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notably on the ‘Waveform Transmission Vol. 1’ album originally released on Tresor in 1992, now remastered and re-released on Axis. For the avant-garde collages of stark loops in tracks like ‘Jerical’ and ‘D.N.A’ did originally sound “strange and bizarre” — even to the most ardent techno disciple — two decades ago, yet are now recognised as landmark moments in techno’s evolution. “For a lot of people, it really changed the way they thought techno could be,” he explains. “Before that — even though it was instrumental — it was still structured in a song format where you had an introduction and something that sounds like a verse and feels like a bridge. People became open to the idea that techno is a way of listening to sound — if something makes you think of moving ahead or moving forward, then it fits into that category. Music to most people is notes and chords, and this music doesn’t fall under that category. That is the most beautiful thing to me and a sign of how much is possible with it.”


It’s techno’s many possibilities that are mapped out in the 30 tracks Jeff selected for ‘Sequence’. “The tracklisting went through many different configurations but I eventually leaned towards the tracks that were more expressive and had a story around them than the more dancefloor tracks,” he reveals. “That makes more sense as techno gets older. I wanted to make sure that all these stories were being told, so each one points towards a different concept I was working on.”


Stories told in detail in the 320-page book


accompanying ‘Sequence’, in which Jeff describes the concepts behind various releases — such as the ‘Cycle 30’ EP, where grooves inscribed into the vinyl represent a 30-year time cycle, similar to the rings in a tree trunk, or how the sleeves of the ‘Very’ 12” were infused with perfume so DJs could smell it in their record box. Each page offers a snapshot of his thinking at the time, quite literally, given that ‘Sequence’ also features plenty of photography, both of the record sleeves and of Jeff himself, alongside images of many of the visual arts projects he has worked on throughout his career, such as the ‘Mono’ sculpture inspired by 2001: A Space Odyssey he exhibited at Sonar in 2002. Yet what’s almost as fascinating as what these images depict is the relationship Jeff perceives between still photography — static by its very nature — and the sense of motion inherent to both techno and film. “I feel the same about still photography as I do about black and white,” he says. “People don’t experience things in stills — we watch the world in motion. So stills allow you to see not the image but into the image. It allows you to escape time and it tells more of a story than watching a movie because you have ideas about what happens before and after that.”


Does he accept, however, that there is also a contradiction between writing about a remorseless focus on the future in a book which looks back at works produced 20 years ago? “It’s a commemoration of an anniversary,” he


“Technology is teaching us that we can have


to listen to a DJ — they’ll want to know what being a DJ is actually like. To


everything we want, so people won’t just want


experience what it’s like to mix in front of 5,000 people will be more


of life, so the definition of techno might change more towards being a feeling than an actual sound.”


interesting than just being in the audience. People want more out


028


www.djmag.com


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