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.
Ennio Morricone RIP – Famed composer Ennio Morricone has died at the age of 91. The creator of scores for more than 500 movies, some of his works have become the most recognizable sounds in the history of cinema. His soundtracks for Sergio Leone's Westerns made from 1964 to 1971, are iconic landmarks in film music, but he also composed for dramas, comedies, and other genres. He won the Academy Award for Best Original Score in 2016 for The Hateful Eight. » Read more
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