As a follow-up to Bill Laswell's 1998 remix tribute to the
jazz great Miles Davis, this album features remixes of Bill
Laswell's reconstructions. The pieces here push Laswell's
own reworkings even further from the source material. Jazz
purists may deem this to be a sacrilege, but the revising
of Davis' electric jazz period by focusing more on the dub-heavy
drum and bass lines almost makes a certain degree of sense.
The five track album opens with Shhh (Sea4 Miles Remix)
by King Britt & Philip Charles, which slowly rolls
in with a casual and quiet demeanor. Once it gets rolling,
the track balances Miles own hornwork with some interestingly
strong dub drum and bass lines that works as a sublime counterbalance
to the sharp and bright horn.
Doc Scott's take on Rated X kicks off fast
and furious, with quick patterned beats and looped samples
of small bits from the original work. Once past the intro,
the song moves into a quickly paced track likewise littered
with samples, including some piano work that accents that
heavy dub of the bass.
Probably the most noticeable flaw (if you can call it that)
in this album, especially for fans of Davis, is the apparent
lack of his presence in the album as a whole. The DJs who
have placed their hands on this piece have pushed the music
pretty far from the original source. In a Silent Way
at least benefits from use of Davis' hornwork, which weaves
a nice path through the drum and bass lines, and Laswell's
version of On the Corner is most noticeably the closest
to the original material.
Fans of mainstream jazz also need to be aware that the inclusion
of "trip-hop" elements gives the album a strong acid jazz
feel. On it's own, Panthalassa: The Remixes is a strong
album with some great pieces that have excellent pacing. If
you go into the album with certain expectations (not to mention
that the names Miles Davis and Bill Laswell are attached to
the project), you might find something here a little different
than what you were looking for. Enter with an open mind and
you'll be pleasantly surprised.