Jon McMillion: Back On That Road

While it might be hyperbolic to suggest that McMillion singularly rejuvenates techno, there's no question his second Orac 12-inch radicalizes the genre in startling manner. Hardly content to recycle dance music's tropes and clichés, McMillion subverts the genre by overlaying his track's rhythmic foundations with multi-layers of innovative experimentation.

Consider the opener “Back On That Road”: the beats may be straightforward enough, but McMillion twists the tune into cubistic shape by adding a gravelly vocal chant, distant sirens, and a guttural synth growl that maneuvers a serpentine path over the percolating groove. Dissonant stabs and a spacey keyboard line later expose the tune's Sun Ra underbelly, as unexpected sounds swerve into view, feinting and jabbing like a heavyweight. A rollicking pulse drives Philippe Quenum's “Back On That Road” remix forward with syncopated urgency; while his take anchors the cut more firmly to the club, its morphing keyboard stabs also intensify its psychotropic character. McMillion's other original, “Lands End (Goodbye Trace),” is the one most reminiscent of his Inner Floor debut. Amongst its incessant wellspring of ideas, one hears glissandi sprites colliding with tonal washes, and swinging rhythms gliding alongside meandering bass accents and distorted voices.

Is Back On That Road ‘dance' music? Sure it is, though a uniquely brainiac mutation of it, something at least two or three steps beyond humanity in its current form.

May 2007