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Agitation Free - Malesch CD (album) cover

MALESCH

Agitation Free

 

Krautrock

4.00 | 191 ratings

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Neu!mann
Prog Reviewer
3 stars Agitation Free never quite managed to transcend their era like many of the better known Krautrock bands. But for a second-division outfit they certainly provide a blast from someone's lysergic past (not an old square like me, alas).

The group would eventually distinguish itself as one of Germany's premier jam bands, but their debut album is, for all its otherworldly charm, a bit unfocused. There's an attractive but undisciplined everything-but-the-kitchen-sink approach to composition and structure here that hasn't aged particularly well, a combination of psychedelic guitar noodling, musique concrete, electronic experimentation, and documentary sound samples from the back alleys of Cairo, Beirut, and Damascus.

The same Arabian-style ragas were of course the bread and butter of every underground band on Earth in the early 1970s. But these guys at least made a real effort to understand their material, travelling all over the Near East in search of inspiration (cultural and chemical, one suspects), before entering the recording studio.

That integrity of purpose gives the finished album its unique aura. And despite the emphasis (innovative, at the time) on Third World sound sources the music remains sehr kosmische, flowing smoothly from one exotic destination to the next until the rather abrupt ending to the energetic curtain closer "Rücksturz", perhaps intended as the musical equivalent of an old television cliff hanger (...tune in next week!)

The album title is apparently a common Egyptian expression meaning, very roughly: It's Cool Man...Stuff Happens, Ya Know? (or something like that). It's a perfect term for this always intriguing but often messy first effort by one of Krautrock's unsung, underachieving ensembles.

Neu!mann | 3/5 |

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