Together with TANGERINE DREAM and ASH RA TEMPEL, AGITATION FREE formed the spearhead of the Berlin underground of the late 60s. Their experiments, oscillating between free rock, electronic music, ethno influences and free jazz, set them apart from inferior imitators of Anglo-American models and earned them a tour of the Middle East sponsored by the Goethe Institute even before their first LP, the impressions of which were processed on their debut Malesch – appropriately released on the German Vertigo label (6360 607)in 1972.
Malesch is Egyptian and means something like “don’t mind it”, but primarily stands for a relaxed, Mediterranean attitude to life that is widespread in the Mediterranean region. This relaxed ambience runs through the whole album, with “Ala Tul” being by far the most upbeat track on it, musically retracing a foray through Cairo’s bazaars.
Agitation Free were one of the handful of bands that made Berlin clubs like Zodiac, Quasimodo and Sun what they were: serious competition for famous psychedelic venues like London’s U.F.O. or Amsterdam’s Melkweg.
However, Agitation Free had their most loyal audience – like many of the harder-to-digest Kraut bands, by the way – in France, where they were also seen more often than in Germany. The band wrote music for TV productions, scored various radio plays for the RIAS Berlin and SFB stations and performed several one-hour live shows specially arranged for ARD stations such as WDR, NDR and SFB.
Their second album, 2nd, was also released in 1973 on the German Vertigo label (6360 615) with the iconic Swirl logo. This album sounds even more mature than the first, even if – similar to POPOL VUH – you have to bring along a lot of patience & leisure to explore the extended soundscapes.
The tiresome drug problem (all kinds), musical differences (all kinds) and private animosities caused by constant touring led to high personnel fluctuation, frustration and in 1974 finally to resignation and decomposition of one of the most creative formations of KRAUT.
In 1976, the LP Last was released posthumously on the French Barclay label, consisting of concert recordings from 1973 & 1974. On this album the band presents itself once again in top form.
In 1995, it was again the French who dug up previously unreleased studio recordings from 1974 with Fragments.
In 1998 and 2000, the self-proclaimed Lord-Seal-keeper of the Krautorden, WALTER NOWICKI, released the CDs At The Cliffs Of River Rhine and The Other Side Of Agitation Free on his label Garden Of Delights, documenting all the previously unreleased live and studio activities of the band in astonishingly good sound quality. Agitation Free thus became the only German KRAUT band to have twice as many first releases in the 90s as in the 70s.
UK 2021, basic text by Werner Voran (†) 2004