Agitation Free on stage at NQ Live in Manchester, 9 November 2012
|Genres||Experimental rock, krautrock, progressive rock, psychedelic rock, space rock|
|1967-1974, 1998, 2007, 2012|
|Labels||Vertigo, BMG, Barclay, Spalax, IRI, Prudence|
|Tangerine Dream, Ash Ra Tempel, Michael Hoenig, Ashra|
Lutz Ludwig Kramer
Agitation Free is a German experimental krautrock band, formed in 1967 by Michael "Fame" Gnther (bass guitar), Lutz "Ll" Ulbrich (guitar), Lutz Ludwig Kramer (guitar) and Christopher Franke (drums). They were initially called Agitation, a name they chose at random from a dictionary. The band had to change the name because another band with the same name already existed. Agitation Free was chosen based on a poster for a free show played in the early 1970s saying "Agitation Free" (meaning "free concert").
After losing guitarist Axel Genrich to Guru Guru in 1970 (Genrich having replaced Kramer the same year) and drummer Franke to Tangerine Dream in 1971, the band recruited Jrg "Joshi" Schwenke (guitar), Burghard Rausch (drums) and Michael Hoenig (keyboards). They released their first album, Malesch, in 1972 on the Music Factory label. The album was inspired by their tour through Egypt, Greece and Cyprus, sponsored by the German Goethe Institute. Later that year, they performed at the 1972 Munich Olympics.
A second album was released in 1973, and guitarist Schwenke was replaced first by Stefan Diez, then Gustl Lutjens. The band disbanded in 1974.
Agitation Free reunited in 1998, with the 1974 line-up, and released River of Return in 1999. The band again reformed in 2007 for a series of concerts in Tokyo. In 2008, remastered CDs of their back catalogue were officially released, and in 2011 they released Shibuya Nights, recorded at their 2007 Tokyo concerts. In 2012, the band toured again to promote this album.
The band is included on the Nurse with Wound list.
Agitation Free's music is psychedelic, experimental krautrock with elements of spaced-out ambient, experimental electronic and drone. The music for the most part consists of driving organ-patterned drone-like rock; seamless psychedelic cosmic musical textures with intricate musicianship and musical variety; hard, driving rock similar to Amon Dl II; and jamming that occasionally invokes the interplay and styles of Garcia, Weir and Lesh of The Grateful Dead and hints at a blues rock base not unlike The Allman Brothers Band. Many of their songs have a trance-inducing, psychedelic feel with sections of driving rock fueled by fiery and melodic moving guitar lines and solid, propelling and intricate drumming and a prominent bass line. All of Agitation Free's songs are instrumental apart from some recitation on "Haunted Island".
Their first album Malesch is cosmic, aggressive, psychedelic, creative, ethnically flavored (mainly by short interludes of recordings from Egypt), mysterious and densely packed with ideas whereas their second, titled 2nd is more laid-back and upbeat, with longer structure, much more of an emphasis on traditional styled jamming la the Grateful Dead and a warmer and more straightforward sound. On Malesch the songs blend together to make a seamlessly flowing, tangential and uninterrupted musical journey, whereas on 2nd songs are more predictably structured, more varied in their sound and stand more as independent works.
Their sound is similar to, but fairly distinguishable from, other contemporary Krautrock bands such as Ash Ra Tempel, Amon Dl II, Guru Guru, Brainticket, Yatha Sidhra and Kalacakra, as well as the mixed-influence blues-based jam rock of The Grateful Dead and The Allman Brothers noticeable on 2nd, and slightly later and more symphonic bands like Asia Minor and Anyone's Daughter.