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Sunday 26 November 2023

Forty Five Minutes Of The KLF

On Thursday 23rd November 2023 The KLF re- appeared with a website KLF Kare (providing 'branding solutions to independently owned care homes'), a song (a cover/ version/ premix of Harry Nillson's Everybody's Talkin' At Me, with Ricardo Da Force on vocals and a lengthy introductory sample from Top of The Pops. You can hear it here) and in Toxteth, Liverpool a night time event including the laying of bricks for The People's Pyramid, a procession across the Mersey and an afterparty at Future Yard in Birkenhead. 23rd November 2023 was always likely to be a day of KLF action, the number 23 being highly significant in KLF world and Discordianism and 23rd November being significant previously in KLF activities. 

The 23rd November was also Isaac's birthday and the age he was when he died. I've written before about 23 and Isaac, including the fact that I was reading John Higgs' book about the KLF when he died and how when I picked the book up a few weeks later, the first chapter I read was about the importance of 23 to The KLF and in Discordianism. When I woke up on Thursday, which was a really tough day all round, I found The KLF in my various social media feeds, the above 23 graphic jumping out at me. A couple of weeks ago a friend sent me a photograph of the famous KLF ice cream van, which turned up at a KLF event she attended, the number 23 emblazoned on its side. I left a comment on one of her posts, coincidentally (or not) 23 minutes after she posted it. Etc etc etc. 

Today's Sunday mix therefore suggested itself- demanded itself really. 

Forty Five Minutes Of The KLF

  • I Believe In Rock 'n' Roll
  • Jerusalem On The Moors
  • Kylie Said To Jason (Full length Version)
  • Justified And Ancient (Stand By The JAMs)
  • 3 a.m. Eternal (Blue Danube Orbital)
  • It's Grim Up North Part 1
  • Last Train To Trancentral (White Room Version)
  • What Time Is Love? Live At Trancentral (Radio Edit)

I Believe In Rock 'n' Roll is from Bill Drummond's solo album The Man, an album recorded and released by Creation in 1986 when he was 33.3 years old and ready for 'a revolution in my life'. This song is fairly self explanatory and contains lyrical and musical references that would appear in his public life thereafter- pedal steel guitar (Chill Out), Penkiln Burn (his website) and his belief that Elvis is king among them. 

Jerusalem On the Moors was the fourth track on the CD single release of It's Grim Up North, a weatherblasted orchestral take that fades into techno. It's Grim Up North was recorded as The Justified Ancients Of Mu Mu and released as a single in 1991, a list of northern towns set to industrial  techno, two men with the world at feet and the freedom to do whatever they wanted to. It's Grim Up North Part 1 is ten minutes long, starting out lyrically in Bolton and ending in Cleethorpes, taking in Barnsley, Nelson, Colne, Burnley, Bradford, Buxton, Crewe, Warrington, Widnes, Wigan, Leeds, Northwich, Nantwich, Knutsford, Hull, Sale, Salford, Southport, Leigh, Kirkby, Kearsley, Keighley, Maghull, Harrogate, Huddersfield, Oldham, Lancs, Grimsby, Glossop, Hebden Bridge, Brighouse, Bootle, Featherstone, Speke, Runcorn, Rotherham, Rochdale, Barrow, Morecambe, Macclesfield, Lytham St Annes, Clitheroe, Pendlebury, Prestwich, Preston, York, Skipton, Scunthorpe, Scarborough-on-Sea, Chester, Chorley, Cheadle, Hulme, Ormskirk, Accrington, Leigh, Ossett, Otley, Ilkley Moor, Sheffield, Manchester, Castleford, Skem, Doncaster, Dewsbury, Halifax, Bingley, Bramhall and the M62 in between. 

The KLF released Kylie Said To Jason in 1989, the only survivor from the pair's road trip film, The White Room, with the titular stars of Neighbours and SAW set to a track that is the full fruits of Drummond and Cauty's Pet Shop Boys obsession. It was designed to sell bucket loads of records and establish The KLF in the charts. It failed to make the top 100. 

Justified And Ancient was released as a single on 25th November 1991 and while typing this I see that this is today's date, thirty two years later, which wasn't planned but doesn't surprise me either. Do you need me to explain the genius of this song, of Tammy Wynette, stadium house, King Boy D, Rockman Rock and an ice cream van, all bound for Mu Mu Land? You do not. Bring the beat back. 

3 a.m. Eternal was The KLF's second monster, a top ten hit. This mix from the 12", the Blue Danube Orbital Mix, is by The Orb, a sound collage/ ambient house version and sounds like part of Chill Out that went missing and resurfaced, the Blue Danube waltz section in the middle the interruption to the chilled out bliss. 

Last Train To Trancentral was a single in 1990, released as per in multiple versions and mixes, Pure Trance, Live From The Lost Continent, Iron Horse and several others. This is The White Room version, from the album with rap from Ricardo da Force and vocals from Black Steel, Maxine Harvey and Wanda Dee. Trancentral is The KLF's spiritual home, a place they were bound for, Mu Mu Land, the lost continent. It was also their recording studio in Stockwell, south London (also Jimmy Cauty's squat)

I had to include What Time Is Love?, in many ways the definitive KLF song, a genuine acid house classic, one that straddles borders and slips into The Live At Trancentral Version came out in 1990, an extraordinary moment of brilliance as the sincere, surreal and chaotic world of Drummond and Cauty collided with mainstream culture and the stadium house trilogy went overground. The radio Edit here brings this mix in at just shy of forty five minutes and so would fit on one side of a c90 cassette. As the beats hammer away, the siren blares and the rave riff repeats, let me ask you a question... 


Khayem said...

A great selection, Adam, thanks for sharing.

Swiss Adam said...

Glad you enjoyed it Khayem, it was fun to do.

thewalker said...

Looking forward to listening, great wordery once again too Adam.