woensdag 3 november 2010

Agitation Free - 1974 - Last

Agitation Free

01. Soundpool (5:47)
02. Laila II (17:08)
03. Looping (22:45)

This is my fave Agitation Free album from their first era. Actually, this is a selection of recordings that the band had already planned for release, but the release only took place many months after the band's demise, due to some French label's initiative. This circumstance helped the album to become a cult classic of krautrock. Anyway, IMHO, the three tracks in "Last" comprise the most proficient performances accomplished by the five musicians; they also contain the most confident labour of texture and jamming ever conceived by the band during this first era. While being more stylish and refined than "Second" and much more cohesive than their debut recording "Malesch", "Last" continues to capture the band's unique energy perfectly. The band's inherent sonic power of the band is still there, irradiating its peculiar light across their increasingly polished sonic landscapes. Jörg Schwenke is back in the band, while drummer/percussionist Burghard Rausch was gradually leaving AF: in one of the tracks he is replaced by Dietmar Burmeister. It seems that the band's internal turmoil didn't affect the level of consistency of their new material. Once again, the Ash Ra Tempel influence is quite noticeable (more evident, in fact), specially when it comes to the fluid transition from the cosmic layers to the more jam-oriented sections. Track 1 starts with a very laid-back hypnotic sonic landscape that feels distant, as if drifting through space (it kind of reminds me of early Pink Floyd); eventually, a not too long jam reprising a slight variation of the main motif of 'Rucksturz' ("Malesch" closing number) fills the room and gives the track a more definite shape. Then comes the very long 'Laila II', which retakes one of the basic subdued themes of "Laila" and explores it further, even taking it to different places as the jam goes onward. Some of the best guitar interplaying ever in AF's history is comprised in both this track and the next one, the long-side "Looping": the way that the latter incorporates dreamy passages and rocking moments in a fluid intercalation comes as no surprise to those already familiar with the band's capability to create their unique ethereal walls of sound, bathed in majesty. My overall rating for this album is the maximum one in Prog Archives terms - this is, after all, a unique masterpiece of krautrock. 

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