Agitation Free: A Final Effort

Agitation Free: A Final Effort

Agitation Free is one of the better second tier kraut acts out there. Being relegated to relative anonymity among a crew of players that include the likes of Can, Neu! and Amon Duul, isn’t a tremendous shock. At the time, for a brief while, Agitation Free was probably the Peral Jam to Can’s Nirvana, if that makes any sense while referencing too much music. That’s not to say Agitation Free was a group of douchey, boring, serious types. In fact, the group’s first pair of albums, both Malesch and 2nd, are really indispensible when trying to understand what the German underground was like in the late sixties and early seventies. Unfortunately, Agitation Free only left us those two discs with a few recordings following that count as reunions.

It was only a year or two after disbanding when Fragments was recorded live. But the opening funk of the seventeen minute “Someone’s Secret” serves to illustrate how different the band was. Granted, a slew of electronic stuff washes up against the rhythms here, referencing the band’s earlier, exeperimental stripe. And as the track gets deeper and deeper into the improvised portion of its body, Agitation Free winds up regaining what once made it such an engaging act.

Unfortunate as it is, each of the four cuts here seem to require the ensemble to begin with some sort of ridiculous melodic figure in order for all involved to arrive at that jam around the same time. Eschewing the funk and new age rock stuff, Fragments isn’t bad, but those first two albums are boss.