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Mar 11

THE KLF ft THE CHILDREN OF THE REVOLUTION – “3AM Eternal”

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#659, 2nd February 1991

“Faceless”. I don’t know who first used this particular epithet against dance music’s pop takeover, but the concept stuck. Facelessness became a stick used to beat the new music with – by suddenly-old DJs, faux-concerned critics, frustrated executives and not a few confused former pop fans. The idea was that club music didn’t create stars, marketable individuals, long-term careers and audience focus points – in the longer term these claims were proved wrong but in the wide-eyed, loose-limbed climate of the early 90s they seemed credible. In fact they didn’t go far enough – what the dance singles filling the charts were doing was turning the existing purpose of a ‘single’ on its head. Singles had long been a promotional medium – an advert for something, be it an album, a tour, a film or TV show, a comedian’s career. Dance tracks, though, weren’t announcing anything – they were instead the echoes of events which had already happened. A rave record’s moment of currency was when it spread through DJ sets, not when it entered the charts. This had been, for a long time, the logic of the holiday hit, “Y Viva Espana” et al – but now extended to encompass an entire subculture. No wonder the old guard were horrified.

This meant that the public face of rave music – on TV music shows, for instance – was enormously variable. Sometimes the acts genuinely didn’t seem bothered, sometimes they were woefully amateurish… and sometimes they seized the opportunity, redefined “facelessness” as a blank pop canvas and worked to bring a bit of spectacle into the charts. Altern 8, with their boiler suits and face masks; The Orb, playing cosmic chess on Top Of The Pops. And before them, the KLF.

Bill Drummond had been creating pop events for more than a decade – it was his signature tactic as a manager, it had carried successfully over into the early, sample-driven KLF days and it had taken him to the top of the charts already. He’d been a student during glam rock, managed at the start of the video era – he knew how important concept and imagery were to pop. And I think his insight with the KLF at their (and his) mainstream zenith was something like this: if rave music is always the aftermath of a party that’s already happened, the ideal pop incarnation of rave music needs to be the aftermath of an entirely imaginary party, the greatest party that ever could happen.

So the Stadium House trilogy – the trio of hits which includes “3AM Eternal” – is all billed as “live” from some imaginary geographies (Trancentral, the Lost Continent… though “SSL”, the cryptic location of “3AM”, is rather prosaically a mixing desk). The group’s work is full of jumbled references to their own private mythology, which almost certainly was never even as barely coherent as the songs made out. But the robes and horns and cars looked great, the “ancients of Mu Mu” chants sounded great – the group dressed and acted like nobody else around. In a way it was pure gimmick, just the Timelords again on an even bigger scale: but they gave the impression of enough going on in the background for deep cult appeal, and there was enough happening in the hits to cross over completely. Because, after all, none of it would have worked if the Stadium House material wasn’t instant pop, thrilling and energising even if you never paid attention to anything else the KLF did.

“3AM Eternal” is the rushiest, most exciting, most modern-sounding Number One since Adamski – but it’s also the weakest of the Stadium House hits for me. “What Time Is Love?” has even bigger hooks; “Last Train To Trancentral” is even more euphoric. What “3AM” does have is the amazing, machine-gun fire intro, and Wanda Dee floating pure and serene over the crowd noises and crunching breakbeats, and an oddly wistful, high synth line picking its way through the bombast and into your brain. And it has Ricardo Da Force, not the first or last dodgy rapper we’ll encounter in the early 90s, spouting amiable nonsense on roughly a Turbo B level. The whole thing is similar to “The Power”, in fact, but everything seems faster, more flamboyant, more baffling and more of an event. It’s a shot of abstracted pop thrill-power and still an enormously welcome one.

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Comments

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  1. 61
    LondonLee on 17 Mar 2011 #

    The Burger King between Leicester Square and Piccadilly was open pretty late.

  2. 62
    Steve Mannion on 17 Mar 2011 #

    #60 It’s even less relevant when you look at how most people danced at raves!

  3. 63
    Erithian on 17 Mar 2011 #

    David Guetta for instance – can he dance or does he make the records he does so that he can get to hang out with the good-looking people and go to their pool parties?

  4. 64
    Jimmy the Swede on 17 Mar 2011 #

    # 61 – Yes, I’m sure that was the place I went to just before watching Larry Holmes punch several holes through poor old Ali in 1980. Holmes was vilified for that, which was a travesty for a wonderful heavyweight champion, certainly one of the best of my lifetime.

    Wandering around the streets at 3AM, scoffing burgers, would be unthinkable for the Swede nowadays and I’m very comfortable with that.

  5. 65
    admin on 17 Mar 2011 #

    Williams Fairey Brass Band – Acid Brass (What Time Is Love?)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=27-FwZuEKQE

    also worth checking out their covers of Voodoo Ray (minimal), Cubik and Strings of Life

  6. 66
    AndyPandy on 17 Mar 2011 #

    Unfortunately/fortunately (?)if you’d been on the Jack and Jills the
    last thing you felt like doing was eating so you misssed out on all this…

    re 50 very true about not being played at raves – one in the long line of artists who used to fill up the pages of so called dance magazines (once there WERE dance magazines at all! the first few years from 1988 onwards was pretty poorly chronicled) but you never heard played at any raves/”proper” clubs eg Underworld, Fatboy Slim, Chemical Brothers, Leftfield, Prodigy (from ‘Firestarter’
    onwards). The magazines that seemed to actually reflect the scene they were supposed to represent were things like ‘Dream’ and ‘Eternity’ (but which were generally full of happy hardcore unfortunately) and the Scottish magazine which was available in England for a bit ‘M8’.

    A sorry state of affairs really….

  7. 67

    Someone with a better ear than me can maybe clear this up: is one the samples layered here the Enigma panpipes? It’s at 0.18, and there’s a LOT of other stuff going on round it, just after he says “KLF is gnna rock ya!”

  8. 68

    haha also i have found something that purports to be a KLF mix of Enigma’s “mea culpa”, though on their website KLF disclaim responsibility

  9. 69
    23 Daves on 17 Mar 2011 #

    I’m surprised to see people referencing “It’s Grim Up North” being played in clubs – that’s one pleasure I’ve yet to experience. I once asked a DJ if he’d consider putting it on, and he said with a massive sneer: “You think people are going to dance to THAT?” He did have a point, I suppose. I can’t quite imagine how you would move to it on the dancefloor. However, I do find it fantastic for jogging around East London to in the depths of winter, especially if it’s raining, so it’s definitely good for some kind of bodily movement (it can get pretty grim down here as well).

    The “Jerusalem” bit of the song once came on at the very moment I was running through an industrial state past a chicken egg distribution warehouse with cracked windows. It felt oddly appropriate somehow.

  10. 70
    dftujitly on 18 Mar 2011 #

    dsghjyyuk

  11. 71
    dftujitly on 18 Mar 2011 #

    http://qkr.cc/KZjQ

  12. 72
    Steve Mannion on 18 Mar 2011 #

    #66 It depends what you mean by “proper clubs” but most of Britain’s big name DJs played material by the acts you mentioned throughout the mid-late 90s (e.g. techno DJs like Dave Clarke and Carl Cox would still play stuff like ‘Dark & Long (Dark Train)’ and ‘Leftism’ tracks). Obviously there was a concurrent ‘underground’ that tended to ignore anyone popular but those artists mostly came from that before going mainstream, the overlap was palpable and that middle ground was where I felt most comfortable.

    Eternity was a great (if threadbare) magazine somehow – really looked forward to reading it every month. They covered Jungle as much as HH when I read it so I was happy.

  13. 73
    weej on 18 Mar 2011 #

    I’m another one who managed to miss the KLF the first time round, and I can see what Swanstep’s getting at with the “maybe you had to be there” thing – it’s a big event single, the main hook is certainly on the money, but the rap on the verses seems if anything lazier than the one from Turbo B on ‘The Power’. It’s an 8 for me when the riff comes in at the start, but it’s all downhill from there.

    It perhaps doesn’t help that I have an urge to resist any music where the artistes announce their name at the start of a track (probably one of the reasons I was so late getting into rap). It seems fundamentally arrogant (as nobody’s going to care who they are until they’ve heard the song, at the very least) and it can only be justified when the track itself is an absolute belter, which it’s not going to be 99% of the time.

  14. 74
    Tim Byron on 18 Mar 2011 #

    I prefer ‘Justified and Ancient’ (surely I’m not the first person to note the resemblance between it and U2’s ‘The Wanderer’ with Johnny Cash? U2’s Zoo TV culture-jamming period was inspired a bit by KLF, right?) which feels more coherent to me, but this is enjoyable fluff. 9-year-old me, I think, remembered ‘3am Eternal’ coming across as basically silly fun pop – I would have entirely missed all the Discordian stuff, though I read a Robert Anton Wilson book and had played the Illuminati card game by 14-15, so I might have picked up on it then.

    The rap on this is pretty awful. But before you even get to the rap, there’s an impressive amount of hooks that are introduced at the start of the song:
    1) “KLF, uh uh uh, uh uh uh, uh!”
    2) “KLF is gonna rock ya”
    3) “Are you ready?”
    4) “Exit some groove!”
    5) “Eternal, oh whoa oh whoa”

    And then there’s the metallic sounding bassy riff under the chorus, and the pure tone synth riff when everything breaks down – all of these are heavy duty hooks, and to have all of them in the one song is pretty irresistable. Does 75% of The Manual consist of “pack your song with hooks” written over and over again?

    (This only got to #3 in the charts in Australia, in June 1991. It stayed at #3 for 2 weeks – the first week, it was kept from the top by Ratcat’s “Don’t Go Now” and Daryl Braithwaite’s “The Horses”. The second week, KLF outsold both of these, but Rod Stewart’s “Rhythm Of The Heart” and the Grease Megamix popped ahead)

  15. 75
    Conrad on 18 Mar 2011 #

    72, if you were off your head on E the last thing you’d want to hear is this, or a track by any of those artists. You’d want something a lot more uplifting, quicker and less song/vocal based.

    Also, listening again to this, that beat isn’t anything close to house, let alone rave. It’s the ubiquitous oakenfold indie dance beat.

  16. 76
    weej on 18 Mar 2011 #

    Got to disagree with you a bit, Conrad, I never found that E dulled my music taste that much. Something like Underworld’s “Two Months Off” or “Out Of Control” or “Afrika Shox” was exactly what I was hoping to hear (nothing by Fatboy Slim or late Prodigy though, or 3AM Eternal for that matter.) DJs tend to like to stick to one subgenre though, it’s easier to mix, it’s quite likely to have the same BPM, it doesn’t sound wrong when you speed it up or slow it down. None of these artists generally produced music that fitted neatly into that, and I’d say that’s why you didn’t hear them so much in clubs.

  17. 77
    Erithian on 18 Mar 2011 #

    #74 – Just off the top of my head, Tim, without looking up the YouTube clip, parts of “Justified and Ancient”, with a kind of cowboy groove (you can almost hear the beats as hooves) remind me a little of “John Wayne Is Big Leggy”! – whereas the “All bound for MuMu land” bit (beautiful harmonies too) remind me of the line “all bound for Morningtown” from the Seekers’ “Morningtown Ride”, also known as the theme from “Junior Choice”. Was this more than coincidence? On the other hand, if you were old enough to hear this as an almost subliminal reminder of childhood, you were probably rather older than most of the rave crowd!

  18. 78
    Tom on 18 Mar 2011 #

    re. the never played at raves stuff – have to say my reaction to this is a bit “well duh” (aka “so what?”) – this is what I was trying to get at in the review, the KLF’s output at this point is making a pop version of dance music, located very much NOT in yr actual clubbing scene but in the band’s own fantasy world: they’re closer to Queen in that respect than to ‘actual’ rave acts. Whether you like what results or not is entirely up to you but I don’t think it’s making any kind of authenticity claim or inviting one.

    Were the “pure trance” 12″s in 89-90 actual club hits, incidentally? There’s that weird mini-album of What Time Is Love? versions/remixes which purported to be European rip-offs of the original WTIL? but I was always a little bit suspicious of it.

  19. 79
    Mark G on 18 Mar 2011 #

    4) “Exit some groove!”

    actually:

    4) “Ancients of Mu-mu!”

    also #77: Bill Drummond is well known as a Seekers fan, he went to their reunion and wrote about it (I think it’s in “17” book), I hadn’t noticed that line as such, but I’m sure you are right about it not being a coincidence.

  20. 80
    Cumbrian on 18 Mar 2011 #

    Further point of order:

    Someone mentioned that Wanda Dee did the “KLF! uh, uh” bits. She did do the 3am Eternal bits but I am fairly sure that “KLF! uh uh” is PP Arnold.

  21. 81
    Mark G on 18 Mar 2011 #

    I had the original “trance” 12″ when it came out. That has Wanda Dee on it. By the time “stadium house” came around, they presumably could afford PP Arnold…

  22. 82

    No one is answering my panpipes sample query => I must after all have the best ears here :(

  23. 83
    Steve Mannion on 18 Mar 2011 #

    #80 Doh yeah, blatantly PP’s voice and having watched the video I forgot she appears in it. Nice to see her (not just hear her) in the brilliant vid for Altern 8’s ‘Evapor-8’ too.

    It seems the KLF spent a sizeable chunk of the proceeds from ‘What Time Is Love?’ on constructing an impressive model (Mega-)city that appears at the start of the ‘3AM’ video. Interested in what gave them this idea, and what happened to the model.

  24. 84
    Izzy on 18 Mar 2011 #

    The model city features even more prominently in the ‘Last Train To Transcentral’ video. Rockman Rock and King Boy D rock out rather impressively on sitars, which aren’t noticably high in the mix.

  25. 85
    Chelovek na lune on 18 Mar 2011 #

    So, who initiated the (thoroughly desirable, thoroughly deserved) revival of P.P. Arnold’s career over a dance beat?

    The Beatmasters, with “Burn It Up” in ’88 is the earliest I recall (and of course she was a fully-fledged and credited vocalist there, even I think, appearing on TOTP with them. “It’s not a question of gettin’ hot, It’s a question of how much heat you can take”. But did anything predate this?

    (Noticable, how the attempt to give Eartha Kitt a career boost came to very much less. Although actually, and in an entirely different genre, I think “King of the New York Streets” by Dion was my favourite track from this sort of time – mid-1989 actually, so a bit earlier – from someone on a serious comeback.)

    But PP? Where else was she, with her lungs that could breathe fire?

  26. 86
    Chelovek na lune on 18 Mar 2011 #

    So, who initiated the (thoroughly desirable, thoroughly deserved) revival of P.P. Arnold’s career over a dance beat?

    The Beatmasters, with “Burn It Up” in ’88 is the earliest I recall (and of course she was a fully-fledged and credited vocalist there, even I think, appearing on TOTP with them. “It’s not a question of gettin’ hot, It’s a question of how much heat you can take”. But did anything predate this?

    (Noticable, how the attempt to give Eartha Kitt a career boost came to very much less. Although actually, and in an entirely different genre, I think “King of the New York Streets” by Dion was my favourite track from this sort of time – mid-1989 actually, so a bit earlier – from someone on a serious comeback.)

    But PP? Where else was she, with her lungs that could breathe fire?

  27. 87
    B33K34 on 18 Mar 2011 #

    Surely 3am was the time the uncommitted headed home and the party really started? Ad Steve M says above, all those acts came from the underground and were heard there first. The KLF tracks had been around forcyears in less poppy forms. As for the Chem Bros and FBS – you obviously never made it to any BigBeat nights.

  28. 88
    Kit on 19 Mar 2011 #

    This is in the bottom three of my KLF Communications singles, which always made it frustrating when other people my age thought it was their only record ever. (The multi-cited “KLF! Uh-huh, uh-huh” was undoubtedly the major factor in this, of course.) It’s still a total 8.

    @4: they didn’t have a representative of the bank on Jura, just a journalist and Gimpo operating the video camera (and trying to nick some of the money when Jimmy wasn’t looking). IIRC the Omnibus documentary on the burning included a talking head from the bank, and shots of their statements, proving that the money hadn’t been replaced? The difference between Nailed To A Board and the burning being that THEY ACTUALLY TOOK THE MONEY BACK TO THE BANK in the former case!

    Speaking of Gimpo, @14:
    “Jimmy Cauty’s admittedly great (and commercially unreleased) tribute to roadie Gimpo as heard at Iain Sinclair’s London Orbital evening” – was this not KALA003? The guitars on that always sounded more like the hand of Cauty than Drummond or Manning to these ears.

  29. 89
    lonepilgrim on 19 Mar 2011 #

    re 77 & 79 – I get the impression that Bill Drummond was able to draw from a rich and varied well of experience – he worked on Ken Campbell’s epic dramatisation of the ‘illuminatus’ trilogy – source of the Discordian imagery referenced above – and the video scenes of them driving around late at night are vey reminiscent of the ‘Ghost Town’ video.

    The model that features in this and the Transcentral video reminds me of Jake and Dinos Chapman’s ‘Hell’ – and their approach to their work is reminiscent of KLF at their most transgressive.

  30. 90
    Billy Smart on 20 Mar 2011 #

    TOTPWatch: The KLF twice performed ‘3AM Eternal’ on Top Of The Pops;

    19 January 1991. Also in the studio that week were; Soho, Alexander O’Neal and Seal. Nicky Campbell was the host. Transmission of this edition was delayed until the Saturday because of Gulf War coverage.

    31 January 1991. Also in the studio that week were; EMF, Nomad & MC Mikee Freedom, Praise and Soho. Anthea Turner was the host. This show and the preceding week’s edition were the shortest ever Top Of The Pops programmes, running at only twenty minutes due to Gulf War coverage.

  31. 91
    heather on 20 Mar 2011 #

    I always thought this was weedy compared to the epic ‘What Time Is Love’, but it’s definitely part of the future of 1991 and pretty good. Very pre-trance in a way.

    I think you have to enjoy dancing purely for its own sake to enjoy dance music, especially the really repetitive and lyric-free sort of techno. Not dress-to-impress or drink, but happy to get down and groove for four hours solid on nothing more than caffeine. Otherwise it must seem like horrible robot noise.

  32. 92
    RDMcNamara on 20 Mar 2011 #

    “They are STILL 3AM Eternal!” Tommy Vance eh?

  33. 93
    Kit on 20 Mar 2011 #

    “Someone mentioned that Wanda Dee did the “KLF! uh, uh” bits. She did do the 3am Eternal bits but I am fairly sure that “KLF! uh uh” is PP Arnold.”

    Don’t think Wanda is actually on 3AM at all – AFAIK her only contributions to their ouevre were sampled from one solo single she’d done (“I wanna see you sweat” on What Time Is Love, and “Come on boy, do you wanna ride?” on Last Train To Trancentral). The extensive credits and video appearances she made were down to her manager/husband (and formerly Leroy from Fame, TRUFAX!) being v v canny and negotiating them as part of the settlement for sampling.

    She and he have also ripped Drummond & Cauty off in return good and proper by touring the world as “The KLF” ever since, always avoiding the UK so they can’t complete the circle by injuncting her.

  34. 94
    Steve Mannion on 20 Mar 2011 #

    I love the varied but constant lyrical confusion these tracks create. Always heard that bit in LTTT as “Come on (a)board if you wanna ride”. The train of course.

  35. 95
    Paul on 21 Mar 2011 #

    Before you take the KLF too seriously:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Manual

    Probably due for a re-write!

  36. 96
    punctum on 21 Mar 2011 #

    “ripped Drummond & Cauty off” oh the etc.

  37. 97
    Kit on 21 Mar 2011 #

    well yes, hence the subsequent words in that sentence.

    I have no idea why The Manual would stop one from taking The KLF seriously. Possibly the greatest sustained piece of pop criticism ever!

  38. 98
    Erithian on 21 Mar 2011 #

    During the latter part of Comic Relief on Friday I had visions of a mash-up to come:
    “JLS! Uh-huh uh-huh..” etc

  39. 99
    punctum on 21 Mar 2011 #

    Preferably involving a cement mixer.

  40. 100
    Ben on 22 Mar 2011 #

    Wow, 100th post.

    I don’t really remember this… it was about the time I was turning on to music, but it was 18 months before I’d start watching TOTP or following the charts. And I’ve never really heard much KLF – like every boy my age, I knew ‘Doctorin’ The Tardis’, but that was about it.

    Listening to this now, I sense the importance of this going to number 1 when it did. Would 11-12 year old me have ever heard anything by Prodigy had it not been for this?

  41. 101
    abaffledrepublic on 26 Mar 2011 #

    #90: the January 31st TOTP appearance must therefore have been the occasion when Anthea Turner proved how down with the kids she was, by introducing the group as the KLM.

  42. 102
    Tom on 4 Apr 2011 #

    Anyone keen to see me talk about the KLF at (even) greater length is urged to get themselves to http://oneweekoneband.tumblr.com, where I’ll be guest-blogging about them all week.

  43. 103
    Cumbrian on 4 Apr 2011 #

    Tom: enjoying the oneweekoneband thus far. Wouldn’t dream of providing a suggestion if the question of Friday were not still open – but it seems to me that something could be said of the remix work that KLF did and how they fitted in with the wider pop music culture of the UK in the late 80s/early 90s (especially in as much as they remixed Pet Shop Boys and Depeche Mode at points in their careers where all three were large/important bands). Feel free to ignore – as I said, enjoying it as it is unfolding anyway and I am sure you’ll have better ideas than me!

  44. 104
    Tom on 4 Apr 2011 #

    Cumbrian – thanks! The question of Friday isn’t actually open, I know what’s going to be in there (and actually the PSB/DM stuff would fit in with it). Just not saying what it is yet. There’ll be stuff about the KLF in 80s/90s pop culture on Wednesday, too.

  45. 105
    Cumbrian on 4 Apr 2011 #

    Cool – I shall look forward to it.

  46. 106
    enitharmon on 5 Apr 2011 #

    As I was waiting for my bus to Kendal this morning in Cavendish Street, known around these parts as “The Gaza Strip” for it’s vibrant{1} club scene, I noticed that the Circus Circus club claims to feature one ‘Deejay Migraine’.

    Says it all, really, about how I feel about this kind of music.

    {1} I reference, I should think, to the multicoloured vomit to be found eternally at 3am on a Saturday morning.

  47. 107
    Tom on 5 Apr 2011 #

    Oddly enough Chill Out often makes me think of long journeys by car up to Kendal. It’s the dry-stone wall on the cover I guess!

  48. 108
    Dave on 13 Apr 2011 #

    This tune (in its pure trance incarnation) was absolutely played in clubs and at raves – KLF famously did a PA at one of the outdoor raves (Helter Skelter?) and threw their fee in pound notes into the crowd.

    I distinctly remember Bukem featuring KLF tunes in his set around 90 / 91

  49. 109
    lonepilgrim on 8 May 2011 #

    This track features in this round-up of clips from 1991:
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b010w8t0/Movin_on_Up_Pop_Hits_from_1991/

  50. 110
    AndyPandy on 8 May 2011 #

    108 yes that was the pure trance version which was very different and very good (the What Time Is Love one was good too)and that was about 1988/89. And just because they did that PA doesn’t mean people were buying them at Boogie Times etc By the time of the completely revamped (and IMHO ruined pop chart toppers) I’d be very surprised if the new (‘stadium house’)versions were getting spun – I know you didn’t hear them on the pirates or even Kiss except for a token play on chart rundowns.

  51. 111
    lonepilgrim on 20 Jan 2012 #

    one of the sources for KLFs mythology can be found here:

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/gwendalcentrifugue/6666374389/in/photostream/lightbox/

  52. 112
    wichita lineman on 11 Mar 2013 #

    A sad and unexpected goodbye to Ricardo Da Force, aka Ricky Lyte.

    http://newsflash.bigshotmag.com/news/uk-news/23576/

  53. 113
    hectorthebat on 22 Mar 2015 #

    Critic watch:

    1,001 Songs You Must Hear Before You Die, and 10,001 You Must Download (2010) 1002
    Bruce Pollock (USA) – The 7,500 Most Important Songs of 1944-2000 (2005)
    Mixmag (UK) – Nominations for the Greatest Dance Track of All Time (2012)
    Paul Morley (UK) – Words and Music, 210 Greatest Pop Singles of All Time (2003)
    Q (UK) – The 1001 Best Songs Ever (2003) 150
    Gilles Verlant and Thomas Caussé (France) – 3000 Rock Classics (2009)
    Giannis Petridis (Greece) – 2004 of the Best Songs of the Century (2003)
    Eye Weekly Canadian Critics Poll – Singles of the Year 17
    Rock de Lux (Spain) – Songs of the Year 14

  54. 114
    Blythwood on 17 Oct 2016 #

    I’d be interested to see if anyone can confirm a claim I’ve seen online that the machine gun / “This is Radio Freedom” intro was sampled from the station ident of an ANC radio station of that name. I’d always assumed it was some kind of WWII/Free French reference.

    Anyway, yes, “baffling” is the word for this – the incredible mixture of bizarre, pumped-up, self-referential slogans and the wistfulness of being awake late at night. Somehow it seems like a triumph of self-imposed restrictions: no lyrics except slogans. Very Frankie.

    The video is really excellent after the cheapness of the Doctorin’ the Tardis video – the decision to share elements between their stadium house singles videos and presumably pool the budget was inspired. You have the combination of Thomas-The-Tank-Engine-gone-dystopian model shots and studio of the pyramid, the space of the first studio shot where the camera zooms away from the performers on the pyramid to reveal the vocalist in the KLF t-shirt, the whirling late-night shots of the car in London…it all feels very appropriate somehow, very imagined geographies.

  55. 115
    Cumbrian on 4 Jan 2017 #

    http://www.factmag.com/2017/01/03/the-klf-video-collage-return-23/

    If this really is the precursor to a comeback, rather than just a continuation of The KLF’s stunt monkey tendencies, I’m unsure how I feel about it. Going back to this well simultaneously does and doesn’t feel like the sort of thing that they should be doing.

  56. 116
    Cumbrian on 5 Jan 2017 #

    Further update, including bill poster stuck up somewhere in Hackney.

    http://thequietus.com/articles/21514-klf-jamms-to-return-slam-film

  57. 117
    Adam Puke on 7 Jan 2017 #

    My money’s on them touring their classic White Room album. With support from N-Trance.

  58. 118
    flahr on 7 Jan 2017 #

    They should tour Chill Out. Or the sampleless version of 1987.

  59. 119
    Phil on 7 Jan 2017 #

    The poster was quote spotted unquote by Cally, the design genius behind everything from Eastfolk to the Kaiser Chiefs board game to that Nick Drake CD (and that other Nick Drake CD) to the Tea Set. (I think I had a letter from him once. It said the Rabbi Joseph Gordan single had sold out ages ago and tried to flog me something else. Those were the days.) Oh, and he’s also Bill Drummond’s manager.

    Anyway, the 23 years aren’t up until November 2018, so you’d think next August would be a bit previous, but who’s to say. I have to admit that my admiration for everyone involved is puppyishly intense, even after all this time (and it’s a long time since “Cups and Saucers”).

  60. 120
    Adam Grylls on 30 Dec 2017 #

    In recent year i’ve become obsessed with Mr Drummond and the KLF mythos. I’m a sucker for subversive artists, but the KLF seemed not only to be willing to go far further than most, but also had a staggering ability to actually get away with it. The dadaist nonsense of the lyrics, the perpetual motion between ridicule and praise between band, press and fans, the barmy mythology, and the brazen publicity stunts. Their appearance at the Brits and their subsequent exit from the industry is the stuff of legend. They are one of the most fascinating acts of the past 30 years even without the music. It’s entirely understandable, but certainly not forgivable, to pass them off as a novelty act who relied on shrewd marketing to create a following. But lest we forget just quite how brilliant their musical output was, their slew of off-kilter singles are all uniquely appealing, and you would be completely foolish to never listen to ‘Chill Out’ which is one of the greatest electronic albums ever made.

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