Agitation Free — Fragments
(Garden of Delights CD-088, 1974/2003, CD)
by Mike McLatchey, 1996-08-01:
[Musique Intemporelle edition from 1995]
Agitation Free are one of Germany's finest space rock groups, an outfit that launched the careers of many respected musicians like Michael Hoenig, Lutz Ulbrich, and Chris Franke. Fragments is one of Musique Intemporelle's Rainbow series which includes a track of CD ROM which I can't comment on. The music that makes up the audio part of the CD was recorded live in 1974 and portrays a different Agitation Free live sound than what was on their Last live album. The music here has strong ties to the San Francisco west coast scene — there are a lot of jams here with strong Grateful Dead and Quicksilver influences. Mostly absent (or mixed too low), unfortunately, are the electronics that made Last so good; the looping and synth noises that added a unique ambiance to the jamming. Nevertheless, I've found Fragments does grow on you over repeated listening.
by Jon Davis, 2005-03-01:
Whatever else they may have done in their recording career, Germany’s Agitation Free loved a good long jam. For their farewell bow, they played a concert in November of 1974 with a professional recording setup. Musicians who had played with the band were invited, leading to a line-up of four guitarists, two drummers, three men on keyboards, and one on bass. From the sound of things, not much rehearsal was involved — it’s basically a jam session of prominent German rockers, instrumental but for a brief bit of singing. Previously available on a couple of 90s releases with this same name, this set has become notorious for its bad sound quality. Garden of Delights has done what can be done with the master tapes, to produce what is likely the definitive document of the event. Three long pieces allow lots of time for extended improvisation, and it is to the musicians’ credit that they avoid stepping on each other in spite of the crowd on stage. “We Are Men” borrows a bit of the classic riff from “I’m a Man” (Bo Diddly by way of the Yardbirds), relocating it in a spaced out context with electric piano behind guitar solos, and stretching it out over eighteen minutes. The bonus track, a ten-minute blues jam, is probably of interest only to completists. Come to think of it, the whole thing is basically for completists, as listeners looking to explore this classic German band should definitely turn elsewhere for an introduction.
Keith Tippett RIP – One of the giants of British jazz has left us. Keith Graham Tippetts, known professionally as Keith Tippett, died today at the age of 72. His work from the late 60s into the 70s and beyond includes some of the greatest jazz produced in the UK, and stands as an impressive oevre to this day. » Read more
Phil May of The Pretty Things RIP – We were saddened to learn that Phil May, lead singer and founding member of The Pretty Things, has died at the age of 75. The band's 1968 album S.F. Sorrow is one of the enduring classics of the psychedelic era, and the group existed in various forms until finally retiring in 2018. » Read more
Jorge Santana RIP – Jorge Santana, noted guitarist, leader of the band Malo and brother to Carlos Santan, died on May 14 at the age of 68. Jorge and Carlos worked together on a number of occasions, though Jorge's career was centered around Malo, solo work, and with Fania All-Stars. » Read more
Shindig Festival Goes Lock-Down – Here's what they're saying: It's A Happening Thing! The Shindig! Magazine Lockdown Festival. In our days of no large gatherings of people, maybe it's still possible to have a music festival. Shindig! Magazine is giving it a go with a multi-artist streaming extravaganza on Saturday April 25. » Read more