Obituary for Swiss avant-garde composer Thomas Kessler

As we have only just learned, the Swiss avant-garde composer Thomas Kessler passed away on April 25th. He was a very important teacher and mentor for Agitation Free, who worked intensively with us in the Electronic Beat Studio at the end of the 1960s and showed us new ways of making music. And not just for us, but also for Tangerine Dream and Ash Ra Tempel. He deserves our thanks for that.

He was the first person we heard about the “synthesizer”, he gave us unconventional ideas that inspired our desire to experiment. It was a very creative collaboration, because Thomas also found our dynamic urge for new sounds fascinating, so that a fantastic symbiosis could develop, without which Agitation Free would never have found the sound that has characterized the band. Without him, the so-called “Berlin School of Electronic Music” would probably never have come into being.

He was also very close to us as a person. He had a great sense of humor and a very charming manner, and always had a mischievous side, as you could see in his touching video message at the inauguration of the plaque for the Electronic Beat Studio 2020.
I also remember the following words he gave us young musicians: “You can do any shit, you just have to stand up for it!”

He also gave us access to great musicians and composers such as Peter Michael Hamel, Ladislav Kupkovic, Erhard Großkopf and the Neue Musik group in Berlin. These were great encounters that led to many collaborations. We also owe much of our access to minimal music and inspiring composers such as Terry Riley, Steve Reich and Philipp Glass to him.

Over the years, we have always remained on friendly terms with him and appreciated his unbroken curiosity for new collaborations with a wide variety of musical genres and styles.
Throughout his life, Thomas Kessler continued to research and search for interesting musical developments, thereby influencing the lives of many artists.
We mourn the loss of a great man and master.
May he rest in peace!

For Agitation Free
Lutz Lüül Graf-Ulbrich

Guitar player Axel Heilhecker becomes new member of Agitation Free

We are happy to announce that we have been able to win the great guitar player Axel Heilhecker as a new band member for the planned Agitation Free concerts.

With his soulful, virtuoso guitar style, documented on his numerous albums, various music projects such as with Harald Grosskopf, Joachim Roedelius, recordings with Eric Burdon or Jim Capaldi, and an initial training with Don Cherry, he fits wonderfully into our music, as we were able to discover at a first rehearsal. So our audiences can look forward to great live performances that are completely in the tradition and sound of this band and at the same time give room for new musical adventures.

Foto: Jim Rakete 

From left to right: Daniel Cordes, Michael Hoenig, Burghard Rausch, Axel Heilhecker, Lutz Graf-Ulbrich

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