Agitation Free — Last
(Spalax 14229, 1976/1992, CD)
by Henry Schneider, Published 1993-12-31
Agitation Free was a mid-70s German band with connections to Tangerine Dream through Michael Hoenig (keyboards) and Ash Ra through Lutz Ulbrich (percussion). Their three obscure LPs are constantly sought after by record collectors, especially the rare third Last. I have seen it going for $150 to $200. Now the French label Spalax has reissued Last on CD. I am ecstatic that Spalax resurrected this long lost gem. Last consists of three live recordings from March 1973 and February 1974: "Soundproof" (5:47), "Laila II" (17:08), and "Looping IV" (22:45). "Laila II" has a dated guitar-dominated sound but it does not detract from the music. "Laila II" is an extended cosmic guitar jam that hints at Quicksilver Messenger Service's classic "Who Do You Love," Amon Düül II, Ash Ra, and (of all bands) Jefferson Airplane. The high point of Last is the slow-moving "Looping IV" with its wave after wave of electronic washes hinting at Tangerine Dream's Zeit and Phaedra. It is great to listen to acoustic percussion used in an analog electronic piece. My ears have gotten tired of electronic percussion. The only draw back to this CD is that Spalax photo reduced the original album jacket to CD size: cover damage, red printing, and all. I could not read the liner notes without a magnifying glass and at that I am not certain about some of the words. Highly recommended.
Larry Coryell RIP – One of the greats of jazz guitar has left us at the age of 73. Larry Coryell was one of the founding figures of jazz fusion, but produced a significant body of work the bridged many styles. His group Eleventh House provided a unique take on the combination of jazz and rock that was distinct from contemporaries such as Mahavishnu Orchestra, Return to Forever, and Weather Report. » Read more
John Wetton RIP – After a long battle with colon cancer, singer and bassist John Wetton has died at the age of 67. As an integral member of such bands as King Crimson, UK, and Asia, his was one of the distinctive voices in progressive rock, lending a human touch to often difficult music. » Read more
Seaprog Announces First Artists for 2017 – The organizers of the Seaprog Festival in Seattle have announced the first set of confirmed performers for the 2017 festival. The best known names are Cabezas de Cera and Jack o' the Clock, but a host of other bands are featured, mostly from the Northwest. The festival will take place June 2-4, 2017. » Read more
Acoustic Festival of Britain 2017 Announces Eclectic Lineup – The Acoustic Festival of Britain has been going since 2006, and this year's event sees a number of outstanding artists on the bill. Fairport Convention, Tir na nOg, and Martin Turner are some of the artists we've covered, and there are many more, including The Men They Couldn't Hang, Howard Jones, Chantel McGregor, and many more. The festival runs June 2-4, 2017 at Uttoxeter Racecourse in Staffordshire. » Read more