Jeff Mills was one of the most influential figures in the early Detroit techno scene.
He was known for his amazing DJing ability, so much so that he has earned the title of “The Wizard”.
He started to DJ back in the early 80s, when techno still sounded a lot like electro, but remained in the scene in those formative years, helping to take it in a faster, more hard edged direction.
“The Bells” is one of the most famous tracks to emerge from the Detroit techno scene. Like most techno, it uses subtle changes and hypnotic rhythms to sustain itself, with the main hook being a simple 4 note progression.
The bass drum is fast and relentless, and is surrounded by swirling, splashing hi-hats which change throughout the song, changing the atmosphere.
There’s another synth riff as well, the bassier version of the main riff, which is a repetititive and vaguely paranoid chug.
The song was released in 1997 on the Kat Moda E.P., and there was 2006 orchestral remake.
This makes it a relatively late song for that scene; Mills had moved to Germany before that, but it captures the spirit of Detroit techno very well.