Chunky. That’s really the best word I can come up with to describe this one. It may be the sinister precursor to early-onset dementia, but everything about this track just sounds chunky to me; the rhythms, the harmonies, the just-overdriven guitar and keyboard tones. Like the rest of Miles Davis’ Bitches Brew (1970), ‘John McLaughlin’ – named for the album’s guitarist – is driven by constant, and complex, improvisation by the whole band, with the resulting fluid soundscape kept tethered by repeated fragments of melody. What sets this track apart is its sparseness and concision. In an album of gloriously bloated improvisational epics that you don’t so much listen as submit to, here are four and a half minutes of (comparatively) lean, dissonant rocking. ‘John McLaughlin’ is a brief reprieve, a moment to catch our breath and let the spotlight rest on the titular guitarist and his inimitable tones. The guitar wails, the keyboards bubble, and everything’s chunky. And then we get on with the show.

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