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Agitation Free - Second CD (album) cover

SECOND

Agitation Free

 

Krautrock

3.70 | 124 ratings

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Neu!mann
Prog Reviewer
4 stars Don't let those comparisons to The Allman Brothers or The Grateful Dead scare you away. Agitation Free was indeed an old-school jam band, but in classic Krautrock fashion they raised the convention to a whole new level. I doubt if Jerry Garcia ever transformed a guitar solo into a goofy, extended VCS3 drum break (here titled "Dialogue and Random"), or introduced an energetic instrumental workout with a long, freeform electronic drone-fest before reaching for his bouzouki, as Lutz Ulbrich does here at the start of "A Quiet Walk".

Their bluntly titled sophomore album saw the band reduced from its earlier, more communal seven-man line up to a much leaner quintet, and growing stronger for the loss. A lot of fans prefer the collage of Third World soundscapes on their debut album "Malesch", but this was where Agitation Free discovered its true voice. The music is more relaxed and casual than the cosmic cut-and-paste fusion of "Malesch", and there's an organic unity to this disc lacking from the earlier effort, giving it more of a timeless quality when heard today, nearly forty (!) years later.

From the burst of white noise at the top of the album to the matching explosion in its final moments there isn't a false note to be found. The only hint of the band's hallucinogenic Space Rock origins can be heard in the arctic mellotron and heavily treated vocals on the aptly-titled album closer "Haunted Island": an uneasy epilogue to the otherwise beautiful grooves of "First Communication" or "Laila", and the hypnotic pagan folk-rock of "A Quiet Walk".

The music of Agitation Free may lack the garage band energy of early FAUST or CAN; the single-minded momentum of NEU!; the transcendental mysticism of ASH RA TEMPEL and the kosmische musik groups. And yet this album in particular may be the ideal antidote to all those freakazoid Krautrock alternatives: proof that enlightenment can sometimes be found on the path of least resistance.

Neu!mann | 4/5 |

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