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Intercity Sound Association - Philly Sound
CD Album
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Vinyl LP
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Intercity Sound Association

Philly Sound


Released: 29th October 2012 | 12 track disco album

Rare German disco-funk album from 1975, produced and arranged by Klaus R. Nagel (of Joy Unlimited fame) and Fritz Muenzer. 12 instrumental tracks for the dancefloor in a Phillysound style, recorded with various musicians and destined almost exclusively for the promotion at TV and radio stations. Featuring the killer funk track City Train that was used as underlay music in the german Sports TV Show Pfiff - Das Jugendsportstudio on ZDF-TV networks.

One of the few sophisticated and powerful LP adaptations from the early days of the German disco boom, with original compositions, the string section of the SDR (South German Broadcasting) and catchy solo lines of saxophone, trumpet, flute or analog synthesizers. First remastered reissue of the sought after Intercord album with original cover artwork and new liner notes.

Since the early 1970s the whole disco world has been feeling excited about the Sound of Philadelphia (Phillysound). From the aesthetics of Motown and the wall of sound by Phil Spector, a new funk and soul sound developed in the United States, that was softer but still extremely danceable. The most important musicians and producers of the new style hailed from Philadelphia. Unique characteristics of the music were the opulent string and brass arrangements, the use of modern electronic production facilities and the trademark of an open and closed hi-hat playing. Electronic instruments like synthesizer and clavinet were also gradually incorporated into the sound.

Soul Music was suddenly no longer rough and hand made, but sexy and the result of modern studio technology. The title TSOP (The Sound of Philadelphia) of the MFSB Orchestra, recorded in 1974 by the best studio musicians of star producers Gamble and Huff, became the anthem of the new disco sound. The city of Philadelphia was celebrated as its birthplace. Soon the sound became popular in German clubs too and German or Germany-based artists immediately started to work on their own recordings.

Composers for publishing houses and jazz musicians suddenly began excursions into the world of Phillysound, because the blooming German scene hungered for good productions. Publishing rights or studio jobs served as a promise to earn good money. In the wake of internationally successful productions for Donna Summer and Amanda Lear, from Munich Machine and Giorgio Moroder, a completely independent and widely ramified German disco scene established itself during the late 1970s with hundreds of releases: The most perfect disco sound made in Germany . I Feel Love is still considered a world-known example of the unique Phillysound from Germany.

The Phillysound album of the project Intercity Sound Association was the brainchild of producer and guitarist Klaus R. Nagel, a founding member of the internationally famous Krautrock and funk band Joy Unlimited from Mannheim. As early as 1972, Nagel left his band to pursue other productions, work on an own label and start his music publishing activities. Produced in 1975, this sole LP of the group was especially made for intensive advertising towards the state owned German service broadcasters ARD and ZDF, with the goal of getting airplay in various televison and radio programmes.

The promotion of the Phillysound LP was well received and some of the titles have been included into various programmes. Back in those days, it was easier and cheaper for German TV and radio stations to include perfect local productions into their broadcasts rather than the real Phillysounds from some well known U.S. stars. The first track on the album (City Train) might still be recognized by many Germans from the youth sports program Pfiff, in which it was played as the title theme for many years. All other pieces are also original compositions of the participating musicians, who, for contractual reasons, appear on the album sleeve under American pseudonyms such as Denis Faylon or Pete Panthrow.

Nagel produced the entirely instrumental recordings in different studios and with different musicians. The string section of the SDR (South German Broadcasting) was arranged by jazz legend Fritz Muenzer, who also played saxophone at the recording sessions and successfully integrated the Sound of Philadelphia in other works for music publishers and the advertising industry. Around that time, some excellent but widely unknown Phillysound LPs were also produced by Dieter Reith (Tender Aggression or Mellow Disco) and Peter Herbolzheimer (Galactic Sound Orchestra) but these rare recordings were played almost exclusively by a few broadcasters.

With the Phillysound LP, Nagel, Muenzer & Co. created a true phantom of a record, produced at the highest level and therefore hunted throughout the world today. Its unique and powerful style with a touch of jazz-funk, extensive lines of solo saxophone, trumpet, flute, and cosmic sounding synthesizers, framed by the brilliant string section of the SDR, makes this album a sought after collector's item. Original copies are impossible to find, with only one album traded on ebay during the last eight years.

Original copies of the vinyl record rarely showed up even in the stores of the 1970s. Only a few of the LPs originally released on the Intercord label - which only provided the tracklisting with no further details on the album sleeve - found their way into the regular shops. With this release on Sonorama Records, the rare album is presented to a wider audience for the first time on LP and CD. Many thanks to Klaus R. Nagel for providing the original recordings, that have been remastered in Berlin during June 2012.