Miles Davis
Agharta


4.5
superb

Review

by Hernan M. Campbell STAFF
May 26th, 2012 | 15 replies | 5,413 views


Release Date: 1975 | Tracklist

Review Summary: An electrifying perfromance

Miles Davis has always been the kind of musician that has never been content in settling with just one genre. Often experimenting, and fusing musical approaches to create something fresh. The mid 1970's was a peculiar time for music. Psychedelia was beginning to dwindle down and music was becoming less experimental and more jubilant. Disco music was beginning to grow in popularity, and people were looking for music to enjoy, something instantly perceptual and not necessarily abstract. Though of course there were artists, like Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin, who were still writing more intellectual compositions, but they were indeed the minority. Catchy was quickly replacing artistic, and yet again, Miles Davis fell into the trend. Funk music was at an all time high within the African-American classes, and acts like James Brown and George Clinton were reigning over the genre. In albums like On The Corner and Big Fun, we saw the beginning of Miles Davis incorporating Funk elements with his usual Jazz music.

In Agharta we find Miles Davis further exploring the possibilities of Funk music, only this time fusing it with the aggressive rock-stylings of Bitches Brew and the atmospheric nuances of In A Silent Way. In the opening number, "Prelude", we see the musicians taking apart genres and rebuilding them into a completely different sound. This piece is much more reminiscent of Rock than Jazz, as the music is produced by a prominent guitar-driven sound. "Prelude" is all Miles Davis and Pete Cosey, who flow in and out of perception with eruptions of frantic solos. There is a very cosmic sound that is being produced fromt he instruments, and the primary catalyst of this erratic style for the most part is Pete Cosey. We constantly hear him experimenting with a variety of guitar effects that create a surrealistic atmosphere throughout. He's very abrasive with his guitar playing technique, his sound is very distorted and bombards the listener with such prowess. But of course, even Pete Cosey's anomalous methods are not enough to eclipse the star of the show. Miles Davis is as potent as ever. And as always, he works at his own pace, and releases a variety of soloistic flaunts while often playing off of saxophonist Sonny Fortune's augmentations. There is definitely a higher level of energy in this performance, but it also displays some reminiscence of moody psychedelia.

"Maiysha" displays a much more diverse musical style. It presents itself as a delicate piece, but reveals a more aggressive side during it's progression. Sonny Fortune really takes charge of the piece with some elegant flute soloing in the beginning before the other musicians alter the musical landscape into progressive ambiences, smooth Jazz passages, and explosive guitar outbursts that seem to forget that this is not a rock concert. In the second half of the album, within "Theme From Jack Johnson" and "Interlude", we find ourselves voyaging through more realms of ambient spaces, as well as a descend into a more intense explosion of fiery Jazz Fusion with Miles Davis executing some of his finest trumpet solos to date. Aghartha is a truly exciting release from Miles Davis, and is perhaps one of his most energetic performances from the electric period. Aghartha displays some incredibly dextrous musicianship all throughout, especially from Pete Cosey who practically steals the show with his deploys of Hendrix-inspired electrical distorting devices. I highly recommend this album to any fans of Miles Davis, it highly differs from the atmospheric sound of his previous electric albums, as it contains a more elevated and aggressive style that will be sure to please any fan of Jazz Fusion.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
SgtPepper
Staff Reviewer
May 26th 2012



4380 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This is a re-upload. Just fixed a few grammar and wording edits.

Chrisjon89
May 26th 2012



3364 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I'm slowly getting through this era. Haven't gotten around to this or Pangaea yet but I copped Dark Magus.

Digging: Ichiko Aoba - 0%

SgtPepper
Staff Reviewer
May 26th 2012



4380 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Pangea and this is pretty good. I have yet to hear Dark Magus, is it good?

Chrisjon89
May 26th 2012



3364 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I liked it after one listen but I'm not the best one to ask. To me, alot of these fusion albums drag - I think what they get through in 20 minutes they could have conveyed in 10.

It's definitely an interesting listen though, regardless of that.

SgtPepper
Staff Reviewer
May 26th 2012



4380 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I know what you mean. I know plenty of Fusion songs that spent so much time in establishing the "mood", and prolonging the actual Jam. (if that makes sense)
I'll check it out Black Magus, thanks for reminding me of it.

Winesburgohio
May 26th 2012



1002 Comments


Hey PaperbackWriter- really cool that you're shining a light on some of Miles' more obscure efforts, especially for people like me who haven't really dabbled into his 70's stuff.

One thing though, have you considered reviewing some of his shittier (for lack of a better word) albums? Most of the stuff he put out in the 1980's was terrible, it would be interesting to see reviews that explore the failed ventures of Miles instead of just his achievements

Digging: Wretched Excess - Away From This World

SgtPepper
Staff Reviewer
May 26th 2012



4380 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

@Winesburgohio
That's a good idea. There's a lot of his later albums that dotn have reviews and Ill definitely work on that. There's a few that I havent heard myself.

porch
May 26th 2012



8451 Comments


This is a re-upload. Just fixed a few grammar and wording edits.


hawks 2.0

CaptainDooRight
May 26th 2012



28332 Comments


Awesome bro. I haven't heard this one yet. Gonna check hard. Pos

Digging: IQ - The Road of Bones

Omaha
Staff Reviewer
May 29th 2012



9999 Comments


Really good review, Paperback. I really like the commentary you provide in the first two paragraphs. You do a good job of describing what in particular Davis accomplishes with his music, although it'd be even stronger if you talked more about the album. This is in contrast to your other reviews, and I notice a shift in your writing.

Overall if you can incorporate this type of commentary on an album as well as more analysis of the album, you'll be in great shape, friend.

Digging: Deniro Farrar - Rebirth

jefflebowski
November 14th 2012



7379 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

first side of this is unbelievably good

Digging: Flying Lotus - Cosmogramma

Chrisjon89
December 20th 2012



3364 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

enjoyed this alot.

jefflebowski
December 20th 2012



7379 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

probably my second fave electric miles after jack johnson

thinbrownduke
April 18th 2013



7 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

@jefflebowski - This is also probably my second favourite after 'Jack Johnson' - although 'In A Silent Way' may supplant it if I listen to it enough... 'Agharta' is absolutely mental. Young people today think modern music can be crazy? They oughta give this a spin.

oltnabrick
April 18th 2013



30133 Comments


Dam need to check this too


Looks coo

Digging: Wretched Excess - Away From This World



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