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Agitation Free - Malesch CD (album) cover

MALESCH

Agitation Free

 

Krautrock

4.01 | 186 ratings

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Sean Trane
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk
4 stars This Berlin outfit gained legendary status on the basis of their only three historic releases, which is few compared with ART, PV, ADII, TD, KW, or Can. Indeed many musos went through AF before joining ART, TD or Guru and others.. For diverse reasons, AF , formed back in 67, will not find the way to record an album until late 71(which doesn't make them pioneers in terms of early-ness), but by that time, they had acquired a solid experience playing in psych-jam rock, but often twiddling with electronic music

Although Malesch has an undeserved aura as one of the first albums exploring the fusion of rock and world music (this is much reinforced through the suggestive and exotic gatefold artworks), it retains much of their longtime passion, experimental jams on Floydish themes and cosmic soundscapes, much like the opening You Play For Us Today, or the wild guitar effects of Sahara City, bordering free jazz-improvs. The ethnic parts are mostly recordings that serve to separate the tracks, like the Imam-prayer-calls opening and closings of Sahara City or the Muezzin's chant closing the Khan track. Keyboardwise, we're dealing mainly with Hoenig's synths and electronic devices, but he's doubled up by Peter Hamel on organ on some tracks.

Much more to the point are the wild electronic effects opening Ala Tul (the track retaining a good Floydian soundscape) or Pulse, a strange electronic buzzing , first pulsing, then becoming like a pesky mosquito, haunting you, before guitars and drums intervenes and slowly driving us in the lengthy Khan El Khalili, where we get lost in the meanders of AF's dreams. The fantastic title tracks gives us another 8 blasting minutes of the same, while the closing Ruckstrurz is giving us an unusual and atypical rocky goodbye and an abrupt stop not resembling the album.

While I wouldn't call this album a remake of Floyd's Astronomy Domine, Set The Controls To The Heart Of The Sun, Saucerful of Secrets or Interstellar Overdrive (there is much of that in the music), because there is so much more than Floyd. Really essential for the electronic touches, although we are also a far cry from TD's best experiments, Malesh is iconic in Krautrock, although its ethnic reputation might be a bit usurped. BTW: Along with Embryo, AF will be one of three groups asked to play for the Olympiads of Munich late that summer.

Sean Trane | 4/5 |

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