Bill Laswell is widely respected as a producer (for musicians as varied as Motörhead and Sonny Sharrock), a musician (in Material and dozens of other projects), and an all-around catalyst known for bringing the best out of players. Therefore, anyone expecting Laswell's "remix" of some of Miles Davis' more interesting material to be weighed down with leaden techno beats and drum-and-bass flourishes is in for a subtle surprise. The music Davis made in the late '60s and early '70s was the most challenging of his career, but it was jeered by jazz purists. But from In A Silent Way and Bitches Brew—which witnessed the birth of fusion—to the hard funk and rampant weirdness of On The Corner and Get Up With It, respectively, Davis refused to remain anchored to one musical point. For Panthalassa, Laswell was given access to Davis' master tapes, and in turn, an opportunity to shed more light on these somewhat unsung, albeit suddenly trendy, masterpieces. Panthalassa's first track, for example, is pretty much the In A Silent Way album, but reordered and truncated. Elsewhere, Laswell picks and chooses standout tracks from sometimes-sprawling albums; neither "Black Satin," from On The Corner, nor "Rated X," from Get Up With It, sound out of context. Some might view Panthalassa as sacrilegious meddling, but you can't help but think Davis wouldn't mind; after all, On The Corner—perhaps Davis' most maligned album—seems almost arbitrary in terms of start and stop points. At the very least, Laswell's project might send fans back to the originals to compare and contrast, and in that sense, he couldn't be doing Davis a greater service.

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