Agitation Free - Malesch. 1972 Germany

I first discovered Agitation Free by accident in the mid 1980s. One of those albums I bought because it looked cool and was cheap. It had such a profound impact on me at the time, that it was one of those albums that helped shape my musical tastes for the future.
'You Play for Us Today' starts with "I fly the airplane, and you play for us, indeed?". And with that field recording of the small aircraft pilot, an organ overlay is applied with haunting voice and the bass starts to rumble a rhythm. A synthesizer floats a melody on top and the first sounds of acid guitar enter in, while pounding drums and the percussion adds an exotic air. The organ begins to swirl, the intensity builds, and the guitar goes into a frenzied but melodic solo. After what seems like only 2 minutes, but is actually well over 6, the field recording of the pilot's intercom interjects with spoken Arabic and leads to... 'Sahara City' that consists of recordings of a market in Egypt with percussion and wind instruments. This takes us back to the studio and a percussive synthesized sound. Haunting winds of sound with fuzz box guitar leads, while pounding symbols deliver you to the desert of unknown myths. After returning from the abyss, the band congeals into an incredible jam with superb guitar and bass jamming. By the time we get to 'Ala Tul', if you're not completely immersed into the Sahara desert mystique of this album, there's probably little chance it will resonate at this point. 'Ala Tul' is what the album is about: Atmosphere, intensity, mystery, exoticism, experimental, intrigue. It's another world, and one that wasn't explored prior, or hasn't been since. 'Pulse' demonstrates Agitation Free at their most experimental, though the piece begins to take form in the latter half in the classic Krautrock jam tradition. 'Khan El Khalili' brings us back to the Middle East, though for most of the piece, the emphasis is a light breezy instrumental, and gives us the best clue of where Agitation Free would go for their next album.  The title track is the perfect encapsulation of all that has proceeded it. If there's one piece that defines the album, it is indeed this one. This leads to 'Rücksturz' and their most memorable piece on the album, with a striking melody that was the centerpiece to many of their live jams during this era. This can be best demonstrated by the 15 minute bonus track 'Music Factory Live', a stellar piece of Krautrock experimentalism mixed with psychedelic jamming. The kind of music that has your imagination wandering to some obscure artist club in Berlin circa 1972 and wishing you could transport back. This issue also features a short 6 minute video with yet another variation of the 'Rücksturz' theme. Video quality will remind you of the home reels of your youth, but it only adds to the aura.

Personal collection
LP: 1972 Vertigo
CD: 2010 Belle Antique (Japan)

Last listen: 2010

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