|Label||CBS/Sony Inc Japan|
|Designer||Artwork: Tadanori Yokoo, photographers: Tadayuki Naitoh, Shigeo Anzai|
|Music||Acid funk and then some|
|Notes||One of my absolute favourites in terms of music and design.
Agharta was Miles’ penultimate release before retirement from performance and public view for more than five years. Agharta and its sister Pangaea are concert performances recorded on the same day, afternoon and evening. Davis had assimilated the radical, jump-cut editing his long-time producer Teo Macero had wrought in the studio and imposed structural change in the moment on his band with coded musical signals and hand gestures. Each performance begins with incredible vigour (attributable in no small part to Pete Cosey’s scorched earth guitar), navigates switch-back turns of extemporised funk and acid melody before ultimately descending into silence via passages of Sun Ra-like hand percussion. Both double albums are fantastic voyages into the unknown, sounding as alien and bewitching today as the day they were recorded.
Tadanori Yokoo’s artwork perfectly encapsulates Miles’ music: technicolour trips through sub-aquatic cities peopled by divers, spaceships, coral and beautiful women on the outside cover while inside angels are picked off by huge birds. I particularly love the artist/title text as spaceship taking off against the red dawn. Would the cover be as great without the amazing music? Of course, not, but nor would the music without this cover… The American version of the cover is also interesting, but more mundane than this fantastical creature.
Tadanori Yokoo’s work is fantastic and well worth checking out: