Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Agitation Free-Malesch (1972)

Artist: Agitation Free
Album: Malesch
Label: Vertigo
Year: 1972

Agitation Free are one of those groups underrated/under-appreciated by people who like underrated music. Krautrock was a musical movement that was part of the German 1970s artistic renaissance, arguably the first major art movement in Germany after World War II. Groups as diverse as Can, Kraftwerk, Faust, Harmonia, and Ash Ra Tempel/AshRa fall under the genre's umbrella. Malesch is the group's first album, and it is a good primer on what the group could do, as well as what the genre as a whole could do.
The first side of the record, opening with "You Play With Us Today", is freewheeling but certainly not without form. The group uses Middle Eastern-inspired percussion, swirling organ, and pulsing bass to hold down the rhythm while distorted guitars improvise on top of it all. While the first three tracks are separate pieces, they are clearly part of one whole, and flows together.
Things pick up on side two. A little less "experimental" and "spacy" feeling, but the group comes together more to jam and it's a bit more cohesive. If one thing unites the wide variety of music that came from Krautrock's music, it's the repetition in the form, and the second half of the album is slow-building, really well-played, and feels great.
If there's one shortcoming when I hear this album, I know how much I prefer their next album, 2nd which I can't wait to hear next.

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