Agitation Free — Last
(Spalax 14229, 1976/1992, CD)
by Henry Schneider, Published 1993-12-31
Agitation Free was a mid-70s German band with connections to Tangerine Dream through Michael Hoenig (keyboards) and Ash Ra through Lutz Ulbrich (percussion). Their three obscure LPs are constantly sought after by record collectors, especially the rare third Last. I have seen it going for $150 to $200. Now the French label Spalax has reissued Last on CD. I am ecstatic that Spalax resurrected this long lost gem. Last consists of three live recordings from March 1973 and February 1974: "Soundproof" (5:47), "Laila II" (17:08), and "Looping IV" (22:45). "Laila II" has a dated guitar-dominated sound but it does not detract from the music. "Laila II" is an extended cosmic guitar jam that hints at Quicksilver Messenger Service's classic "Who Do You Love," Amon Düül II, Ash Ra, and (of all bands) Jefferson Airplane. The high point of Last is the slow-moving "Looping IV" with its wave after wave of electronic washes hinting at Tangerine Dream's Zeit and Phaedra. It is great to listen to acoustic percussion used in an analog electronic piece. My ears have gotten tired of electronic percussion. The only draw back to this CD is that Spalax photo reduced the original album jacket to CD size: cover damage, red printing, and all. I could not read the liner notes without a magnifying glass and at that I am not certain about some of the words. Highly recommended.
Phil May of The Pretty Things RIP – We were saddened to learn that Phil May, lead singer and founding member of The Pretty Things, has died at the age of 75. The band's 1968 album S.F. Sorrow is one of the enduring classics of the psychedelic era, and the group existed in various forms until finally retiring in 2018. » Read more
Jorge Santana RIP – Jorge Santana, noted guitarist, leader of the band Malo and brother to Carlos Santan, died on May 14 at the age of 68. Jorge and Carlos worked together on a number of occasions, though Jorge's career was centered around Malo, solo work, and with Fania All-Stars. » Read more
Shindig Festival Goes Lock-Down – Here's what they're saying: It's A Happening Thing! The Shindig! Magazine Lockdown Festival. In our days of no large gatherings of people, maybe it's still possible to have a music festival. Shindig! Magazine is giving it a go with a multi-artist streaming extravaganza on Saturday April 25. » Read more
Bill Rieflin RIP – The sad news reaches us today of Bill Rieflin's death. Rieflin was best known as a drummer in bands ranging from post-punk to industrial to indie-rock to progressive rock, including work with The Blackouts, Ministry, Nine Inch Nails, Swans, Land, and King Crimson. Rieflin had been battling cancer for several years, and succumbed to it on March 24. He was 59. » Read more