Agitation Free — Fragments
(Garden of Delights CD-088, 1974/2003, CD)
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.
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.
Krautrock Documentary Seeks Funding – The next installment of the Progressive Warriors documentary series will focus on the vast body of music that falls under the banner of "krautrock." As most of our readers will know, previous films have tackled RIO and the Canterbury scene, as well as what we might call "mainstream" prog rock. » Read more
Tomasz Stańko RIP – Tomasz Stańko, one of the greats of Eastern European jazz, has died at the age of 76. Stańko's career started in Krzysztof Komeda's quintet, where he contributed trumpet from 1963-1967, when he formed his own group. He worked extensively with Edward Vesala, Don Cherry, Zbigniew Seifert, Chico Freeman, Howard Johnson, Cecil Taylor, and many others. Many of his recordings have been released by ECM, an association that began in the mid-70s. » Read more
Soft Machine Set to Release New Music – It's been 50 years since The Soft Machine changed the face of music with their first album. Their blend of psychedelic rock and jazz was unique, and while the band went through many changes before disbanding in 1981 — by which time there were no original members remaining — they remained an innovative force with a style all their own. » Read more
7d Surfaces Happy Rhodes Back Catalog – We've covered singer Happy Rhodes before, both for her solo work and recently with The Security Project, but her 11 albums have been hard to track down. Until now. 7d features high-quality downloads of all her releases, and several of them are also available on CD. » Read more
Fred Chalenor RIP – We have news of another sad passing in the world of creative music. Bassist Fred Chalenor, whose creativity featured on albums by Tone Dogs, Caveman Shoestore, and many more, died on June 23, 2018 after a long battle with Alzheimer's. Tributes have poured in from the many musicians and fans whose lives he touched. » Read more