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Agitation Free


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Agitation Free Last album cover
4.05 | 80 ratings | 14 reviews | 26% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Live, released in 1976

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Soundpool (5:47)
2. Laila II (17:08)
3. Looping (22:45)

Total Time 45:40

Bonus tracks on 2008 remaster:
4. Schwingspule (live *) (10:59)

* Recorded 1971, TU-Mensa, Berlin

Line-up / Musicians

- Jörg Schwenke / guitar (1,2)
- Lutz Ulbrich / guitar, keyboards, producer
- Michael Hoenig / synth, keyboards
- Michael Günther / bass
- Dietmar Burmeister / drums & percussion
- Burghard Rausch / drums & percussion

- Gustl Lutjens / vocals (3), loops
- Erhard Grosskopf / loops (3)

Releases information

Tracks 1 & 2 recorded live in France, March 1973; Track 3 recorded live in Berlin, February 1974.

Artwork: J.B. "Swap" Mondino

LP Barclay - 80 612 (1976, France)
CD Spalax Music 14229, 14229 CD (1992 France)
CD Revisited Rec. - REV 100 (2008, Germany) Remastered by Klaus Wagner with a bonus track
CD Belle Antique BELLE 101724 (2010 Japan) (remaster)
LP HiD MIG 00991 LP (2013 Germany)

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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AGITATION FREE Last ratings distribution

(80 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(26%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(46%)
Good, but non-essential (22%)
Collectors/fans only (4%)
Poor. Only for completionists (1%)


Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Sean Trane
3 stars This one is very different but somewhat the logical follower of Second but reversely so. Here the electronics predominate the electric and acoustic music. It was recorded partly live in 74 and partly in spring 73 from a radio broadcast and parts from a successful French tour the next year with yet another guitarist (Dietz replaced by Lutjens), but only released in France in 76 with a gloomy post nuke artwork.

If the first side is made up of two tracks, they don't make for an easy adaptation of AF's evolution since their second album. Gone is the warm pastoral sound of Second or the torrid cosmic feel of Malesh. We are left with a glacial music, sometimes not very well recorded The flipside is filled by a sidelong comp Looping IV, which is relatively eventless. as this is mostly electronic layers and sounds evolving and leading to some delightful music that AF had gotten us used to in their first two.

This is a definite tougher listen but still worth a spin, but you'll find that it never gets fully tamed, but in time, you should warm up to it. .

Review by Cesar Inca
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars This is my fave Agitation Free album from their first era. Actually, this is a selection of recordings that the band had already planned for release, but the release only took place many months after the band's demise, due to some French label's initiative. This circumstance helped the album to become a cult classic of krautrock. Anyway, IMHO, the three tracks in "Last" comprise the most proficient performances accomplished by the five musicians; they also contain the most confident labour of texture and jamming ever conceived by the band during this first era. While being more stylish and refined than "Second" and much more cohesive than their debut recording "Malesch", "Last" continues to capture the band's unique energy perfectly. The band's inherent sonic power of the band is still there, irradiating its peculiar light across their increasingly polished sonic landscapes. Jörg Schwenke is back in the band, while drummer/percussionist Burghard Rausch was gradually leaving AF: in one of the tracks he is replaced by Dietmar Burmeister. It seems that the band's internal turmoil didn't affect the level of consistency of their new material. Once again, the Ash Ra Tempel influence is quite noticeable (more evident, in fact), specially when it comes to the fluid transition from the cosmic layers to the more jam-oriented sections. Track 1 starts with a very laid-back hypnotic sonic landscape that feels distant, as if drifting through space (it kind of reminds me of early Pink Floyd); eventually, a not too long jam reprising a slight variation of the main motif of 'Rucksturz' ("Malesch" closing number) fills the room and gives the track a more definite shape. Then comes the very long 'Laila II', which retakes one of the basic subdued themes of "Laila" and explores it further, even taking it to different places as the jam goes onward. Some of the best guitar interplaying ever in AF's history is comprised in both this track and the next one, the long-side "Looping": the way that the latter incorporates dreamy passages and rocking moments in a fluid intercalation comes as no surprise to those already familiar with the band's capability to create their unique ethereal walls of sound, bathed in majesty. My overall rating for this album is the maximum one in Prog Archives terms - this is, after all, a unique masterpiece of krautrock.
Review by philippe
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Live recording from this legendary krautrock band. Just after the eloquent, freaked out rocking sessions of Malesch and Second, Agitation releases what I consider to be the sumbit of their career. The psychedelic jams are sublimated, making the priority to buzzing electronic drones, deep abstract ambiences and intuitive e-guitars improvisations. The result is constantly captivating, catchy and imersive. The musical artefact created by these germans figures among the most refined and gorgeous testimonies in "kosmiche musik" history. Generally this album is much more experimental than the previous ones, making for the first time a large place to electronic soundscapes. "Soundpool" starts with a dark abstract orchestration of electronic sequences, then it goes to a jamming session dominated by guitars. This live version of Laila is better than the piece published in studio. It starts as floating rock piece, featuring wha wha guitars and an impressive sense of rhythm and writing. The alchemy is perfect between the musicians. "Looping" is a spacey-electronic piece for long continuous forms, hypno abstract ondulations, minimalist motifs and clear, sensual echoing guitar solos. A masterpiece and the best krautrock live document.
Review by oliverstoned
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Third album from the band, this one is a 1974 official live.

It only features 3 pieces, but what pieces!

The first one, "Soundpool", features a long psychedelico-cosmic introduction followed by the beautiful lyrical guitar solo from Malesh's last piece "Rücksturz".

The second piece is a major piece from the "2nd" album, "Laïla II". The introduction is simply mind blowing; it brings the listener straight into another galaxy.The "cosmic" adjective takes its full dimension here. Then the piece evolves with stunning space rock developments lead by fantastic guitar. An absolute masterpiece!

The third piece, the long one -unreleased-, is a cyclical repetitive suite; the same theme is repeated with variations and progression, in a way somehow reminiscent of TD mid period's albums such as "Phaedra", but in a more captivating way. It evokes a shamanic psychedelic trance.

Sound is quite hazy but curiously, it fits well the music. It doesn't sound like a live album as public's presence is never heard.

This album is a major german prog album and a gem of space psychedelico-cosmic genre.

Review by Seyo
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars My first listening experience of AGITATION FREE is their third, last of the classic trio of albums. If I am allowed to judge on this basis, I will say this is a decent, quite pleasant, moody and spacy music. There are lots of electronic sounds and noise, but the solo guitar is omnipresent. It is all-instrumental piece so the album can satisfy the average fans of this type of Krautrock. For me, a good album, which I will probably not listen very often.
Review by Mellotron Storm
5 stars I want to dedicate this to my Krautrock / Canterbury friend Tom Ozric who is probably baking in 30 plus degree weather today while I freeze in -15 this morning. AGITATION FREE are one of the more legendary Krautrock bands who had a huge influence on many groups over the years."Early incarnations featured the likes of Christoph Franke (drums) who went on to TANGERINE DREAM, Ax Genrich (guitar) who after 3 months was nabbed by GURU GURU, and John L. "The Madman of Berlin" a notorious eccentric who also played with ASH RA TEMPEL". The lineup on this live album features Lutz Ulbrich who would go on to play with ASHRA and Michael Hoenig who would later join TANGERINE DREAM. This particular recording features live music from 1973 and 1974, it wasn't released until after the band broke up. And it sounds a little different from their usual trippy sound. Much more dynamic at times and at others very electronic.

"Soundpool" opens with waves of spacey sounds before it turns electronic and experimental. Spacey winds after 4 minutes. Guitars, bass and drums all kick in before 5 minutes. This is so amazing. I didn't see this coming. "Laila II" builds slowly. This is very relaxed with guitar and drums too. Great sound after 3 minutes as the guitars, bass and drums dominate. They're jamming at this point. Experimental sounds join in before 9 minutes as it settles some. Love the guitar and sound 10 minutes in. It settles down more before 12 minutes with some nice bass.

"Looping IV" features no music really but a dark, cold soundscape that changes and evolves throughout the 23 minutes. The tempo picks up half way through with much more going on as well. It slowly starts to settle back down until it's really spacey late. There's a bonus track called "Schwingspure". It's spacey early with different sounds coming and going. It turns powerful 3 minutes in then the tempo picks up. Some nice guitar here.

I love their first two studio albums but honestly this is my favourite release by them.

Review by stefro
4 stars After the ethnic experimentation of their debut release 'Malesch', Agitation Free would fine tune their sound towards a more cosmic, bluesy psychedelia evident on their sophomore record '2nd' and this 1974 live album, which is taken from a series of French concerts. For 'Last' the Agitation Free ranks had swelled to a seven-strong line-up featuring Michael Hoenig(keys), Gustl Lutjens(vocals), Dietmar Burmeister(drums), Michael Gunter(bass), Burghaud Rausch(drums, keys, vocals), Jorg Schwenke(guitar) and Lutz Ulbrich(guitar, keys), giving the group a layered and powerful sound that resonates with an earthy, cosmic intensity. The material from 'Malesch' is given a wide birth in favour of the group's more Western-orientated soundscapes, with the live favourite 'Laila' given a full and epic airing in two deeply psychedelic parts, whilst the electronics are also pushed to the fore by band-leader Michael Hoenig, who contributes a series of startling synth sections that, along with the almost celestial guitar-playing of Jorg Schwenke, give the group a richly-textured, almost mystical sound that brings to mind Ash Ra Tempel's trippy experimentation blended carefully with Dave Gilmour's soaring guitar tones. The soft, throbbing bass-lines that appear throughout the album help to maintain the soothing, spacey atmosphere, though Schwenke does occasionally let rip with a beautifully-constructed solo in 'Laila Pt 2'. Fans of Amon Duul II, Guru Guru's more serene moments, Ash Ra Tempel, Annexus Quam and the albums of former Gong guitar-star Steve Hillage will find much to admire in this bluesy krautrock odyssey, and will do well to check out the studio album '2nd' as well, which features a similar style. Though they cover the same ground, '2nd' and 'Last', along with the groups Egyptain-and-Cypriot-inspired debut, are the only real essential Agitation Free albums. They recorded very little during their lifetime, but did manage to perform at the ill-fated 1972 Munich olympics and have subsequently released some 'posthumous' releases such as 'Fragments', a live album recorded in 1974 but not released until 1995, and yet another live offering in the shape of the 1998 release 'At The Cliffs Of The River Rhine'. Though their catalogue is small, it's well worth investigating, especially for those who enjoy the more melodic side of krautrock. STEFAN TURNER, LONDON, 2010

Review by Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Last is Agitation Free's third album, recorded live in 1973 and 1974. It reveals a different and more experimental side to the band and with almost an entire album's worth of new material this is an essential Agitation Free purchase.

Soundpool opens with cosmic bleeps and synth noises before it brightens up with guitar picking and a beautiful solo. It ends rather abruptly, as if the recording tape ran out. Too bad as this one could definitily have been extended.

Laila II has little to do with its studio original. The 17 minute version here is a very strong improvisation with instrumental space rock along the lines of AF's previous albums, but where I always missed some bite in AF's studio output, the live version makes up with energy and passion.

Looping IV is an entirely different beast, it's a slowly droning sound collage that might disappoint the fans of AF's usual dreamy rock jams, but if you are initiated in Cosmic Kraut it's a very proficient piece in that style, very ambient, atmospheric, with some distand bass guitar loops and lots of effects, echoes, feedback and oscillators. Gradually clean guitars and hypnotizing strumming joins the loop. This is the kind of stuff that blows the 90s post-rock scene out of the park.

Last is a most satisfactory album, with the first two tracks it brings an improved take on their studio albums, with the last track the reveal a whole new dimension of their portential. Excellent Kraut/Psych album.

Review by Neu!mann
4 stars This (at the time) posthumous live album from Germany's Agitation Free is also one of their best efforts, striking a fine balance between the Kosmische Rock of their 1972 debut "Malesch" and the more easygoing groove of the lamely titled "2nd". Only through constant gigging could the band hope to achieve this plateau of seamless musicianship, daring to explore territory suggested but never fully realized in their two studio albums.

The mood here is darker, heavier, and the absence of any audible crowd gives the performance a curious sense of liberating detachment, as if the band was playing somewhere in the vacuum of deep space. Only three songs are featured, all of them entirely instrumental, despite the credited vocalists. The opening "Soundpool" is exactly that: an ominous free-form puddle of noises, oddly enough introducing the concert with the same trademark melody ("Rückzturz") that concluded the "Malesch" album.

After that the seventeen-minute "Laila II" takes a brief theme from the "2nd" album and expands it into an epic guitar jam, Agitation Free at their quintessential best. But it's the side-long, 23-minute "Looping" that transports the album Beyond the Infinite (borrowing a phrase from Kubrick and Clarke). This is where the band completely untethers itself from the space station and drifts slowly away into the void, enveloped within a nebula of synth drones and hissing cymbals, the latter actually an intrusion on the dreamlike aura of sound.

After a (long) while the ambient mantra is joined by an understated, urgent bass line and distant guitars, becoming subtly more aggressive while never losing sight of the heavenly chords rising from Michael Hoenig's keyboards. This is profoundly healing music: one of the great unsung Krautrock chillouts of all time, and arguably Agitation Free's finest moment on record.

There have been plenty of reunions since 1974, but really this was it: the perfect (if premature) swan song for a band that, in its prime, wasn't around anywhere near long enough.

Review by Progfan97402
4 stars Found a used CD of this in Eugene, Oregon, which I thought that was great, I've been meaning to get some Agitation Free, but the problems of course, are they are not always easy to get a hold of, although not so if you're looking for a reissue online. I already have Malesch, still don't have 2nd, though. I first knew of Agitation Free back in 1995 when I bought a copy of Michael Hoenig's Departure from the Northern Wasteland (LPs of that are fairly common and cheap, I wouldn't be too surprised if a copy occasionally turns up in a thrift/charity store). Then that year I discovered, before briefly joining Tangerine Dream for a few tours in 1975, he was in Agitation Free.

Last was a live album recorded in 1973 and '74, but it was only released in France in 1976 on the Barclay label at the time. Agitation Free was probably the most clean-cut of the Krautrock groups, in that they had a more polished and professional attitude than many of the others, who took a more rough attitude and approach. This album gives me an impression that they were trying to be Krautrock's answer to the Grateful Dead. Had the Dead been German, chances are the Americana, folk and country elements of the band would be completely absent for a more spacy approach, and that imagination can be fueled on a version of "Laila II" (originally off 2nd), where they go into an extended jam that could remind one of a Krautrock Dead with extended, almost Jerry Garcia-like guitar solos, but with a spacier approach, and lots of spacy synth effects. "Soundpool" is really just an extended version of the last song off Malesch. "Looping" is a more experimental piece, a bit less structured, probably because it was improvised on the spot. It's nice to see live material existing of this band, although it's pretty safe to say by 1976, when this album was finally released, the band was history. Michael Hoenig collaborating with Manuel Göttsching for Early Water (which was never released until 1995, likely to do with the demise of Rolf Ulrich Kaiser's record labels after the Cosmic Jokers lawsuits) and then Hoenig recording and releasing the popular (in EM circles) Departure from the Northern Wasteland before moving to Hollywood and scoring music for film and television. I have to say Last is worth having if you like Agitation Free.

Latest members reviews

4 stars Agitation Free's aptly named live album "Last" is a colossal and epic journey, which aides in some heavy mind-exploration. Agitation Free's previous two albums were solid additions to the eclectic Kraut Rock pantheon, however with "Last" it appears they have finally let go, and just melt into a c ... (read more)

Report this review (#299371) | Posted by Patrick R. Park | Thursday, September 16, 2010 | Review Permanlink

3 stars The tale of a great 2/3 of an album. I first got into Agitation Free through their live album At The Cliffs Of River Rhine 18 months ago. I liked that album and purchased everything I could find from Agitation Free. I have learned to love this band. Last is their first live album. It con ... (read more)

Report this review (#299216) | Posted by toroddfuglesteg | Wednesday, September 15, 2010 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Eeexcellent. As I'm just starting my krautrock collection, this is my first Agitation Free album. I have enjoyed most of the tracks I'd heard before but here the band takes their music even deeper into space. 45 minutes, 3 songs, quite incredible. Recorded live in 1974, you can't really tell ... (read more)

Report this review (#135674) | Posted by Jimsey | Saturday, September 1, 2007 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Their third originally released by Barclay in France.It could pleasure most the lovers from electronic and cosmic music.It contains 3 long tracks with that typical early seventies German feel,such as groups as Gila,Yatha Sidhra,Popol Vuh...However a little bit with a more electronic touch. ... (read more)

Report this review (#21642) | Posted by | Friday, January 30, 2004 | Review Permanlink

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