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One of last year’s overlooked CDs was Panthalassa: The Music of Miles Davis, 1969–1974, the producer Bill Laswell’s remix project of Miles Davis’s electric jazz period. Laswell reconstructed tunes from albums such as In a Silent Way and On the Corner, classics that shot jazz out of smoky clubs and into large concert arenas. Though not critically popular at the time, this era has resoundly influenced everything from fusion to hip hop, ambient, and postrock.
Panthalassa: The Remixes are interpretations by various DJs of Laswell’s initial project, and, unfortunately, the results are hit or miss. Remixes by DJ Cam and by King Britt and Philip Charles merely project Miles’s quiet, passionately infused horn against down-tempo hip-hop beats and annoying, repetitious samples. Laswell does little to improve upon his previous mix of “On the Corner.” Jamie Myerson interestingly drops the trumpet from the mix entirely, focusing on the electric piano and organ from Miles’s incredible backing band on “Rated X.” The star track belongs to DJ Krush, whose remix of “Black Satin/On the Corner” fuses old-school beats with echoing samples—and is available only on the vinyl version.