Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Agitation Free -Fragments

(Review from
One of the lesser known Krautrock bands of the early 70s, the Agitation Free discography deserves greater exposure. While bands like Can and Amon Duul started out psychedelic and evolved into (less interesting) progressive rock acts, Agitation Free did exactly the opposite. Their first album, Malesh, is their most well-known, and exudes a self-conscously arty and progressive vibe. While many fans spotlight that work, one could take a revisionist stance and argue that the band's early work is marred a little by nerdy prog rock clichés, especially noodling solos bookended by clunky riffs. Their followup album, "Second", improved things a bit by loosening up the vibe, especially on the great "Layla," but their live work paints a different story of the band.

Like many acts that suffer from sounding a bit stiff in the studio, the live experience is the way to hear `em let their hair down and show how rock music can be dangerous in a way that other musical genres are often not. Trad Gras Och Stenar are another example of a band far more visceral and exciting when heard out of the studio. This live set (and also the similarly excellent "Last" album) snapshot the band in a trance-inducing psychedelic vibe. The live setting is wholly appropriate given their stiff and soulless precision in the studio, but still highlights their musicianship as far above wasted and sloppy psych clichés.

The original record has three long tracks and a short, forgettable blues-inflected number. The Garden of Delights reissue lengthens a couple of these and adds a passable bonus track. The long workouts are near holy grails for those who seek spaced out mantras that always seemed integral to the psychedelic experience, but are few and far between on well-known albums. Pretty fine, but the zoned vibe of their album "Last" reaches even greater peaks.

Track Listings
1. Someones Secret
2. Mickeys Laugh
3. We Are Men
4. Mediterranean Flight
5. Blues

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