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Agitation Free - Malesch CD (album) cover

MALESCH

Agitation Free

 

Krautrock

4.01 | 186 ratings

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Cesar Inca
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Having generated a cult following for years, since the late 60s, it was surprising that this relevant krautrock act had taken so long before they recorded and released their debut album; but again, better late than never. Agitation Free created an excellent first album, full of ethnic vibrations and exotic magic, which appears perfectly combined with the hard rocking guitar riffing and electric keyboard psychedelic effects, mandatory elements in the kraut context. Before the band achieved their first recording contract, they took a trip to Morocco, something that they seemed particularly interested in documenting and manifesting all throughout the repertoire. By then Agitation Free had a distinct sound based on the musicians' finesse, which would always show above the wall of psychedelic, blues-tinged noise that stands as a signature pattern of krautrock: their rocking jams always bore a certain magical aura, that made their music ethereal, besides, of course, energetic and trippy. It is not dueling as much as complementing what both guitarists (Ulbrich and Schwenke) recurrently do, while the organ parts create an ethereal wall of sound, confidently flowing in the background; the rhythm section uses lots of exotic cadences (plus the use of marimba) in order to keep on par with the ethnic stuff and, simultaneously, to found a solid pace for the other musicians' jamming. Bassist Gunther is a very skillful in his role (arguably, the most gifted musician in this combo), displaying some intricate, powerful lines that, at times, assume a prominent role in the mix - for example, 'Sahara City'. The opening track 'You Play for us Today' sounds really intense without getting overtly aggressive: 'Khan El Khalili' and the namesake track are the most energetic numbers in the album, but let's keep in mind that these guys' main musical concern is to lay out ethereal ambiences and sonic layers, instead of merely creating defying, explosive sonic electric storms (something that Ash Ra Temple or Guru Guru do happily and unabashedly). 'Pulse' is an amazing jam that sees AF absorbing influences from their fellow countrymen Can and Tangerine Dream, while 'Ala Tull' displays lots of percussive stuff on the frontline. 'Rucksturz' is the shortest track: it closes the album with a recognizable line, something like a tender epilogue. A great album this is, indeed: "Melesch" is one of the definitive cornerstones of kraut.
Cesar Inca | 4/5 |

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