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 legendary.
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 decieving. 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, page 61). 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 again.
Manfred Steinheuer, May 2004
(Translation: Jim Sampson)