What a huge seething, buckling gigant of a soundtrack!!! Why soundtrack? Because it is the soundtrack to the beginning of the world and the end of Miles' dalliance with rock. Never again would this heady brew of jazz, rock and funk reach such peaks. No-one has ever come close to this, or Agartha for sheer primal viscerality(is there such a word? There ought to be to describe this).
Miles played two shows in Tokyo on February the 1st, 1975 and then quit the biz for 6 years. He was spiritually, physically and psychically depleted. Disentegrating hips, bleeding ulcers and a lifetime of living at the cutting edge(of lots of things physical, musical and chemical) had finnally ground him down, but not before this last monumental feat of improvised music had been thrown out.
Two guitars(one Hendrix influenced, the other a la James Brown), two percussionists(one African, the other a piledriver), a funky bass player, a jazz sax player and Miles playing like this was indeed the last show of his life. Everyone brings something to the table and lets it rip!
This and Agartha form an indispensable pair of recordings which show how far a truly free and creative set of musicians can take a theme, a rhythm, an instrument and wring new life out of them. The individual tracks can last for more than half of the length of other artists albums, but never seem forced or dull. There are loads of changes and twists to keep the interest going.
Typically described by many as the 3rd stage in Miles' career, this is Miles with electric accompaniment ( guitars/electric piano etc.) but also accompanying the other musicians himself as a substantial amount of the 2 tracks on the album feature those instruments together with a pulsating and regular backbeat from the drums. Previous material such as "Bitches Brew", " Jack Johnson" , "Get up with it" and much of the "Amandla" album are of a similar nature and, after one or two listenings, I feel sure that many current fans of funk, jazz rock, and the like will warm wholeheartedly to Pangaea, especially the "Zimbabwe" track which I could and in fact do listen to many times over. Try downloading the album from Amazon's MP3 section at a most reasonable price and see what you think-------------I did , and I'm extremely pleased with the result. Superb,fast moving jazz with a funky style to get you "up with it" as the other albums I refer to will also.
Better than its companion piece, 'Agharta', not as good as the other electric stuff produced in the previous 5 years, but, of course still head and shoulders above most of the other music often lumped in with it. The fact is, guitarists Pete Cosie & Reggie Lucas are anonymous noodlers compared with the great John Mclaughlin. Still, the Davis presence, as usual, is enough to raise the level of these meandering rivers of sound up out of the mud. Not the place to start if you are new to electric Miles - if you are, get 'In A Silent Way' or perhaps the 'reimaginings' of producer Bill Laswell on 'Panthalassa' - but probably a must for the connoisseur. These are the last thing that Miles produced before he had five years off. He came back in the eighties, but sadly even the great man wasn't immune to the pernicious influence of that worst of musical decades.