- The year is 1989. In Detroit, "The Wizard" makes his presence known on the airways at WDRQ and with manic DJ sets at clubs like The Necto. Underground Resistance is a mere twinkle in the eyes of Mike Banks and Jeff Mills—it's the time of the Belleville Three, and electro reigns supreme. Meanwhile, in Germany, the fall of the Berlin Wall is about to set things in motion for Dimitri Hegemann and a certain old Wertheim department store vault. The rest, as they say, is techno history. But the precursor to it all was Final Cut.
In hindsight, Final Cut is a footnote in Mills' lofty legacy. His collaboration with Anthony Srock bore a few EPs and one album, Deep Into The Cut. First issued on Srock's Full Effect Records, that LP would be the first—and last—merging of Mills' raw, agitated techno with Srock's industrial tendencies. It was significant in its time, but the unprecedented success of "Take Me Away"—Final Cut's major label club hit that just about everyone will have heard—shunted the album into the shadows. For almost 30 years, this nugget of Detroit history has been collecting dust. But now, thanks to We Can Elude Control and the mastering efforts of Rashad Becker, Deep Into The Cut is back, oiled up and cranking like new.
In its new context, Deep Into The Cut neatly aligns with the likes of Diagonal, Jealous God and Perc Trax, labels and artists looking to give old industrial and techno aesthetics a contemporary feel. Tougher tracks like "Burn Baby Burn," "I Told You Not To Stop," "The Escape" and "The Prosecuted" wouldn't sound at odds in a Bleaching Agent or Powell set. That said, Deep Into The Cut is mostly shameless nostalgia, and not all of it has stood the test of time. Opener "She Destroys" is a limp EBM number that calls upon Srock's hip-hop and electro days as Asrock. "Rotation" soon makes up for it, though, with tart drum programming, rave whistles and a whiff of something weird and futuristic, sounds that would soon have the world looking to Detroit. Then "Temptation" goes and shows its age again, opening with a Reagan-era lobby against pornography—it takes a lot more than that to make the average citizen ill today.
But it's better to not get carried away wrapping Deep Into The Cut in contemporary narratives. Tracks like the ravey "Now That's Funky," "Harmony" and "Celestial V.S.U." can be enjoyed as the shining examples of pre-golden era techno they are. As Mills continues to delve into film scores, theatre performances, orchestral collaborations and other high-minded endeavors, these songs can be a welcome reminder of his humble, sometimes even crude, beginnings.
01. She Destroys
04. I Told You Not to Stop
05. Burn Baby Burn
06. Now That’s Funky
08. Celestial V.S.U
09. Open Your Eyes
10. The Prosecuted
11. The Escape