As well played as it is, and as able as the musicians are, there is something almost undeniably grating about the music contained on the six tracks of Charged Live. There are a few things it might be pinned to. One is the instrumentalists' color choices. Nearly all of them compete for a scratchy midrange that practically thrusts out of the speakers. Unfortunately, in the bargain, nearly all of the instruments are subsumed into a sonic mass (on headphones, however, the specifics of the noisy jungle are nicely discernible). Though they seem to be committed to developing the project as electro-acoustic music, they fail to define their own sense of musical place. Bits of grooves and rhythms and drones seem to hint at some idea of continuity, but somehow no obvious musical ideas seem to get developed for any sustained periods of time. Even the final track, a collaboration with Maleem Mahmoud Ghania and the Gnawa Musicians of Morocco, seems to fall short. All that said, this live compilation follow-up to their 1999 album is interesting, challenging music, bringing the group sound idea of electric Miles Davis into the contemporary electronic age, but it is to little avail.
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AllMusic Review by Jesse Jarnow