Published Sep 05, 2018The story of Spiral Deluxe is one of paradoxes: they are a jazz supergroup without a traditional jazz musician. Their sound is crafted by electronic instruments, but without a MIDI sequencer. It was formed by Detroit techno pioneer Jeff Mills, who acts as the band's drummer. Joined by Buffalo Daughter vocalist and keyboardist Yumiko Ohno, Underground Resistance member Gerald Mitchell and session player Kenji "Jino" Hino, Mills assembled Spiral Deluxe to play a single performance at Paris' Louvre museum.
So, it makes perfect sense that Spiral Deluxe's debut LP, Voodoo Magic, would cover the same wide-reaching display of influences, sounds, and performances that these musicians possess. The 13-minute opener, "E=MC2", the LP's longest and strongest track, is a great showcase for the four artists, as Jino's rubbery bass lines allow Mitchell and Ohno's keyboards to roam freely and explore while Mills keeps things amazingly funky and modern.
"Voodoo Magic" is even more loose and playful, focusing heavily on rhythm and strange musical inflections, while "The Paris Roulette" sounds as close to a Detroit techno track as these musicians are willing to get. As Voodoo Magic frustratingly closes with two versions of the silky, wandering R&B track "Let It Go" (featuring vocals by Parisian vocalist Tanya Michelle), this five-song, 35-minute album ends up feeling like a quick flash of musical brilliance that just couldn't make it to an encore. (Axis)