Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Miles Davis - Dark Magus
Part one of the "Satanic Miles" trilogy. Pure utter dementia. Two CDs on one file.
"Recorded in concert at Carnegie Hall, on March 30th 1974, Dark Magus is, therefore, both earlier and later than the Get Up With It sessions. But, whilst Get Up With It works hardest to define the new shamanic Miles sound, Dark Magus is probably the most musically concise because it was captured on tape in one single evening of fury. Indeed, of all four double-LPs, Dark Magus is the most tightly drawn and the most mysterious and difficult to fathom. Unyielding and as narrowly defined in its musical parameters as reggae or ska, the music of Dark Magus revealed that Miles was by now so dedicated to the on-the-one rhythm which James Brown had instigated and George Clinton had championed, that even his biggest admirers were having problems following him. Indeed, Dark Magus initially only saw its release in Japan. The wa-guitarists Cosey and Lucas were here joined by a third guitarist, Dominic Gaumont, and all three joined forces with the rhythm trio of Al Foster, Michael Henderson and James Mtume, to unleash a savagery which would not let up for the entire concert. Indeed, sax player Dave Liebman's sleevenotes admit that none of them knew where one piece ended and another began, and Liebman himself believes that Miles only much later gave the music individual titles in order to bring some hint of order to the primordial soupy-ness of the proceedings. I use the phrase "some hint of order" because a hint is really all we get. When I explain that disc one's tracks are "Moja (Part 1)", "Moja (Part 2)", "Wili (Part 1)", and "Wili (Part 2)", you could be forgiven for thinking that it was all a big wind-up intended to confuse us even further. But, when I explain that disc two's tracks are "Tatu (Part 1)", "Tatu (Part 2) (Calypso Frelimo"), "Nne (Part 1) (Ife)" and "Nne (Part 2)", then it becomes clear that Miles was surely intending to cloak the entire trip in some impenetrable mystery. And so it is best to listen to Dark Magus as a whole, preferably on repeat for hours on end. Its fury rarely subsides, and soon the whole of the listening space becomes a shamanic environment where time is meaningless and the world outside is forgotten."- Julian Cope