6-CD collection in gatefold sleeve LP-cover size. Contains all previously released Improved Sound Limited 5 CD's
(eponymous double album, Catch A Singing Bird On The Road, Rathbone Hotel, Road
Trax, The Final Foreword) and one bonus CD "Bell Cantos, Ezra Pound
Revisited" with music the band recorded in 1969 for Bavarian
Radio with heavy fuzz guitar, moog synthesizer, music of that time, a little bit experimental but constantly melodic (no white
This is the ultimate collection for all lovers of good music. Improved Sound Limited music is influenced by Beatles, Byrds and
(early) Eagles, always trying to create the perfect song with occasionally psychedelic and progressive
influences. Improved Sound Limited is also well known for their soundtrack contribution for Wim Wenders film "Kings Of The Road"
(deutscher Titel "Im Lauf der Zeit") and other soundtracks. This 6 CD LP coverbook comes with 64 pages full coloured booklet (12 mm x 27 mm) with additional
artwork, texts, pictures and so on. Highly recommended, a highlight for each collection and the perfect gift for all
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... under this headline, the German newsweekly "DER SPIEGEL" welcomed the rerelease of five albums by the German rock band
"Improved Sound Limited". What an appropriate caption! It heralds the return of the music of a band which was both unique and exceptional in its time - nothing less than
The process of reissuing this complete edition was not as easy as it may
appear. My modest role was that of an alchemist, turning vinyl
records, which had never gone gold, into high quality silver discs. Relatively stubborn and uncompromising
artists, who had rejected the approaches of several competitors, had to be convinced that something which in the course of time had come under their very private domain should now be made available to the general
public. Indeed, it would have been a real shame if the music of
"Improved Sound Limited", a treasure trove of historic, intellectual and even
"culinary" value, had been lost to so many and reserved for the private pleasure of a
few. My satisfaction is that much greater that after so many
discussions, letters and calls, the "complete works" are now
available, together with a substantial bonus CD.
The name of the fifth and final CD, "The Final Foreward" (LHC 20), seemed appropriate as the final chapter in the
"Improved Sound Limited" story. But appearances are
deceiving. Conversations with the musicians led to the discovery of a most interesting master
tape: music for a documentary film about the American poet Ezra
Pound, which the band did not want to release because of the stylistic differences from the other CDs. It took a lot of
convincing, but it was worth it. This archaic sounding monolithic suite with the title "Bell Cantos" is certainly not just for me something of a long lost
jewel, which had to be added to this now truly complete and ultimate collection of the music of
"Improved Sound Limited". I asked Axel Linstädt, the band's
composer, for a short introduction and am grateful that he agreed (see the notes to CD 6, pages 61 and 62).
At this point I would like to thank all members of the band sincerely for their most
pleasant, constructive and enriching contribution. There's no need to repeat my words of gratitude in the notes for CD 5.
Instead, I'll again play "Bell Cantos", done for the documentary film "Ezra
Pound" (1969). This music, which reflects the experimental zeitgeist of the time and is devoted to a controversial American
poet, seems deeply rooted in "old Europe", with all of its addictive ingredients and associative
references. Thus, a state of spiritual relaxation develops; the listener leans back and pushes the play button - again and
Manfred Steinheuer, September 2004
Translation: Jim Sampson
In 1969, "Improved Sound Limited" was asked to provide music for a television documentary on Ezra Pound (1885 - 1982). Until then, my band and I knew Pound as the author of "The Cantos" and "The Pisan Cantos", and, of course, we knew of his unlucky fate after World War II, on trial for treason, then jailed and ultimately landing in an asylum for 13 years. After reading his poetry we took up another aspect of his work, the music and in particular the one act opera "Le Testament" (based on Villon) with its musicological foundation. We read with interest Pound's cryptic theory about "Absolute Rhythm and Great Bass", and were amazed by the highly individual classification of creative sound into emotional and pattern music. For Pound, only one thing was clear: "the early music starts with the mystery of pattern." He put his own music in this category, for example what he wrote for the Villon opera, which was premiered on June 29, 1926 in the Salle Pleyel in Paris with a tiny orchestra and the "Bad Boy of Music", George Antheil, at the piano. The list of guests on the first night reads like a who's who: Djuna Barnes, James Joyce, Ernest Hemingway, T. S. Eliot, Jean Cocteau and Virgil Thomson, who would later write of the event: "The music was not quite a musician's music, though it may well be the finest poet's music since Thomas Campion ..."
Be that as it may, we used a couple of paradigmatic bars from this opera as the basis for our film music, in which we took Pound's advice to heart: "One must, perhaps, find one's ideal artist in fragments, never whole and united." Thus, we put a melodic quotation at the center of our music, sourced from the work of "Pound the troubadour", which itself could not deny its affinity to a folk song from the middle ages. "L'homme armé" provided the inspiration for many works, from Dufay and Josquin to Thierry Pécou and, through Pound, for "Improved Sound Limited", too, although in the latter case the similarity is distant. We tried to resolve Pound's thoughts and ideas with the aesthetic of our time, without diminishing the archaic charm (melodic construction based on antique prosody, in a hypodoric mode).
"Improved Sound Limited" reveal themselves here as "collectors of uneven numbers", and constructed this homage to Ezra Pound, to "Pound the poet and the man", not to "Pound the politician", as a mixture of parallel organum and faburden, with psychedelic sounds and Moog glissandi, bucholic woodwind elegys and mechanical drum beats, from the uneven bars, polyrhythms, changing percussion colours and meditative improvisation. This work, which was commissioned by Bavarian Radio, or rather by its writers Eva Hesse and Harald Hohenacker, fits into no convenient musical category. It was recorded at Union Studios in Munich (engineer: Thommy Klemmt, additional recording and mix: Jörg Scheuermann). 34 years later we listened to the tapes once again, remastered them carefully and supplemented them "with a little help from our friends" Johannes Barnikel on keyboards and Norbert Nagel, soprano sax and bass clarinet, in the parts which were not needed for the film but without which the suite in this release would be incomplete. The resulting film music which has its premiere on the accompanying CD we call "Bell Cantos". For me and my band, this Pound experiment was an important step before deciding to concentrate on classic rock songs, knowing that the apparently easier path is often the more difficult one.
Anyway, take it easy, this Pound of sound!
Translation: Jim Sampson
Improved Sound Limited "The
Bonus CD Bell Cantos:
L'arrivée du troubadour
Arcadia / Shepherd's Dream / Neon Letters on the Wall
"For Whom the Bell Tolls" / Dance of the Buffoons
Five 4 Two Recorders / The Master's Flattery
A Psycho-Delicious Ride
Les adieux du troubadour