon has enlisted saxophonist and fellow Detroiter Rafael Leafar for a rendition of his recent single, “The Infinite Voyage.”
The original version of the single appeared on Think Again, the Millsart EP that directly followed the conclusion of the project’s 20-year-running Every Dog Has Its Day series. Leafar’s instrumental abstractions complement the dissonant progression of the source material well, expanding the range of emotion captured in the core motif.
“When I created ‘Infinite Voyage’ for the Millsart Think Again album, I had a feeling that I was just skimming the top of this concept and that there could be more work to do on it,” said Mills in a press release. “When a close friend in Detroit turned me onto Rafael Leafar and what an amazing musician he is, I thought this might be an opportunity to explore further.”
He continued: “What Rafael did was re-adjust context of time and atmosphere that surrounds the the elements by an almost orchestral way of adding various horn parts and effects. Now, its deeper than deep!”
Jeff Mills needs no introduction among longtime fans of electronic music; over the course of his nearly 40-year career his music and philosophies have played an integral role in the evolution of techno. Leafar, by comparison, boasts a shorter tenure. Since 2009, however, the Detroit Civic Jazz Orchestra alumni has managed to work with the likes of Reggie Workman, Robert Hurst, Marcus Belgrave, Luis Resto, Vincent Chandler, Jeff Tain Watts, Marion Hayden, and Sterling Toles.
Mills himself has been notably drawn to the same styles as of late. Last spring, he shared plans to expand Axis Records’ offerings to include jazz, classical and film scores, and in January he released an electronic jazz album titled Counter Active alongside instrumentalist Jean-Phi Dary as The Paradox.
The update of “The Infinite Voyage” will arrive in digital format only to accompany the vinyl record release of Think Again on April 16th.