The KLF Primer

The KLF Primer

In the early 2000 s back in Bournemouth a buddy and I had an idea.

The concept was basic. We ‘d create a name and doctor some images of us. In six months’ time we ‘d make our live debut, at a gig that we ‘d created. Throughout that time, we ‘d claim there was a single out on some difficult to find label in Europe. We ‘d fake some clippings, and gigs in London, and start to build up some regional buzz about us.

A friend ran a music website, and we would convince him to run an interview with us to build some prestige. On the day of the gig, one of us, most likely me, would require to the phase and state the band were running late and would be on second. When our slot would ultimately come nobody would be on the stage. After a few minutes among us, probably me, would discuss that we couldn’t make it due to another reservation in London. The next day we would announce we had broken up and would be destroying any copies of our single that we had.

A couple of months after that a bootleg of our single would be released and examined. Before you begin to roll your eyes, this was2003 The web was an extremely various place to what it was now. MySpace wasn’t really a thing and it was very easy for bands to exist without a lot of individuals hearing the music.

Yes, the idea was stupid, however so are all the finest ones. – If it had not been for The KLF then we would never have dreamed up the whole thing in the first location.

On New Year’s Day 1987 Drummond decided he ‘d make a hip-hop album. Drummond and Cauty went to Sweden with the staying copies of the album with the hope of conference ABBA and attempting to get them to come on-side.

Regretfully, this never ever happened and Drummond and Cauty burned the majority of the copies in a field, then threw the rest over the side of a ferry on the way house. Right from the start the duo cherished their artistic perfects and goals, verifying that they ‘d rather make a loss than compromise.

A couple of months later on they reappeared as The Timelords with the smash struck single ‘Doctorin’ The Tardis’.

It still makes me smile due to its catchiness and utter ridiculousness. Something was specific it was all I could discuss for the next week, and as I can still remember it clearly over 30- years later, it’s firmly wedged in my psyche.

When I hear it now, I’m knocked back by how brave it was. The tune is built around a sample of glam anthem ‘Rock And Roll Sequel’, Dr. Who singing samples, and an enormous klaxon. While the primary sample has actually handled a troublesome tone ‘Doctorin’ The Tardis’ is still a substantial, lovely, pop song that right away makes me want to jump off the couch onto my Dad’s back whenever I hear it.

Prior To there was The KLF there was Space. While not an official KLF release it did lay the foundations on what was to come next.

After the overblown pop vibes of The Timelords the set slowed, and quietened, things down with their next huge release. ‘Chill Out’ does precisely what its title suggests. The album is a concept album that takes the listener through a late-night journey from Texas to Louisiana. Throughout ‘Relax’ the music has a lucid ambiance to it, but at times it feels more like a mix than a studio album as the music of KLF is interlaced with aspects of 808 State, Elvis, Acker Bilk, Van Halen, and Fleetwood Mac. Rumour has it that the entire thing was tape-recorded in one take and took 2 days to assemble.

What is evident is how layered and nuanced the album is.

For some, the peak of KLF’s documented output was the single ‘Warranted And Ancient’. The audacity of getting Tammy Wynette to provide one of her best vocals ever and getting her to sing “They called me up in Tennessee, they said: Tammy, stand by the JAMMs …” parodying her signature song, or was it the surreal images of ice cream vans that made so remarkable?

Earlier in their profession the KLF’s concepts 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 seemed like the conclusion of everything Drummond and Cauty were about.

‘ The White Room’ album was called an immediate timeless and still holds up quite well today, too.

The success and crucial recognition led to four BRIT award elections; their efficiency at the 1992 BRIT Awards was influential. They coordinated with Extreme Sound Terror and transferred a dead sheep at the actions of the after-party. The KLF then retired from the music market. And why not? After shooting fake gatling gun into the crowd, spraying them with phony blood, disposing a dead sheep at a party, where else is there to go?

After the dust had 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 actually a million pounds no art galleries could/would pay the insurance coverage to exhibit it. Annoyed by this Drummond and Cauty chose to burn the cash instead. On August 23 rd 1994 Drummond, Cauty, reporter Jim Reid, and long-time collaborator and conspirator Gimpo aka Alan Goodrick, went to the Island of Jura in the Hebrides and burned the cash in an obsolete boathouse. Gimpo recorded whatever, Reid discussed it for the Observer, and 2 days later the footage was destroyed. Practically a year later Gimpo revealed he had kept a copy of the tapes.

Out of whatever that the KLF/K Foundation 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 Kid launched the compilation album ‘Help: A Charity Job For The Children of Bosnia’. The concept was for the artists to write/record music on one day, get it blended the next, and in the shops a couple of days after that. The album was dazzling, possibly the best charity album of all time. Initially it didn’t included the full tracklist, just an inventory of who was on it. It indicated listening to it was likewise a musical puzzle. Most of the artists were simple to spot. Some weren’t, but that was the fun.

One of the artists was The One World Orchestra including The Massed Pipes 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 actually being about the cause.

Yes, Oasis and Friends, Enormous Attack, The Stone Roses, The Smokin’ Mojo Filters, Suede and more all provided covers/reworkings of existing songs, however it felt disingenuous after you heard ‘The Magnificent’. Sadly after ‘Aid’ a new album never materialised, though it was much rumoured at the time.

In 1997 Jeremy Deller conceived Acid Brass. This was a job where acid house tunes were played by a standard brass band. Think Brassed Off at the Hacienda and you’re on the right lines. Among the tunes Deller chose was ‘What Time Is Love?’. To capitalise on this, and the Centuries, Drummond and Cauty released ‘Fuck The Centuries’ under the 2K name.

The single likewise marked the 10 th anniversary of the first time the duo started to make music together.

It feels a fitting end to a career filled with miss info, confusion, delirious music, which sensation of mischief that has been miss out on considering that they pulled the shutters down and vanished from the general public eye.

That is up until now.

So, let’s all stand at the alter at the Church Of The KLF and take their communion as soon as again.

– – –

The KLF are now on streaming services.

Words: Nick Roseblade

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