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Agitation Free - Last CD (album) cover


Agitation Free



4.05 | 70 ratings

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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.

Neu!mann | 4/5 |


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