6:00 AM GMT 22/06/2011
The dark magus delivers his final electrified avant-funk bow.
Recorded at the Osaka Festival Hall in Japan on the afternoon of February 1, 1975, Agharta is twinned with Pangaea, the latter album documenting that evening’s performance. Both are dense musical explorations that follow on from the dark funk/punk endeavours of 1972’s On The Corner. Of the two, however, Agharta is the most satisfying and measured. A slice of prime electric Miles consisting of four lengthy blow-outs – Prelude, Maiysha, Interlude and Theme From Jack Johnson – Agharta also showcases Davis’s move into the kind of electronic territory occupied by Stockhausen. These avant-garde tendencies are welded to the irresistible rhythmic drive of drummer Al Foster and percussionist Mtume which are underpinned by guitarist Pete Cosey’s Hendrix-styled wah wah wig-outs and Miles’s inimitable soul-soaring horn blasts and the odd synth stab. The result is an album whose grooves are, in places, likely to cause involuntary body movements. As close to Fela Kuti jamming with Can as you’re likely to get, Agharta is both ambient yet thrashing, melodic yet coruscating. After its release a desperately ill Miles withdrew from public life and refused to pick up his horn for six years. Maybe even he felt that he’d gone as far as he could right here.
Posted by Danny_Eccleston at 6:00 AM GMT 27/12/2007
James “Blood” Ulmer – Odyssey (Columbia, 1983)
Miles Davis - Pangaea (Columbia, 1975)