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the greatest rock albums

five day rain
1969  UK

full horn
1973  Germany
A wondrous cornucopia of delights, 
containing a dazzlingly complex rock 
and fusion, overflowing with invention.

premiata forneria
Per Un Amico
1972  Italy

1975  Germany

1973  Germany
agitation free
At The Cliffs of River Rhine
1974  Germany
courtesy of Keith Henderson from Columbus, OH 
On Feb. 2, 1974, a special performance by Agitation Free was broadcast live on WDR (Cologne) radio program 'Nachtmusik.'  In 1995, a poor quality recording of this event was bootlegged onto LP as "At Alive."  Thankfully, the proper tapes of the show have now been carefully remastered by Michael Hoenig himself, and released on CD by Walter Nowicki's Garden of Delights label in Germany.  Entitled "At the cliffs of river Rhine," the 38-minute show features some of the very best cosmic improv-rock in existence.  Most of the material was derived from the excellent '2nd' album (1972), and although guitarist Gustl Lutjens was brand new to the band at the time, the group displayed impeccable timing and fluidity at every turn.
The album opens with the previously-unheard improvisation piece, "Through the Moods."  For more than 13 minutes, the five musicnauts leave the confines of this solar system to explore the outer reaches of our galaxy.  Early in the piece, Lutjens' cascading leads and Gunther's countering bass excursions lie, Hoenig parlays with wild sounds from his electronic kit.  Eventually, the whole band rocks out into an uptempo buzzing jam...truly wonderful.  The eminently graceful 'First Communication" then arrives and fills the room as if through an open window carried on a summer breeze.  The piece sounds at once melodic and busy, in a way that artists residing in a certain small town in Kent could only hope to achieve.
With Rausch adeptly keeping time behind the drum kit, Hoenig's synth freak-out "Dialogue & Random" takes over and brings us to the classic "Laila." Essentially two separate tracks built together, Part I winds things up to a heightened state, only to have Part II back off into a lighter, hypnotic rhythm built effectively upon Gunther's repeating (but active) bass line.  Twin soloing by Lutjens and Ulbrich puts off the piece's signature lead riff, only to then return to more extended soloing afterwards. All I can say is...amazing!  Time hardly moves during the entire 10 can only be explained relativistically.  Electronic chirping birds break "The Silence of the Morning Sunrise," the final piece that brings forth some very innovative rhythm guitar work by Ulbrich.  Not being a guitarist myself, I can only guess that the tuning or playing style employed is very unusual...the notes are strangely off-color and unsettling in a very intriguing way, that effectively counter the bright and cheerful emanations from Lutjens' guitar.
It has only been out a short time, but I believe that "river Rhine" is already my favorite Agitation Free recording.  With such a talented group of on-stage musicians, which will soon exist again, I can imagine endless possibilities in sound exploration and song formats.  Hence, I can only think of the latest reunion as a forward-thinking endeavor.
Agitation Free music from 1974 sounds fresh and exciting, so I can only imagine that their music from 1999 will sound futuristic.
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