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Agitation Free - Last CD (album) cover


Agitation Free



4.05 | 70 ratings

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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

stefro | 4/5 |


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