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Little People in Alien Costumes Were Part of Jeff Mills' ADE Performance

Did techno's favorite futurist go too far in Amsterdam?

Techno has always had a sci-fi side, but no one has followed that conceptual mandate down as many rabbit holes as Detroit techno icon Jeff Mills, who has been stargazing with drum machines since the 1980s. As recently as 2013, he stated, "[Techno] wasn't designed to be dance music, it was designed to be a futurist statement."

Whether performing live with a classical orchestra, DJing to accompany old silent sci-fi films (Fritz Lang's Metropolis), or composing entire album cycles based on HG Wells novels (Sleeper Wakes), the DJ, producer, and conceptualist seems to be getting more prolific as the years pass––to the point where one wonders how many hours are in Jeff Mill's day. One explanation might be his Time Tunnel series, which he performed this past weekend at ADE.


The concept of Time Tunnel, which Mills has already executed a few times in France (where he bears the title Ordre des Arts et des Lettres from the French Ministry of Culture), evokes the classic 60s sci-fi program of the same name as a device for shifting between chronological eras in his DJ set — anywhere from the 1910s to a thousand years in the future.

However, as this clip of his ADE performance shows, Mills might have transported back to 1984 for a seemingly Spinal Tap-inspired moment where two midgets dressed as aliens escort the DJ through the spiraling time tunnel while everyone's favorite childhood Disney tune "When You Wish Upon A Star" swells over the speakers.

…Of course, if Mills really does have a time tunnel at his disposal, perhaps he'll take us back to one of his 1990s DJ sets. Please?