The most frequently asked questions regarding The KLF. This is where you should start reading about the work of Bill Drummond and Jimmy Cauty to explore the History of the JAMS.
Differences between international releases. the recording of Chill Out and the other sound of Mu, covering the early Brilliant releases as well as the K Foundation and the One World Orchestra.
Bootlegs of rare KLF releases have been released aplenty over the time. While some of them can be easily spotted, others are hard to distinguish from the original issues.
What does […] sound like?
Some of the more rare and obscure tracks and projects can be hard to track down, so these should give you an idea of what to expect.
What does [...] sound like?
Most people who have heard them will think that Brilliant featuring Youth and Jimmy Cauty with June Montana as singer were fairly awful really. Cheesy, clumsy, disco pop music (albeit with loud guitars too) produced by Stock Aitken and Waterman on a major label. “But it’s also worth remembering, rather like the KLF, that there are two phases to Brilliant’s career. First they were a sort of a funky Killing Joke who released some records via indie label Rough Trade; I remember listening to their first (perhaps only) Peel Session and thinking ‘funky bass’. Then they hit the ‘big’ time, signed to WEA and were given the SAW treatment.”
“Also does ‘on a major label’ equal bad? ‘I’m sure we’ve all got favourite artists who are on majors. I do like to support indies, but I’m sure you get my point. Also ‘produced by Stock Aitken and Waterman’ does not equal bad either. Those of you who have read the Timelords’ Manual will know Bill n’ Jimmy have a deal of respect for SAW, and they’ve produced enough quite excellent pop records to be always worth a listen in my book.”
“Their near hit LP I have to confess I’ve only heard at a party and I was almost quite impressed. I thought I’d just get a few singles by them rather than buy the LP. I would describe their later sound as being quite poppy but with a harder edge. Although totally different musically in some ways they did remind me of Frankie Goes to Hollywood in terms of the interestingness of the production. As a rule bands that SAW produced who were not totally part of the SAW Hit Factory (i.e. SAW did not write their songs) are usually worth a listen.” The author of the FAQ can’t comment on this one as he’s never heard them, and he’s relying on other’s testimonies by the way.
Some more: “I finally found Brilliant’s ‘Kiss The Lips Of Life’. Backing vocals are contributed by, amongst others, Princess and Pepsi & Shirley. That shouldn’t come as a surprise since the album is produced by Stock Aitken & Waterman (except for one instrumental, “Crash The Car”, which Brilliant produced). Not totally typical S.A.W. – those guys only helped co-write 2 of the album’s 9 songs. They cover James Brown’s ‘It’s A Man’s Man’s Man’s World’, and ‘The End Of The World’, not very impressively on the latter. Two almost-catchy songs, ‘Love Is War’ and ‘Somebody’, are the highlights of the album. Cauty helped co-write the 7 original tunes.’
“Since I like S.A.W. and The KLF in all their incarnations I thought I’d like this album. Not particularly… it was done before S.A.W. found the one beat that they used in 739 Top 40 songs for Jason and Kylie, and just sounds like some poorly constructed cheesy pop. I only paid $5 for it, so I’m happy, but if you have to pay much more I’d pass.”
“Quite a few singles were lifted from that album, I have some details somewhere. It was this musical project that caused Jimmy to first meet up with Bill: Drummond was working for WEA at the time, and they put up the money for this material to be recorded etc., since it was being released on a WEA subsidiary, Food Records, run by David Balfe. The project failed: Brilliant never became the megastars they were supposed to become, and the money went towards the setting up of Pete Waterman Limited. So, you *could* say, with a touch of cynicism, that it is Bill who is responsible for all those Stock, Aitken and Waterman tunes you ever hated… ;-).”
Bill Drummond’s 1986 solo LP on Creation records is a mixed bag of country-rock tunes, awful singing, up tempo instrumentals, a couple of good pop songs, the ‘particularly funny’ old English ballad type ‘Julian Cope Is Dead’, and a Scottish Nationalist poem ‘Such A Parcel Of Rogues In A Nation’ read by his father, the Reverend Jack Drummond. It features most of Australian rock band ‘The Triffids’ as his backing band, along with Kyiem Lui, Graham Lee, Nick Coler and the ‘Voice Of The Beehive’ girls on backing vocals. Its probably not worth spending a lot of money on if you only like dance music, try looking out for it in used record bins or remaindered records shops.
Here’s some reviews by list members:
It’s almost comical, actually. Bill strums his guitar and sings country & western ballads in a thick Scottish accent. It’s not remarkable except for its collectible value as a KLF member’s solo record.
It’s a country album, with lots of steel guitars. The song ‘Julian Cope is dead’ is particularly funny, the only non-non-country track on the album; it’s a traditional English middle-ages ballad. The song about Ian McCulloch is called ‘Ballad for a sex god’, but I have no idea about the lyrics, since he sings with a very thick accent. The record is of course a must for any KLF-collector.
I think that you are wrong. I admit I have only heard one song off the album (‘The King Of Joy’), but that was definitely NOT a country & western ballad. It is one of the best pop songs I have heard in a long time. If you don’t like the songs, then buy it because it is fun to listen to all the allusions Bill pops in about his career and his exploits.
Unfortunately the KLF track on the CND benefit album ‘Give Peace A Dance’ is not a proper song at all. Just a large explosion and a slow rumbling fade to silence for 1.37 minutes, obviously designed to make you think of nuclear explosions, it being a CND album and all. Best description must be: ‘BLAM rumble rumble rumble rumble rumble rumble’.
However, we actually think its a NASA rocket launch soundtrack, as featured on numerous Orb tracks, most obviously at the beginning of “Supernova at the End of the Universe”, and of course the KLF have used NASA clips as well, most notably at the beginning of Space, and the end of ‘What Time Is Love? (live)’. The second mini-boom on this track could be the second stage rocket firing. In fact it sounds exactly like the rocket launch at the beginning of Space.
Bear in mind that the KLF have left the music industry and that this is the K Foundation PRESENTING the Red Army Choir. Its a great novelty pop song. It is unquestionable that it would be a huge world-wide hit if they released it. It really is the Red Army Choir. Bill saw them at a local performance and got them to sing a completely straight version of the old standard ‘Que Cera Cera (Whatever Will Be, Will Be)’, gradually building up to a crescendo of crashing symbols, Cossack dance ‘HEY!’s and trumpets as they launch into the chorus. There’s a breakdown section very similar to that in ‘America…’, and the climactic-military-brass-band-style-pomp continues with ‘War Is Over If You Want It’ i.e. the John Lennon-Yoko Ono Christmas single. If you’re not dancing around your bedroom by this point wildly swinging your arms, with a huge grin on your face, then you’ve missed the point. Finally the song ends in an ambient outro, with church bells and a drum march, similar to ‘America No More’.
It was only ever released in Israel in a limited ed. of 3000 on CD and cassette, to ‘celebrate’ the 1993 Peace Accord there. They also tried to get it played at festivals and live events over that summer, but were usually thwarted because organisers thought it was “crap”. On one occasion, at the Reading Festival, Pete Robinson was spotted trying to make a tape of it from the PA playback. Now it’s usually only found if someone is selling, or maybe in a second-hand store. Expect to pay upwards of ukp30 for a copy.
The One World Orchestra track, entitled “The Magnificent”, is a short but spicy drum’n’bass reworking of the orchestral theme from the film ‘The Magnificent Seven’, with samples from a Serb radio station. It is track number 15 on the CD.
Mark Hawker, K-F friend and operative made a film called “Zombie Town” about underground culture in Belgrade, which was first shown on Channel 4 in 1995 and again in July 1996. A lot of the film centres around Beograd 92, the Serb radio station and the “humans against killing…that’s like junkies against dope” and “Radio B92” samples comes from Fleka, the blind DJ on B92. Bill and Jimmy wanted to get Robbie, who’d just split from Take That, on the record but he was on holiday with his mum.
In the months following the album, Bill tried to deny responsibility for the track, but this contrasts with earlier interviews where he talked about how and why they made it. In a Radio 1 interview Jimmy said “It’s a novelty record. which is something we’re good at.”. It is possible that the OWO recorded more tracks. The thinking behind the name One World Orchestra in unknown.
Other Creative Exploits
The never ending list of things, events and projects from, around, before and after The KLF – from the never finished White Room Motion Picture to the infamous burning of a million pounds on the Isle of Jura.
From T-Shirts to Books, from Promo Videos to home-made DVDs – there have been many non-CD releases and collectibles during all those years. Read more about them and find out wether they are still available.
Questions that didn’t fit into any other category so we had to create one for them.