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AGITATION FREE

Krautrock • Germany


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Agitation Free biography
A classic of the German space genre. Their current music is a combination of Progressive Rock and New Instrumental Music, with touches of Jazz and passages dedicated to an experimentation near to Ambient. Their originality was due to the blend electronic and repetitive musics with a lot of ethnic elements from North Africa, India, etc. Very much like your early ASH RA TEMPEL, GURU GURU type bands except with a cultural influence.

"Malesch" is an ethic excursion and a clear passion for the European avant-garde with extended guitar solos and mesmerizing atmospheres. "Second" is more Euro-folk inflected, with a stronger use of acoustic guitars and bouzouki. Both "Malesch" and "Second" are excellent space excursions but absolutely brilliant recordings... ESSENTIAL!.

Several AGITATION FREE albums were released after the group's breakup, including 1976's "Last", 1995's "Fragments" and the following years's "At The Cliffs of The River Rhine" (1998). The following year "River Of Return" appeared, featuring the original quartet as well as new members Johannes Pappert and Bernard Potschka. Their aptly titled "Last" is considered by many to be one of the best live space albums ever. Lots of acid-drenched guitar and electronics to really carry you "out there".

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2nd2nd
Import
MADE IN GERMANY MUSI 2012
Vinyl$25.59
$27.90 (used)
Last, Fragments & Live '74Last, Fragments & Live '74
Made In Germany Musi 2016
Audio CD$17.66
$13.55 (used)
Last By Agitation Free (0001-01-01)Last By Agitation Free (0001-01-01)
Spalax
Audio CD$109.96
MaleschMalesch
MADE IN GERMANY MUSI 2012
Vinyl$26.00
$21.93 (used)
FragmentsFragments
Spv Import 2009
Audio CD$18.98
River of ReturnRiver of Return
Spv Import 2009
Audio CD$14.46
$10.00 (used)
Shibuya NightsShibuya Nights
Imports 2014
Audio CD$14.46
$14.45 (used)
Live '74: at the Cliffs of River Rhine [Import]Live '74: at the Cliffs of River Rhine [Import]
Alliance 2009
Audio CD$28.66 (used)
LastLast
MADE IN GERMANY MUSI 2013
Vinyl$16.81
Shibuya Nights by Agitation Free (2014-05-06)Shibuya Nights by Agitation Free (2014-05-06)
Imports
Audio CD$36.32
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AGITATION FREE discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

AGITATION FREE top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.00 | 241 ratings
Malesch
1972
3.82 | 170 ratings
2nd
1973
3.23 | 24 ratings
River Of Return
1999
2.74 | 22 ratings
The Other Sides Of Agitation Free
1999

AGITATION FREE Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.05 | 64 ratings
Last
1976
3.79 | 33 ratings
Fragments (Live '74)
1995
4.00 | 51 ratings
At The Cliffs Of River Rhine
1998
3.81 | 24 ratings
Shibuya Nights - Live in Tokyo
2011
4.00 | 1 ratings
1st
2012

AGITATION FREE Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

AGITATION FREE Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.67 | 3 ratings
Fragments & Malesch
2000
0.00 | 0 ratings
Last, Fragments & Live '74
2016

AGITATION FREE Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

AGITATION FREE Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 River Of Return by AGITATION FREE album cover Studio Album, 1999
3.23 | 24 ratings

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River Of Return
Agitation Free Krautrock

Review by Neu!mann
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Attempting a comeback after 25 years can be a risky venture, especially for an aging band so closely tied to a vanished zeitgeist, in this case the restless counterculture of early 1970s Germany. But Agitation Free got it exactly right for their improbable late '90s reunion, striking an ideal balance between nostalgia and change.

The classic AF lineup last heard in 1974 was still intact, minus keyboard guru Michael Hoenig, who at the time was occupied with crummy Hollywood soundtrack commissions, emulating his idols in Tangerine Dream. His absence would force the remaining players to pursue a bigger, brighter sound, far removed from the band's Krautrock roots but entirely appropriate for the more streamlined musical climate of the 1990s. 'Accessible' can be a dirty word in Progressive Rock circles, but it works here, and the band's jammy instrumental vibe wasn't compromised in the slightest.

The title track opens the album on an unexpected (and very pretty) acoustic guitar phrase, courtesy of Gustl Lütjens. The added saxophone is another surprise, alerting listeners that the band was no longer living in the past. Or at least not entirely: some of that spacey early '70s DNA resurfaces in the awkwardly titled "She Sells Seashells at the Seashore", one of two cuts breaking the ten-minute threshold. The past is likewise present in "Nomads", a groovy dream of Arab caravans recalling the band's travels throughout the Near East before recording their first album in 1972.

Both tracks reference the same cosmic heritage, but without sounding at all retrograde. Ditto the climactic "177 Spectacular Sunrises", closing the album on a drifting meditative note consistent with the band's Krautrock origins, but updated to the uncertain end of a turbulent millennium.

It's too bad that perfectly timed curtain was then spoiled by an atypical bonus track: the hard-rocking encore "Keep On": not a bad song, but all-too conventional after the uncanny voyage preceding it.

The reformation was brief, and another decade would pass before the band was heard again (see: Shibuya Nights"). But if this ends up being the final Agitation Free studio album it'll be remembered as a worthwhile valedictory, especially for a group more than two decades away from home.

 At The Cliffs Of River Rhine by AGITATION FREE album cover Live, 1998
4.00 | 51 ratings

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At The Cliffs Of River Rhine
Agitation Free Krautrock

Review by Neu!mann
Prog Reviewer

3 stars The second posthumous live album from the Berlin-based Krautrock jam band is another winner, despite having a more conventional playlist compared to the far-flung explorations of "Last", which appeared shortly after the group first split in 1974.

This one arrived over twenty years later, but the belated release date wasn't accidental. Guitarist Lutz Ulbrich was in the process of getting the band back together in 1998, and dusting off an old concert recording was an expedient way to rekindle interest in a cult act out of the public eye for almost a quarter century.

The live tapes were restored from a much-bootlegged radio broadcast, recorded in Cologne on February 2, 1974 (nine months before the breakup), and sound excellent for their age. The setlist, for better or worse, was drawn almost entirely from the band's 1973 sophomore LP "2nd", faithfully reproducing over half the album (and in sequence). The single digression is the album's long, opening improv "Through the Moods": classic Agitation Free, showing the group at its telepathic peak.

It's true that the concert renditions stick pretty close to their studio role models, unlike the extended jams on "Last". But the performances all have that vital spark only attainable on stage, revealed here through the intertwined guitars of Ulbrich and Gustl Lütjens, and held in place by the textured aura of Michael Hoenig's keyboards: otherworldly icing atop an already cosmic torte.

At least one re-issue (the '08 Revisited Records CD, without the original Maxfield Parrish-meets-Roger Dean artwork) includes a nine-minute bonus, "Big Fuzz": an embryonic and at times almost funky jam from a show two years before the Rhine River gig. The sound quality takes a nosedive, but the extra track is a welcome slice of high-water Krautrock, like the full album an unexpected gift to fans, freshly exhumed from the vaults.

 2nd by AGITATION FREE album cover Studio Album, 1973
3.82 | 170 ratings

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2nd
Agitation Free Krautrock

Review by Nogger

5 stars Agitation Free streamlined its sound for its 2nd long player. In the dust go the middle eastern mystic rhythms that permeated the debut, in come lilting dual guitar melodies and spaced-out harmonics. The result is a crowning achievement for German rock and must have album for progressive rock collectors.

Three compilation worthy cuts - "First Communication", "Laila pt. 2" and "In the Silence of the Morning Sunrise" - highlight this set, with the last two album cuts pushing this record into all time classic territory. The vagina album cover puts it over the top.

Sorely underexposed in the progressive rock arena, all of Agitation Free is recommended, but this one should be on your shelves if you own 100 prog albums.

 Last by AGITATION FREE album cover Live, 1976
4.05 | 64 ratings

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Last
Agitation Free Krautrock

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.

 2nd by AGITATION FREE album cover Studio Album, 1973
3.82 | 170 ratings

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2nd
Agitation Free Krautrock

Review by Igor91

5 stars For me, Agitation Free's "2nd" is the quintessential Krautrock album. While not as recognized as bands like Amon Duul II, Can, or Faust, Agitation Free was an exemplary Krautrock band. "2nd," being their last album (at least until the 1990's), was their finest moment. Many reviewers have faulted this album because of it's rather recognizable influence of West Coast bands like the Grateful Dead, and the Allman Brothers, somehow making it not "true" krautrock. I wholeheartedly disagree. Yes, the influence of those aforementioned bands are there, but Agitation Free injected a large dose of krautrock weirdness into the mix, and the results are magical.

When I first listened to this album, I knew that I liked it, but once I listened to it in a "different frame of mind," I was completely blown away. It reminded of, many years ago, when I first listened to Pink Floyd's DSOTM in a similar frame of mind. While this album is sonically nothing like DSOTM, it is one of the pivotal albums of it's genre. I won't go into detailed reviews of each song (that has been done at length in previous reviews), but I would best describe the sound of the album as a whole as a very jammy krautrock, with excellent guitar work by short-lived member Stefan Diez. Bassist Michael "Fame" Gunther and drummer Burghard Rausch lock in grooves throughout various moments, while the remaining members' instrumentation float over the top in a hypnotic, spaced-out jam. No boring, overdone freak-outs here, just pure audio euphoria.

The only fault that the album has are the awkward vocal pieces during "Haunted Island," which could have just as well been left out. Not enough to bring it below 4.5 stars, so I easily round the rating to a 5. Highly recommended!

 2nd by AGITATION FREE album cover Studio Album, 1973
3.82 | 170 ratings

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2nd
Agitation Free Krautrock

Review by Suedevanshoe

5 stars There's a reason this band has so many records in print 40+ years after their debut. Agitation Free is essential Krautrock, essential Space Rock, essential Progressive Rock, essential Rock, and almost essential for those with an interest in the roots of ethnic fusion, ambient, global psychedelia, even industrial and drone rock.

2nd is the height of Agitation Free's powers.

Restrained and elegant (but still loud with some rough edges) Agitation Free tones down the Arabic overtones of their debut, Malesch. It's how they combine rough and smooth that makes their sound classic.

"A Quiet Walk" is a definite highlight. Ambient mixed with hippy folkprog is as easy on the ears as Harmonium's "Histoires Sans Paroles" and Guru Guru's "God's Endless Love For Men".

Superb - one listen and you'll hear why the reach of this album far exceeds its current grasp. The cover makes me laugh and Agitation Free is a terrific name for a band - they are one of the few rock instrumental groups whose song names truly mirror the feeling(s) reflected by the song. Classic.

 Malesch by AGITATION FREE album cover Studio Album, 1972
4.00 | 241 ratings

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Malesch
Agitation Free Krautrock

Review by Igor91

3 stars Agitation Free's debut album is a fairly celebrated krautrock statement on PA, often mentioning it's Egyptian flavorings peppered throughout. While I like this album, I'm not as impressed as many other reviewers on PA. My largest complaint about Malesch is that there is not enough jamming to be found. It seems that on most tracks you need to wait through several minutes of experimental atmospheres before the tasty jams begin. Then, once they get really grooving, they suddenly fade away or are interrupted by further soundscapes. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy some nice experimental freak-outs within songs, but only up to a point. After 3 to 4 minutes things really need to move on, in my opinion anyway. To sum it up, the psychedelic jams on Malesch are really good, but are interpolated with too many sound experiments, and are often too short. I feel Agitation Free really hit their stride with their follow up, 2nd, when they created a better balance between the music and the spaced-out atmospheres. 3.5 stars.
 Malesch by AGITATION FREE album cover Studio Album, 1972
4.00 | 241 ratings

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Malesch
Agitation Free Krautrock

Review by Aussie-Byrd-Brother
Special Collaborator Rock Progressivo Italiano Team

4 stars East meets West on the debut Agitation Free LP `Malesch' from 1972, an album of exotic sounds and spacey atmospheres, as proposed by an improvisation based jam-band. Two identities, two musical sounds seemingly at odds with eachother instead become one unified whole, when it probably should sound very confused and conflicted. The band seamlessly blend eastern styles of the old world with space-rock and plodding Krautrock flavours of more modern eras, and the result is a collection of freeform psychedelic experiments full of mysticism and grooving rock passages. Of particular note throughout is future Tangerine Dream member Michael Hoenig's unearthly, atmospheric and restrained keyboard drones, although to be fair, four of the band members are credited to keyboards here!

There's a scuzzy, uneasy menace to album opener `You Play For Us Today', with splintering heavy psych electric guitar feedback that channels the late 60's Pink Floyd sound, alongside piercing upfront bass and droning maddening organ with an ethereal shimmering tone. `Sahara City' is more ambient and drifting, ethnic market place flavours introduced by acoustic hand percussion, cymbal rises and loopy electric guitar mangling from Jorg Schwenke in the manner of Syd Barrett's distinctive sound. The piece is full of meandering mystery, until it comes together in a shambling, nicely ragged acid-rock driving march in the final minutes, perhaps closer to Can. Burghard Rausch's drumming absolutely purrs on that one too. Searing electronic violations and repetitive hypnotic panning swirling organ permeates throughout `Ala Tul', with thick mumbling bass breaking through tribal percussion, the entire band working up a heady yet joyous intensity.

All the focus is on Michael Hoening's keyboards on the opener of the second side, `Pulse'. It's a bent sustained organ and wavering electronic drone with a maddening repulsive loop that plays over and over into infinity, likely to drive you to madness, brought on even sooner by relentless drum fills. Another droning synth hum pulses away in the background of `Khan El Khalilli', blanketing delirious sighing cries, skittering frantic drumming and chiming acid-folk acoustic guitars. There's a drawling bass plod from Michel Gunter that bursts through some meditative flute and lovely electric guitar soloing that takes flight, leaving the whole piece in a warm toasty haze. After opening with a chirping electronic loop, drums, bass and guitars seamlessly grow in confidence and tempo throughout the title track `Malesch', a never-ending pulsing Hammond organ joyfully noodling away, the whole band bringing a constant and infectious driving energy and whipping up a gentle fury. Sadly the album ends on a scorching rock track that only serves as an interlude at little over two minutes, but it does make for a memorable finale.

By the time their `Second' album came around, the band had abandoned most of the ethnic elements altogether, placing a greater emphasis on melodic, joyful electric guitar soloing and electronic experiments, which only makes this one all the more special. It's just as good, if rather different, to the follow-up, but both are essential chilled-out Krautrock works. It perhaps shares a similar searing spiritual ethnic flavour as the second half of Guru Guru's `Dance with the Flames' album, mixed with the expansive electronics of early Tangerine Dream, but there's always that thrilling sense of exploration and sonic freedom that the Krautrock bands are known for, and `Malesch' is simply beautiful, intoxicating music.

Four stars.

 2nd by AGITATION FREE album cover Studio Album, 1973
3.82 | 170 ratings

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2nd
Agitation Free Krautrock

Review by Aussie-Byrd-Brother
Special Collaborator Rock Progressivo Italiano Team

4 stars Agitation Free's `Second' album shows the German band moving in even more interesting directions than the ethnic music inspired flavours of the debut, while still bringing the band closer to that daring sense of sonic freedom and exploration that the Krautrock bands are known for. While the roots of the group are still kind of in an old-school jam-band on this one, the middle-eastern atmospheres of the first album are almost totally replaced here with bluesy guitar soloing, cruising space-rock diversions and experimental electronic passages. Perhaps the results are a little uneven, but the majority of the laid-back, sun-kissed dozy jams especially make it an addictive listen.

Album opener `First Communication' couldn't be more blissful. A careful build of liquid murmuring bass, nimble electric guitar soloing that bursts into sprightly life over and over and the most effortless and seamless tempo changes expertly reigned in by the drumming. The entire piece displays a restrained flowing ambience full of spirit, as if you're soaring amongst the clouds. `Dialogue and Random' is a curious, perhaps even slightly nightmarish electronic experiment of cold machine loops and mechanical oscillations. After a coffin-slamming-shut piano boom, the two part `Layla' is an acid-fried bluesy instrumental with electric guitar scorching away, purring bass and warm Hammond organ washes, the piece constantly growing in urgency, and always truly joyous and infectious.

There's a creeping lethargic and sexy groove to `In The Silence of the Morning', the main guitar melody twists around ripples of Hammond organ and flighty electronic shimmers. `A Quiet Walk' comes closest to the raga-rock ethnic sounds of the debut album `Malesch'. Starting as an ambient early Tangerine Dream-styled drone with wavering synths almost resembling running water with rippling synths before ominous Pink Floyd-like organ rises, eventually frantic acoustic guitar runs and pulsating hand percussion take over. It actually reminds me of moments from the Vangelis album `The Dragon', a default Krautrock album if ever there was one. `Haunted Island' is the only piece of have vocals, breathless and ethereal other-wordly rambling steam-of-consciousness voices. Electric guitar bending notes and searing Mellotron veils weave slinking grooves behind a heavy Brainticket-flavoured intensity.

While the album never quite gels perfectly, the warm jamming improvisations quite at odds with the cold electronic passages, there's no denying the inspiration and determination of the band to challenge themselves and listeners. Easy to put on as a background listen and drift away to, `Second' will appeal to fans of the Ash Ra Tempel, as well as those who don't mind more evocative and chilled out Krautrock sounds.

Three and a half stars.

 Malesch by AGITATION FREE album cover Studio Album, 1972
4.00 | 241 ratings

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Malesch
Agitation Free Krautrock

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE & JR/F/Canterbury Teams

4 stars A unique and interesting mix of Krautrock, heavy-psych, progressive electronic and Middle Eastern percussion taking us on a mystical desert journey that has been referred to as an unintentional concept album where all the songs flow perfectly into one another. After many listens to this I would have to agree with that conclusion. No vocals whatsoever on this one.

The interplay between the instruments is the beauty of this release in that all instruments play an important part to the overall sound but are delegated to certain roles in the larger piece that come and go at precisely the right time. The drony organ often serves as the backbone while accompanied by either rock drumming or bellydance type percussion with bluesy guitars and sometimes even a zither.

Very spacey, drony and psychedelic but at times can rock. Both highly unconventional yet accessible.

Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition. and to E&O Team for the last updates

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