Very Great / Song
A Different Kind of Tension: Jon McMillion's Horus House
by Dave Segal
on Sun, Sep 8, 2013 at 12:29 PM
While you weren’t looking, Seattle-area producer Jon McMillion has been developing into a world-class musician. Working in the off-the-beaten-path realms of techno and house music from his bunker in Bellevue, McMillion has created a vast, tentacular network of outsider dance music.
In 2011, McMillion played Decibel Festival and fulfilled a longtime dream by opening for one of his main inspirations, Atom™. McMillion’s gripping live sets in his home base and his prodigious recorded output have led to him to getting booked at prestigious European clubs like Berlin’s Panorama Bar and numerous underground Parisian parties. Clued-in continental DJs have been spinning his tracks in major venues like London’s Fabric, Paris’ Rex Club and Munich’s Harry Klein. In 2012, Nick Höppner had the good sense to kick off his Panorama Bar 04 mix CD on Ostgut Ton with McMillion’s “T-Station.”
McMillion’s fascinating music is an extension of his complex, sometimes paradoxical personality and his often morbid, absurd sense of humor. In his tracks, a sublime tension exists between pleasurable abandon and uneasiness. You’re spurred to dance, but not without frequent looks behind you at some uncanny hint of trouble. These conflicting elements lend his music a durability and allow them to sound amazing both in a vast warehouse space as well as inside a pair of quality ’phones while you're horizontal on your futon.
McMillion’s new Horus House 12-inch on the Los Angeles-based Zoombézoom (run by Konstantin Gabbro, who co-founded the now-defunct Orac Records with Seattleite Randy Jones) continues his consistent run of headily hedonistic releases. The A-side title track features perhaps McMillion’s most melancholy melody—it’s as gorgeously plaintive as Boards of Canada’s most downtrodden tunes—and easy-going, chugging 4/4 beats. Beautiful minor-key piano motifs embroider the rhythm while a subtle keyboard drone swirls over a bass part that tugs you toward the boudoir. McMillion’s pointillist percussion adds just the right sprightly spice to the cool moodiness. Named after the Egyptian god of war, sun, and protection, “Horus House” is not your father’s club music—although it may be your weird older brother's. German DJ/producer Falko Brocksieper has already charted it.
The 12-minute “D Drop Jam” immediately springs into action with an urgent, humid disco pulse, augmented by massed claps, distant, Bitches Brew-like organ vamps, and a nasty bass line reeking of XXX funk. But nothing is every very cut and dried with McMillion, so he eventually inserts a stoic drone to add a menacing frisson. "D Drop Jam" ranks up there with the likes of that master of modern sexaholic disco, the Mole. A classy yet raunchy classic is instantly born.
Zoombézoom Records releases the Horus House 12-inch on Sept. 9. Distribution by Kompakt.