MILES DAVIS — Agharta (review)

MILES DAVIS — Agharta album cover Live album · 1975 · Fusion Buy this album from MMA partners
5/5 ·
If I had to pick one favorite album from any genre and any era, this would have to be the one. There is so much about this live album that stands out; the disciplined attentivness of the band as Miles takes them through abstract improvisational sections, the bands ability to rock out on the edge of chaos and then bring things down to a whisper, Pete Cosey's unbelievable incendiary guitar playing and most of all, a mesmerizing and constantly shifting sound texture that changes with the band and adds accents to solos and quiet sections as well. Miles has often pointed out in interviews that the ensemble on this album was his favorite band. Playing rock with jazz musicians (Bitches Brew) served it's purpose for a while, but Miles wanted a band that could really rock, as well as play jazz, avant-garde and world music as well. The icing on the cake for Miles is that he finally found a guitar player who could do what the departed Jimi Hendrix could do, plus so much more. Pete Cosey is probably one of the greatest guitar players to ever play rock/fusion/blues etc and the fact that he remains mostly unknown is nothing short of criminal.

This album finally brings together all the influences that Miles had been trying to bring together for years; Stockhausen's Asiatic suspended musical moments in time (moment form), Sly Stone's dramatic take it to the streets call to action world revolutionary party funk, searing acid rock guitar, Sun Ra's disciplined approach to group improvisation, Herbie Hancock's futuristic fusion and timeless classical music from Africa.

Although this album is full of beautiful quiet moments, there is always a feeling that the band may suddenly explode, if even for a second or two, before they go quiet again. There is so much to like on here, but there is one feature that has always stood out to me. Throughout this album there is some kind of device that allows performers to suddenly shift in volume and reverb saturation at any given moment. The result is a sound texture that is never boring, and it is a device that is totally unique to Miles during this phase of his career.

I would highly recommend this album to people who want to hear psychedelic rock taken to it's very highest level.
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