. Originally known as the Agitation -- a name picked at random from the dictionary -- the group added "free" to their name a year later, inspired by a free concert they performed. Though they began by playing covers,
added extended improvisations into the songs, and jamming became the basis for their own works. The group also collaborated with Berlin's art students on slide-shows, projections, and other multi-media performances, and played gigs at conservatories and galleries in addition to club shows.
By 1970, Agitation Free
were a fixture of Berlin's art rock scene, performing with like-minded bands such as Tangerine Dream
, Amon Düül
and Guru Guru
, all of whom appeared at that year's First German Progressive Popfestival in Berlin's Sportpalast. The group often acted as an incubator for underground rock talent, losing guitarist Axel Genrich
to Guru Guru
that year, and drummer Christopher Franke
to Tangerine Dream
in 1971. Ulbrich
added guitarist Jorg Scwhenke, drummer Burghard Rausch
, and keyboardist Michael Hoenig
to the lineup, and the quintet procured a record deal with the Music Factory label later that year. Agitation Free'
s debut album, Malesch
, came out in 1972 and was heavily influenced by their tour of Egypt, Greece, and Cyprus, which was sponsored by the Goethe Institute, blending the group's improvisational rock with ambient sounds from the countries they toured. Despite the group's growing popularity -- spurred by their performance at the 1972 Olympics in Munich -- poor distribution hindered the album's sales.
In 1973, Agitation Free
continued touring in France and Germany and released their sophomore effort 2nd
, but disappointing album sales, musical differences, and boredom brought on by constant touring chipped away at the band. They disbanded in 1974, but Gunther
continued on with a new name, Lagoona. However, this project also received little favorable attention and ended in late 1975. Several Agitation Free
albums were released after the group's breakup, including 1976's Last
, 1995's Fragments
, and the following year's At the Cliffs of the River Rhine
In 1998, Gunther, Rausch
, and Ulbrich
reunited at Ulbrich'
s birthday party and decided to revive Agitation Free
. The following year, River of Return
appeared, featuring the original quartet as well as new members Johannes Pappert from the underground group Kraan
, and Bernard Potschka
, formerly the guitarist for Spliff