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Agitation Free - 2nd CD (album) cover

2ND

Agitation Free

 

Krautrock

3.86 | 176 ratings

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Cesar Inca
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars As the title unabashedly suggests, this is Agitation Free's second album. The line-up has experienced a change: new guitarist Stefan Diez fills the position left behind by Jorg Schwenke, showing a similar degree of finesse to that of his antecessor, in both the playing itself and the way in which he manages to interact with his fellow members. As many others have noted, the ethnic flavours that were so recurrent and essential to the debut album's repertoire are now almost totally gone for "Second": this album is more decidedly Occidental, heading for the creation of industrial ambiences and a more straightforward psychedelic rock. The jamming is also more intense and aggressive, but remember, this band's ideology is pretty much based on the creation of magic more than on the forge of disturbance. So, we have to expect all the guitar leads and riffs and all the weird sounds played on organ and synthesizer to pour out with a sense of exquisiteness, a captivating exquisiteness that, in a strange way, manages to effectively complement the inherent rocking energy displayed in the instrumentation. The album kicks off with 'First Communication', a number that pretty much epitomizes the album's overall musical direction. 'Dialogue & Random' serves as an electronic free- form bridge between the previous track and the two-part 'Laila'. 'Laila' is one of the definitive classics in AF's history: Part 1 consists of a brief jam that carries out a specific melodic pattern, while Part 2 does for a harsher attitude, not unlike 'First Communication', but with a major dose of sophistication, at times sort of coming into the fields of jazz rock. Nowhere does the dialogue between all musicians work as brilliantly as on this number - a especial mention goes to bassist Michael Gunther. Krautrock at its most regal! 'A Quiet Walk' is a different story: also a two-part number, this has nothing to do with walking or quietness. it sounds more like flying in a sky full of dense air and storm signals. 'A Quiet Walk' starts as a very trippy jam, in which the synthesizer's somber layers and the echoing guitar effects assume the leading role, while the band as a whole seem determined to give up any kind of structure; then, the idea of structure comes around in the shape of a South Eastern Europe-influenced jam, basically led by exotic percussions and bouzouki, while the guitar exhibits some hypnotic leads. For this second section, it seems as if the band wanted to take a look back at the times of "Malesch": you can also notice the influence of Ash Ra Tempel's cosmic side (ART were friends with AF, and there was actually a close friendship between the guys of ART and guitarist Lutz Ulbrich). 'Haunted island' feels very ethereal, too, but it is essentially more related to tracks 1 and 3-4. Hoenig does a great job complementing the dual guitars with his clever synth textures. IMHO, "Second" is an improvement from "Malesch", so it deserves a better rating: 4 to 4 stars.
Cesar Inca | 4/5 |

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