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Agitation Free - Malesch CD (album) cover

MALESCH

Agitation Free

 

Krautrock

4.01 | 177 ratings

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octopus-4
4 stars Two years before CAMEL, a German band creates a sonic travel to the Sahara desert, and it's remarkable that the athmospheres of Malesh are similar to those of Mirage. Of course the two bands and their music are very different, but the spirit of the desert seems to have touched them in a similar way.

"You Play For Us Today" is opened by voices, then the bass plays a sort of melody over a Floydian keyboard. Effectively the north-african dissonances of the keyboard with chords passing from major to minor and vice-versa are the same of the early Wright's works. Also the drums and the guitar chords have a lot of the Floyd's debut. Add to this the usual krautrock acid jamming and our voyage is started. At the end of the track, suddenly the desert turns into space, but it's just a spacey moment before the second track "Sahara City" brings us in a Saharian market.

What's the relationship between the ethnic opening and the spacey sounds that come after? Probably the wilderness of the dunes and the open spaces are not too different from the cold starry space. This tracks moves from psychedelic to electronic and back and this makes it a bit difficult to follow. It requires more listens before one can think to have caught its sense. The last three miutes of jamming are not bad.

"Ala Tul" begins with electronic noises, then a major kyaboard's chord appears from behind. This is the start of a progressive rock moment. What comes is a bass riff over a repetitive keyboard and a sort of funky drumming. The keyboard chord goes minor and now it's like a psychedelic version of Lady Fantasy (keeping in mind that Lady Fantasy was still to be written actually). The finale is based on percussions and goes back to ethnic.

"Pulse" is like a big fly buzzing around your ears in the heat of the desert's afternoon. Guitar and drums give this noise a musical shape. Experimental but not too much.

"Khan El Khalili" is very evocative. All the heat of the desert and the apparent quietness are sumoned by the bass keyboard chords until a guitar harping gives it a structure. At this point the bass first, then the guitar transform it in a bluesy instrumental, but the rhythm is the one that is caleed "Rajaz" by the Tuaregs, This is the album's highlight.

The title track "Malesh" is opened by a "Muezzin" singing. When he stops, the keyboard arrives very similar to Ala Tul abd the guitar adds some colour with full chords. The undulating pace is given by the bass. It's another good track, easy enough to be appreciated by non-krautrock fans, too. I think I can call it a blues.

The album is closed by a short track: "Rucksturz" (Smooth Fall). The only defect of this song is that it lasts for just a bit more than two minutes, but it's so good that it always leaves me wishing more, also because of its sudden end.

Calling it masterpiece is a bit too much, but this is an excellent album that can be useful for people who wants to know what the Krautrock is about without being misleaded by the acid trips of bands like Amon Duul.

octopus-4 | 4/5 |

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