Miles Davis/Various Panthalassa: The Remixes
Grade
A-
 
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Miles Davis
Bill Laswell
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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.

- - Kinderfeld

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