Got the first 3 tracks up for review today: "Sivad," "Little Church," and "Medley: Gemini/Double Image."
"Sivad" is pretty long number (but not the longest on the record) at 15:14, so I obviously won't be touching on every detail of the track. No one's trying to read an essay, and I'm not trying to write one. Anyway, with that disclaimer, "Sivad" is quite the track to open up with. It starts off the bat with a heavy funk groove, which would have been time-wise right when this style was really starting to catch steam. Even though everyone is kind of going HAM and doing their own thing, the groove is still cohesive, which is not an easy thing to accomplish. The groove gets a little bit of a breather at 3:00 with a relaxed groove, but another even more relaxed groove comes in at 4:20 (how appropriate considering that in my notes I wrote "this is when the weed kicked in" haha), and this groove carries out for the remainder of the song. Some of these scales that Miles is doing are so ridiculous, it kind of blows my mind. The same can be said for John McLaughlin's guitar solo, oh daddy. Then Keith Jarrett comes in and does his solo thang on the keys at 12:30, needless to say it is another "are you kidding me" kind of moment. This groove goes on a little long, but that's what happens when you're doing a live thing with a bunch of class A musicians, so I'm not mad at them. The thing I took the most away from this track was how, although they were all doing their own thing, the groove still came together as one cohesive thought. I don't like how abruptly the track ends, but otherwise this is a solid, solid tune.
When I first listened to "Little Church," I immediately got an Arthur Verocai/Brazilian vibe from it, which makes total sense considering that it was written by Brazilian composer Hermeto Pascoal, who is also featured on this track as the whistler (as well as drums, and electric piano). The line up of musicians on this track is kind of ridiculous. How in the world do you get Herbie Hancock, Chick Corea, AND Keith Jarrett all to play keys on ONE TRACK?? You're Miles Davis, that's how. Anyway, this is a (thankfully) short number that has a very relaxed quality to it that is quite soothing. I like that the whistling and Miles' trumpet are in unison, it has a nice, calming effect to it. The chords on this one are pretty awesome too, and I wish that I actually knew wtf was going on, so someone transcribe this for me so I know what's up. The groove kind of makes you feel like you're floating on water, and I dig that.
"Medley: Gemini/Double Image" is quite an out tune, to say the least. Mainly centered around McLaughlin's guitar, the groove is very dark and ambiguous. It would be an appropriate soundtrack were you to get lost in the woods at night and had no idea what the fuck was going on. I don't mean that in a bad way at all, that's simply the image that comes to mind when I hear it. Very grunge before grunge was a thing. It also has a vacancy to it that I find intriguing, it's like a bunch of sounds just happened to come together in some crazy time portal, or something. While there doesn't seem to be a solid groove that this track is centered around, it's not so all over the place that you zone out. I'm gonna get super zooted next time I listen to this, as I'm sure that's the state they were all in while recording.