In the early 2000 s back in Bournemouth a pal and I had a concept. We chose to form a phony band.
The concept was basic. In six months’ time we ‘d make our live debut, at a gig that we ‘d put together.
A pal ran a music website, and we would encourage him to run an interview with us to construct some notoriety. On the day of the gig, among us, probably me, would require to the stage and state the band were running late and would be on 2nd. When our slot would eventually come nobody would be on the phase. After a few minutes among us, probably me, would discuss that we couldn’t make it due to another booking in London. The next day we would announce we had actually separated and would be damaging any copies of our single that we had.
A couple of months after that a bootleg of our single would be released and evaluated. Prior to you begin to roll your eyes, this was2003 The internet was a really different place to what it was now. MySpace wasn’t really a thing and it was extremely easy for bands to exist without a lot of people hearing the music.
Yes, the idea was foolish, but so are all the best ones. – If it hadn’t been for The KLF then we would never have actually dreamed up the whole thing in the very first location. And this is the power of The KLF’s legacy. The music does not truly matter as long as you have a terrific idea. And excellent ideas Expense Drummond and Jimmy Cauty had a lot of.
On New Year’s Day 1987 Drummond chose he ‘d make a hip-hop album. Drummond and Cauty went to Sweden with the staying copies of the album with the hope of meeting ABBA and trying to get them to come on-side.
Sadly, this never taken place and Drummond and Cauty burned the majority of the copies in a field, then threw the rest over the side of a ferryboat on the way house. From the start the duo treasured their artistic perfects and aspirations, affirming that they ‘d rather make a loss than compromise.
A few months later on they re-emerged as The Timelords with the smash hit single ‘Doctorin’ The Tardis’. I keep in mind seeing ‘Doctorin’ The Tardis’ on Top of the Pops when I was in school, and it was a fantastically surreal experience. Cardboard Daleks shuffled about the phase while 2 blokes dressed in capes and top hats, one white while the other black, played bass. This was interspersed with video of their video.
It still makes me smile due to its catchiness and utter ridiculousness. Something was particular it was all I might speak about for the next week, and as I can still remember it clearly over 30- years later on, it’s securely wedged in my mind.
When I hear it now, I’m knocked back by how brave it was. The song is developed around a sample of glam anthem ‘Rock-and-roll Sequel’, Dr. Who vocal samples, and a massive klaxon. While the primary sample has actually handled a troublesome tone ‘Doctorin’ The Tardis’ is still a huge, lovely, pop tune that immediately makes me want to jump off the sofa onto my Father’s back whenever I hear it.
Prior To there was The KLF there was Area. Originally Area started out as a partnership in between Dr. Alex Peterson and Jimmy Cauty and was intended to be The Orb’s launching album. Cauty left The Orb in 1990 so he could work with Drummond and took the recordings with him. He eliminated all of Peterson’s bits and released it through the KLF Communications label. It is mostly an interstellar ambient chill out album, however it is luscious in its style. While not a main KLF release it did lay the foundations on what was to come next.
After the bombastic pop vibes of The Timelords the pair slowed, and quietened, things down with their next big release. ‘Chill Out’ does precisely what its title suggests. The album is an idea album that takes the listener through a late-night journey from Texas to Louisiana. Throughout ‘Relax’ the music has a lucid ambiance to it, however at times it feels more like a mix than a studio album as the music of KLF is interlaced with elements of 808 State, Elvis, Acker Bilk, Van Halen, and Fleetwood Mac. Rumour has it that the whole thing was taped in one take and took 2 days to put together.
What appears is how layered and nuanced the album is. It starts off more very little sounding but slowly as the album progresses it ends up being a fuller bodied experience. Struck single ‘3am Eternal’ and future embarassment ‘Last Train To Trancentral’ emerge in the 2nd half, hinting at where the group was entering the not-too-distant future.
For some, the peak of KLF’s recorded output was the single ‘Justified And Ancient’. While ‘3am Everlasting’ bettered it in the charts by reaching No. 1 there was something about ‘Warranted And Ancient’ that lingered in the mind longer. Was it the preliminary vocal hooks of “all bound for Mu Land” or “bring the repel!”, or perhaps the extremely appealing backing track? That rap? The audacity of getting Tammy Wynette to deliver among her best vocals ever and getting her to sing “They called me up in Tennessee, they stated: Tammy, wait the JAMMs …” parodying her signature tune, or was it the surreal images of ice cream vans that made so unforgettable?
Earlier in their career the KLF’s ideas were ambuscaded by sample clearance, but here they managed to get an artist to not just sing their lyrics but likewise subvert their greatest hit too. It felt like the conclusion of whatever Drummond and Cauty had to do with.
‘ The White Room’ album was called an instant timeless and still holds up pretty well today, too. Yes, little bits of it sound dated in a manner that cutting edge pop always does, however lots of it doesn’t. ‘Construct A Fire’ and ‘The Church Of The KLF’ still sounds as terrific as it did when it was first released.
The success and important acclaim led to four BRIT award elections; their efficiency at the 1992 BRIT Awards was seminal. The KLF then retired from the music market.
After the dust had actually settled, Drummond and Cauty still had a lot of cash in the bank from their music. Whatever they made while the band was going went back into the band.
The problem with this was as it was in fact a million pounds no art galleries could/would pay the insurance to show it. On August 23 rd 1994 Drummond, Cauty, reporter Jim Reid, and long-time collaborator and conspirator Gimpo aka Alan Goodrick, went to the Isle of Jura in the Hebrides and burned the cash in an obsolete boathouse.
Out of everything that the KLF/K Structure did, this is probably the thing they are remembered for the most.
However this is what we love about the KLF, isn’t it?
In 1995 the charity War Child launched the collection album ‘Help: A Charity Task For The Kid of Bosnia’. The album was brilliant, potentially the finest charity album of all time.
One of the artists was The One World Orchestra featuring The Massed Pipelines and Drums of the Kid’s Free Revolutionary Volunteer Guards aka The KLF. It stood out on the album due to it frenetic speed and in fact being about the cause.
Yes, Sanctuary and Pals, Huge Attack, The Stone Roses, The Smokin’ Mojo Filters, Suede and more all provided covers/reworkings of existing tunes, but it felt disingenuous after you heard ‘The Spectacular’. Unfortunately after ‘Aid’ a brand-new album never ever materialised, though it was much rumoured at the time.
In 1997 Jeremy Deller developed Acid Brass. This was a job where acid house songs were played by a conventional brass band. Believe Brassed Off at the Hacienda and you’re on the right lines. One of the songs Deller chose was ‘What Time Is Love?’. To capitalise on this, and the Centuries, Drummond and Cauty launched ‘Fuck The Centuries’ under the 2K moniker.
The single likewise marked the 10 th anniversary of the very first time the duo started to make music together. It feels like a 13- minute megamix that distils their career to date. It is littered with samples from the KLF, Justified Ancients of Mu and culminated with the Liverpool Dockers singing a variation of ‘K Cera Cera’. This is the last brand-new music the KLF/K Foundations/K2 have actually launched.
It feels a fitting end to a profession filled with miss info, confusion, delirious music, which feeling of mischief that has been miss out on given that they pulled the shutters down and disappeared from the general public eye.
That is until now. On January first 2021, their music appeared on YouTube and Spotify. This has actually triggered much conversation about whether they will return, whether the appearance of these songs is due to the fact that they require some money, or if they are making another declaration about art and music. Ultimately it does not matter, as they have advised us of when 2 men with a head full of ideas, mischief in their eye and an ear for a killer melody took the musical world by story and added a delirious diversion from normality.
So, let’s all stand at the alter at the Church Of The KLF and take their communion as soon as again.
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The KLF are now on streaming services.
Words: Nick Roseblade
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