Every Record I Own - Day 337: Miles Davis On the Corner
Like the Darkthrone album from my previous post, this Miles Davis album is a recent purchase during a hectic year. But unlike The Underground Resistance, this LP has gotten some actual spins on the turntable. The reason? If I’m listening to dissonant metal, I want to give it my full attention. But Miles Davis? It’s a good soundtrack to doing other things.
In 1972, On the Corner’s heavy funk leanings didn’t go over well with the traditional jazz audience. This was actually Miles’ last full-fledged studio project before releasing a slew of live records and studio compilations and then going into hiatus in 1975. While the album was initially panned, it’s now one of his most beloved records, particularly among the weirdo rock crowd.
I find On the Corner to be a good record for social engagements because the long tracks, percolating rhythms, and dense interwoven grooves have a strong kinetic energy to them, but nothing in the thick magma of sound is ever jarring or distracting. This was apparently Miles’ goal—he didn’t even credit the players on the record because he wanted the focus to be on the overall sound. Also unsurprisingly, Miles became more interested in playing live and less interested in recording after making On the Corner, mainly because he liked the idea of his material being malleable, open-ended, and ongoing.
So this is a record you can keep on your turntable all day while you’re putzing around your home doin’ stuff, while Darkthrone is more of a special occasion “play at top volume to drown out all the bullshit” type of record.