28
Oct 99

42. KLF – “Last Train To Transcentral”

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Tom Ewing’s Top 100 Singles Of The 90s

MU MU! MU MU! MU MU! KLF!“. No band understood the possibilities for mass lunacy contained in the new music as well as did the KLF. Their ‘Stadium House’ trilogy of singles – “What Time Is Love”, “3AM Eternal” and “Last Train…” are as ridiculous as the most reviled Aqua or Cartoons outing, and at the same time are awe-inpsiring, colossal, unprecedented dancefloor bulldozers. Read a copy of The Manual, Bill Drummond and Jimmy Cauty’s pricelessly cynical dissection of the process needed to have a No.1 hit, and the depth of their understanding begins to show through. For novelty scam-mongers and pranksters, they knew the public well, particularly that strain in British pop listening which likes an occasional brush with the gigantic. The KLF did to house what Jim Steinman did to rock – they turned it into a thing of tottering grand opera absurdity, pushed the excitement in the music to hysteria, traded content for ever-huger gesture. The difference being that the KLF never lost track of what made the music special in the first place. Maybe because there’s less inherent ‘meaning’ in the KLF’s music, or maybe just because the ‘meaning’ in house music is less fragile, I don’t know, but no matter how vast “Last Train To Trancentral” sounds, it never loses its happy grip on your feet and heart.

“Last Train…” is the least bombastic of the ‘Stadium House’ triad, in truth, but it has the best moment of the three, maybe the best single moment of the 90s. The wonderfully named Ricardo Da Force drops his duff Euro-rapping and comes on like a music hall MC to introduce the KLF, “also known as the Justified Ancients of Mu Mu / Furthermore known as the JAMMS…” and the beat stops, and instead of a fanfare there comes this arpeggiated melody, deeply corny (but so what?) and infinitely pure, building up and up like the whole history of dance music has been leading up to this heavenly snatch of music. There have been build-ups before and there will be build-ups to come, but for me, nothing touches this. And then it fades away and the chanting begins – “MU MU! MU MU! MU MU! KLF!”. And you move from the sublime to ridiculous, and you find that they were the same place anyway.

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