Both Pangaea and its predecessor Agharta were recorded on February 1, 1975, in Osaka, Japan, at the Festival Hall. The Agharta concert took place during an afternoon matinee, whereas Pangaea was recorded in the evening. This album's music was split into two tracks, "Zimbabwe" and "Gondwana", the latter of which was the name of the ancient supercontinent, as was "Pangaea". According to music scholar Enrico Merlin, the two tracks contain performances of the segments originally developed by Davis under the titles "Moja", "Willie Nelson on Tune in 5", "Nne", "Zimbabwe", "Ife", and "Wili (= for Dave)", performed in that order.
In The Village Voice, Robert Christgau gave Pangaea's 1991 CD reissue an honorable mention, citing "Zimbabwe" as the highlight while lamenting the flute playing and scant track listing. Davis biographer Jack Chambers found the performance "vastly" inferior to Agharta, as did Paul Tingen, who lamented Davis' reduced presence and role directing his band. Tingen also observed "a sense of tiredness and drift", which he attributed to the septet having played the first concert earlier that day: "There are several extended periods during which the band just plays out the grooves, waiting for Miles to give the next cue." In the Los Angeles Times, Bill Kohlhaase called Pangaea "a striking personal soundtrack of decline that, like Miles himself, suffers from exhaustion before playing itself out".