The KLF: Album-by-single-by-album

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by bunglejerry, Aug 24, 2017.

  1. bunglejerry

    bunglejerry Forum Resident Thread Starter

    I know which clunky edit you're talking about, and the funny thing is that the 12" has an equally clunky edit (to a different section) at the same point!

    You'd figure that with two hits in the same micro-genre, they'd have made a "Stadium House" album - but The White Room isn't that album at all. As much as I love those three songs, forty minutes of it might have been an endurance test.
  2. The 3AM glitch I was thinking of is here:

    But listening through, there's a fair few clunkers in the long mix, and no extra verse like in WTIL. Very strange, given the importance of the song and the talent behind the mixing desk. So 7" version wins!

    Have re-listened to the full LTTT, it does maintain it's energy to the end (just), so I'll keep the long version in my fantasy KLF "best of" (potential future post alert!).
    bunglejerry likes this.
  3. Bolero

    Bolero Forum Resident

    more great stuff to read/learn, thanks all!

    listened to "space" repeatedly during a 6 hour drive the other day. each time, I picked up different things...

    and of course the familiar library of sounds that I've heard on other of my head:

    1. the whirring noise seen at the beginning of LTTC video, played while the radar dish spins
    2. the Pink Floyd "on the run" snippet, panned like it was in "chill out"
    3. a repeating triplet figure much like they have in the other tunes
  4. Trevor_Bartram

    Trevor_Bartram Forum Resident

    Boylston, MA, USA
    Where's the Chill Out re-release CD, I'm tired of listening to it on YouTube!
  5. Hermetech Mastering

    Hermetech Mastering Vortextual Waveform Projection

    Paris, France
    There isn't one, pick up an original, or pick up a bootleg, or "find" the original FLAC somewhere on the interwebz.
  6. bunglejerry

    bunglejerry Forum Resident Thread Starter


    THE WHITE ROOM (March 1991)

    The White Room turns out to be the last of seven full-length albums released by Bill and Jimmy during their time together. But you could, if you so choose, find ways to disqualify all of the other six as “not real albums” and claim that this was their sole “proper” album. To many, at least, that’s how it’s remembered. It is the long-form record of their brief moment in the sun, when they were all over radio and television, and when enough punters went out and bought this self-produced and self-published album to make it go platinum. A heady moment to be sure, and this album almost lives up to the fame (or infamy?) that its circumstances engender in it. Without a doubt, it is more listenable (and less dated) than pretty much any other "house" record of its vintage. Perhaps that's largely down to the fact that it isn't really a house record at all so much as a densely-recorded "pop" record that includes house among its many influences. The entire second side is mid-tempo, there are many reggae influences, one song veers close to country music, and one song in particular sounds like nothing so much as a nursery rhyme.

    The whole thing is, of course, sourced from the 1989 "soundtrack" album that they had ready for release before getting cold feet and cancelling it. That ten-track release lost three songs, "Kylie Said to Jason", "The Lovers' Side" and "Born Free", in becoming the current nine-track album that features "What Time is Love" and "Justified and Ancient" not on the original. Of the seven songs common to both releases, every one is altered at least a little, and most are altered almost past the point of recognition. The ultimately released album has a much fuller, less plinky sound and is less dated than the 1991 original.

    The two "stadium house" singles that had been released in advance of this album both featured overdubbed crowd noise, and on this particular album the KLF run with that conceit by linking the first five songs - side one on vinyl - with between-track live audience cheers, as if the five songs were all recorded back-to-back at a single concert. In one of the most challenging and ironic "kopyright liberation" moments of their entire career, the KLF take the crowd noise from existing live albums - the Doors' archival Absolutely Live and the then-current U2 exercise in bombast, Rattle and Hum. They actually freely credit this on the album, acknowledging their rather meaningless "debt", since one crowd surely sounds like another (in fact, Jim Morrison's voice saying "thank you" shows up on the album, as do one or two notes of the "Roadhouse Blues" riff).

    A bit of a clever trick, but it was enough to give Clive Davis and Arista cold feet, and the American release went out with those crowd sounds edited out - causing at times a disjointed feel. A Stevie Wonder sample is also edited out, the longest track on the album has a rather excessive three minutes clipped off, and "Last Train to Trancentral" is replaced with the very different single version. Quite a bit of futzing about, really, with the net effect that the Arista release (still in print, incidentally) varies rather significantly from the UK release we're looking at here. The Japanese release on Toshiba follows the American lead.

    Outside of the UK original and the two major-market major-label releases, chart success and celebrity ensured that indie labels spread across the globe would line up for distribution deals, and The White Room got released on over a dozen different labels in markets as far afield as Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, Peru, Turkey, South Africa, Czechoslovakia and South Korea. A Mexican release on vinyl and cassette features such classics as "A Que Hora es el Amor", "El Cuarto Blanco", "Iglesia del KLF" and "No Mas Lagrimas".

    What Time is Love (LP mix) (★★★★): We actually only get to the top-five hit after a minute and a half intro, which is a snatch of "Justified and Ancient", the album's closing track (more than a snatch, really; it's the whole first verse). It's a bit of conceptual unity, I suppose, starting and finishing the album on the same note. Given the live concert theme, perhaps it's envisioned as walk-on music. Or Bill and Jimmy might just have really, really wanted to be "introduced" at the beginning of the album, which the lyrics to "Justified and Ancient" do.

    In any case, this means that after the "intro" is over, we're left with a barely-three-minute mix of "What Time is Love", a remix which condenses most of the main elements of the "Live at Trancentral" single but certainly doesn't outstay its welcome. The backing track has a few rave bells and whistles tossed in and feels, to my ears, a bit overcooked. It gets the album off to a bang (well, ninety seconds later) but needn't have been so brief, really. Perhaps they should have put the single version on instead.

    Though the Arista release also uses the subtitle "LP mix", that is in fact a lie: what Americans got was the "Justified and Ancient" intro, ending to complete silence, followed by the 7" mix of "Live at Trancentral" intact. This meant that track one ran longer on American (and Japanese) CDs than UK CDs.

    Make It Rain (★★★★★): Around the time the album came out, a two-track promo CD single was released with this song as its a-side. As Bill and Jimmy moved on to other things, nothing came of it, but it's interesting to think that perhaps this song, despite not being part of that mythic trio of songs, might have been a single back in the day. It's tough to imagine it would have been a hit, but it's a rewarding song. No disrespect to Maxine's wonderful vocals, but the most prominent element here is the amazingly kinetic and compelling drumbeat that runs through most of the track. Largely just a sped-up "Ashey's Roachclip" overlaid with various breaks, it's utilised brilliantly and gives the song its distinctive element, making this one of the "deepest" KLF songs since the original "3 a.m. Eternal".

    Maxine's gospel wail, left intact from the very similar but more conventional original soundtrack version, and some sax blowing from Duy Khiem, fill the song out, while a rather melancholic four-chord cycle grounds the song and gives it its character. A few male voices show up via samples, one of which - a rather innocuous lift of "Little Stevie" Wonder exuberantly calling out "say yeah!" from his 1963 number-one hit "Fingertips" - was clipped from the American release. Literally clipped, with four bars each ham-fistedly sliced from two different parts of the track, leaving a shorter running time.

    All in all, the song is an interesting mix of danceability and sombre seriousness, with none of the tongue-in-cheek moments of the anthems which precede and follow it on the album. Track two is certainly a strange place to put this, and ultimately it's one of the easier tracks on the album to overlook. Pity too, as it's something special.

    3 a.m. Eternal (Live at the S.S.L.) (★★★★★): This is the seven-inch version that you know and love, which on the day The White Room was released was still in the top ten (having come down off of its two weeks at number one, ahead of Enigma's "Sadeness", Seal's "Crazy", the C&C Music Factory's "Gonna Make You Sweat" and, naturally, "Do the Bartman" by the Simpsons). Of course, the line that the KLF had left the building was excised. Since they hadn't. Instead, the song went straight into the track that it had originally sampled from, "Church of the KLF".

    Church of the KLF (★★): On the soundtrack, this is a full-fledged four-minute track, verses and chorus sung by P.P. Arnold, Katie Kisson and Maxine Harvey in an impressive imitation of gospel vocalisations, tossing about various religious tropes in the service of a kind of secular taunt/boast over a pop-house concoction that still ends up a bit wack despite its best intentions. It's horribly dated, and it's perhaps no surprise that when Bill and Jimmy set out to reconfigure that early soundtrack into a release that could sell by the millions, they chose to scuttle that particular track.

    Harder to understand, however, is why they decided to retain parts of it, converting it into a one-hundred-second segue that preserves some of the girls' vocals, largely a capella, as a kind of extended intro to "Last Train to Trancentral". It's rather a waste of needle-time in this form, not a complete song and not a believable continuation of the "live concert" theme of side A of the album.

    Last Train to Trancentral (LP mix) (★★★★★): The third part of the "Stadium House Trio" is, of course, the "Live from the Lost Continent" version of this particular constantly-mutating song. And while American and Japanese purchasers of the album did indeed get that hit version, in the UK the single came out after the album did, and the version on the album is extremely different to that one.

    You might think, superficially, that this version, with rapped verses by Ricardo La Force and sung choruses by Black Steel, both unique to this album version, would fit into the "Stadium House" trilogy better than the mostly wordless single, but in fact this version is significantly more mellow and deeper than the frantic single. More importantly, this version retains some of the mystery and strangeness of the highly unconventional "Pure Trance" original version - or, indeed, of the almost-a-different-song "Go to Sleep", from the 1989 soundtrack. The kick-drum-heavy drum line is reminiscent of earlier versions, and the track builds and falls step by step, unlike the more relentless single. Black Steel's choruses tell the story of a train journey while keeping alive the KLF mythology. Ricardo's verses, while steeped in rap tradition, also evoke the sense of mystery, of a journey into the unknown. The apparent purpose of this track is to bridge the uptempo a-side with the mellow b-side, and given the varied versions of this song out there (and this version's non-appearance on major label releases), it's easy to overlook this recording, despite it actually being the second-longest track on the album. It deserves better, though. It's an album highlight.

    Build a Fire (★★★★★): The movie soundtrack featured a much busier, pop or "dancey" version of this particular track, with an active drum track keeping the song midtempo, while a harmonica and "Evil" Graham Lee's steel guitar conspire to give the track a country-and-western mood, or more precisely a bit of the feel of Ennio Morricone's spaghetti-western soundtracks (or indeed the feel of Lee Marvin's "Wanderin' Star", which is mentioned in the lyrics). Certainly they envisioned their road movie, filmed in Spain, as something in the tradition of those European Americophilic film classics. The lyrics - significantly longer on the soundtrack, with an extra verse and an extra bridge cut out of the final version - attest to the song's role as (song which advances the plot), with Drummond intoning a series of not-especially-meaningful lines describing his and Cauty's activities somewhere out there on the road.

    Turns out it takes more than a harmonica and a steel guitar to make a song truly Morriconesque. No matter; in the two years that passed between the completion of the original White Room soundtrack and the ultimate album release, another singular musical visionary with an Italian name had come along to score a uniquely American Western project: namely, Angelo Badalamenti and David Lynch's Twin Peaks, whose distinctive soundtrack "Build a Fire" both samples and apes. Stripping away much of the song's excess and replacing it with a wide-as-the-sunset synth pad over which Badalamenti's famous bass line takes the song at a glacial pace, Drummond and Cauty finally find the filmic atmosphere at the song's heart. The first track on the less frantic side two of the album, this track is as spare as anything on Chill Out and Space, even as Maxine Harvey wails and Bill Drummond intones.

    Drummond? Yes indeed; for the first time on the album, and for the first time since the "Kylie Said to Jason" single (if you except the six words he says on "Last Train to Trancentral"), Drummond features again on vocals on a KLF song. It's the same vocal performance that's been sitting on the shelf for two years, but all the same, here it is, one of two lead vocals from Drummond on this album. His Scottish accent is as thick as it's ever been, his performance deliberate and precisely enunciated. He speaks instead of sings, as he did on "Kylie Said to Jason". He's certainly no detriment at all to this song. People envisioning the KLF as a "crew" must at this point have been mightily confused.

    The White Room (★★★★): The title track of the KLF's biggest-budget album, the title track of the KLF's would-be filmic debut and years-in-the-making white whale, you'd figure this track would be a major accomplishment, a career-defining statement of purpose. But, as much as any other track here, it's "just another song". Not major, couldn't have been a single, but not bad. Perhaps its place in the movie might have justified its status as the title track. Frankly, it's not changed very greatly from the OST version, and it features many of the same elements as the version of "3 a.m. Eternal" that would have featured there: a kind of chanted, hymnal feel, gospelizations by Maxine Harvey, and prominent clarinet lines by Duy Khiem - who at this point in the KLF's career was their oldest collaborator, stretching all the way back to the debut.

    I mean, what 1991 acid house album didn't feature a clarinet, right? While the drumbeat is quite active, this is really nothing like 1991 contemporary dancefloor filler. Black Steel shows up for his first of three consecutive tracks, adding a bit of scatted babble here and there, a kind of flavouring. Bill Drummond shows up vocally for his second of two consecutive tracks, serving the same purpose: a kind of narrator, declaiming the rhymes like a poet, not a singer, in a soft expressionless voice bathed in reverb.

    No More Tears (★★★½): The climax of the album is this decent if overlong track, a midtempo reggae groove largely the creation of Black Steel, who provides vocals, bass guitar and piano. "Vocals" in this case refers presumably to two or three different things: first is the pretty "sunshine" melody which, in the soundtrack original, was sung by a group of schoolchildren (spun out here to multiple verses). Second must be the several minutes of improvisations seemingly built around the phrases "skinny boy" and "skinny man" (though maybe that's just in my head), and perhaps the ululations that show up from time to time are his work as well. Musically, the bassline is clear as a bell throughout, and Black Steel's piano improvisations are quite nice when they show up late into this track. On the standard UK release, it's a rather unexpected nine and a half minutes in duration - longer than any single piece they had put out so far (depending how you divide up the ambient house releases). Much of what got cut out internationally consists of these piano improvisations.

    Maxine Harvey's beautiful singing of the chorus remains from the soundtrack original, and some trumpet sampled from King Tubby give the song a clear majesty, but the simple truth is that this song is way too long and really does not justify its length. Black Steel's boing-boing vocalisations get tiring after a certain point, and the song has frankly said all it's going to say by about the three-minute point. It starts to feel like the song just keeps going on really just for the sake of doing so, as if the KLF had decided to cut three songs from the original version of the album and only had two to replace them, so they needed to run down the clock. Certainly you can argue track length on dance tracks as much as you'd like, given the utility of length when a song is tailored for the dance floor, but this midtempo skank is more head-bobbing music than ****-shaking music.

    I suppose Arista agreed, perhaps unfairly shaving a whole three minutes - time enough to include a tenth track, though they didn't, from this song for American release.

    I wouldn't expect many people to agree with me - and it's no offence intended to the obviously very talented Black Steel - but I'd consider this the one song where I distinctly prefer the similarly reggae-like soundtrack original, with its Drummond vocalisations and bonkers kid's choir, to the remake.

    Justified and Ancient (★★★★½): Bringing the whole thing full-circle, the final track on the KLF's final album is a version of the first track on the first album, which then was called "Hey Hey We are Not the Monkees". The second half of that song was a kind of vague exercise in mythmaking based on the Justified Ancients of Mu Mu appellation they were at the time using. The original, nearly a capella, lines were sung by Jimmy's wife Cressida and Jimmy's former bandmate June Montana, and they showed up on Chill Out as well (already rechristened with this new name). On The White Room, the original verse is kept intact, and a second one is added with more explicit mythologising (naming Cauty and Drummond by their original jokey pseudonyms). There is no chorus.

    This is, of course, the song that was soon to be, in the hands of Tammy Wynette, another of those live-in-infamy moments for the KLF. This album version, though, is completely different from that eventual single. Black Steel sings and plays bass and piano - making this pretty close to a Black Steel solo track - while an ice-cream-van-style imitation celesta and a light-footed drumbeat bring this somewhere close to nursery-rhyme land. That may be tough to believe, but it's true; this is definitely the one KLF song you could most readily play for children, despite its rather bizarre lyrics. It's all down to Black Steel, secret star of side two, who keeps the scat-singing to a minimum and mostly goes for a pleasantly emotive tenor recitation of the song. The melody is, as always, gorgeous; it was perhaps the most melodic moment on 1987, and all these years later, it still shines. It's got absolutely nothing to do with house, or stadium house, or top-40 pop, or much of anything, really.

    And, of course, this version confounded people who saw the name on the tracklisting and expected Tammy Wynette. Americans were treated to an extra fifteen seconds of wind noises at the end of this track. Because that compensates for all the changes Arista implemented.
  7. Paul King

    Paul King Spy In The Wires

    QUOTE - "A beeping noise that, in the video, appears to simulate a telephone or walkie-talkie provides the song with an earworm of a hook."

    Cabaret Voltaire connection: the bleeps are actually a sample of Testfour by Sweet Exorcist - a collaboration of DJ Parrot and Richard H Kirk.

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  8. bunglejerry

    bunglejerry Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Wow, eternally fascinating. That seems to be only the third release on Warp Records - and how much does it mess with your sense of chronology to think of the KLF sampling from Warp Records? Pretty excellent tune too. Thanks for pointing it out.

    Also a pre-fame Jarvis Cocker (who recently sang "Justified and Ancient" at a KLF event) apparently directed the video.
  9. -------------------------------------------
    The White Room album (1991)
    Where to begin with the White Room…

    There’s no doubt that this release is a slight disappointment, initially due to the perverse choice of track versions that appeared on the UK album. These issues were then compounded by the botched US/international mix, which is presumably the most well-known version since the UK release has been deleted for 23 years!

    Having read Ian Shirley’s Turn Up the Strobe, it’s clear that Bill and Jimmy were desperate to get some product onto the shelves after 3AM became a megahit. There followed a period of (even more) frenzied activity to finish some of the tunes from the abandoned White Room Soundtracks, with work on the LTTT single occurring concurrently. So basically the final White Room release, 2 years in the making, was rushed.

    Now the concept itself was good – one “live” stadium house side and one chilled-out dub side. The execution was just a little off…

    Firstly that intro. I actually like it. It’s confounding in the best KLF style, introduces the boys and provide thematic continuity with the last track on the album. It’s a great moment when the Mu Mus burst through the haze. Though I imagine the album was switched-off before this point by many an inpatient listener.

    The version of WTIL that eventually arrives is fine, though perhaps not optimal (12" would've been good, though MC5 would have to be stripped-out for commercial reasons). The CD singles were easy to come by in those days, so no biggie.

    Make It Rain brings the tempo down. As Bunglejerry noted, unusually placed in second position. It's stripped-down and slightly out of place here, sounding like a demo compared to the jam-packed Stadium House mixes. Perhaps not bad thing, but a bit too soon in the journey.

    Which brings me to the other issue I have. Whilst I’m sure Maxine Harvey’s a lovely person, her vocals do have that “rent-a-diva” quality that permeated dance music around this time. This is fine where the track is really strong and/or bursting with other sounds, but it doesn’t work so well when she has to carry the tune herself (e.g. Make it Rain, Church, the chorus of Build a Fire, White Room and No More Tears i.e. most of the tracks!). Re-recorded with a better vocalist(s) – or perhaps a choir? – and the tunes could be improved markedly – IMHO of course.

    Anyway, the version of 3AM is the correct one (7”) and I enjoy the transition into Church and LTTT (album version). I’d never listen to Church in isolation, but it works OK as a build up to LTTT.

    Like many others I was vexed when the album mix of LTTT appeared (I don’t think the single was finished when it went to press, though I bought the WR later), but I’m now glad that this alternative and very different version was properly released. I think the “strings” section hits harder in this version than in any other. 5 stars for this unique and heavy sound.

    Side 2 is where things get really weird, no doubt confusing the hell out of listeners back in the day. Where’s the trance? Who’s the dour Scottish bloke rambling over the beats? Is that someone speaking in Mu Mu on the White Room intro? (Black Steel doing his best Eek-a-Mouse impression).

    Build a Fire is probably the best track – the steel guitar is brilliant, though see my issues with the chorus above. A bit more work could’ve turned this into an epic – perhaps introducing some beats a la the Lenny Dee remix? I digress.

    The White Room (track) is also pretty good and undeniably unique – dance beats, clarinets, gibberish, Scots poetry. Tantalising to think this (along with Make It Rain) was due to be remixed before their 1992 implosion.

    No More Tears is no ones favourite track. King Tubby sample is well done, but otherwise B-Side material – and no way is 9 minutes justified (or ancient). Props for Black Steel for pulling it all together though – good musicianship throughout.

    I enjoy the “music box” version of J+A more than most, though I expect most listeners were waiting for the Tammy version here – recorded later of course and available as bonus disc on some versions of the album.

    So, I’m rushing to my conclusion a bit, but another 3-6 months would’ve been required to create the classic that is undeniably buried in the White Room sessions. But I can fully understand the financial imperative for getting this thing out ASAP . It must have sold at least a million copies – probably more. Another 6 months would've been an eon in chart time and B+J had already moved-on by then...
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  10. Bolero

    Bolero Forum Resident

    I actually think the US release is stronger than the UK, from what I have heard so far

    it may also be because my ears are used to it...

    *edit* ( US versions!! ) "make it rain", "church of the KLF", "build a fire", and "no more tears" are bigtime faves for me. So I would have to disagree with you about Maxine Harvey's vocals. I think they are excellent.

    those are especially great driving tunes too

    -->I was definitely surprised by the mellow intro to the album, and almost switched it off :D

    and who the heck was that old Scottish dude rambling, and what was he rambling about??

    but after a couple listens I dug it
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  11. Dan Steely

    Dan Steely Never Gonna Do It Without The Fez On

    Just discovered this thread on sunday. I only own the 3 A.M. [S.S.L.] CD single and The White Room CD. But their story and discography is fascinating to say the least.

    I'm curious what comes next...
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  12. TheLazenby

    TheLazenby Forum Resident

    Well, technically "The Black Room", but the version of that album that circulates (and has since been released as a bootleg in a digipak cover) is so bare-bones and unfinished, it's not worth discussing, really..... only Extreme Noise Terror's rough instrumental backing tracks have been heard.
  13. bunglejerry

    bunglejerry Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Nah, it's four singles. Then over and out.

    I've been 95% finished "Last Train" for days now... I really should get off my butt.
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  14. Dan Steely

    Dan Steely Never Gonna Do It Without The Fez On

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  15. bunglejerry

    bunglejerry Forum Resident Thread Starter



    I couldn't give an obvious explanation (beyond "deliberate confusion for its own sake") of why, barely more than a month after the release of The White Room album, the KLF would put out a single version of that album's fifth track that... well, that bore no more than superficial similarity to the album version. Certainly a commercial instinct would lead them to follow the same route as their two previous singles, and despite a handful of significant differences, "Live from the Lost Continent" very much does take its place alongside its two predecessors as the third and final element of the "Stadium House" trilogy. But wouldn't the same commercial instinct cause them to, as the American and Japanese record companies did, put it on the album? Perhaps it's just that they had the completed album mix available and weren't sure what else to do with it.

    In any case, confusion reigns supreme, and here we are, with the third and final of the "Stadium House" trilogy. It's my personal opinion that this one is less awe-inspiring than the previous two singles and, in fact, lesser than the excellent album version. That certainly must be a minority view: while Cher's rather dreadful cover of "The Shoop Shoop Song" prevented it from becoming the KLF's third number one single, it did spend two weeks at #2.

    It didn't do much in the USA, perhaps because Arista weren't sure quite what to do with it, releasing a 12" that put "The Iron Horse" on the a-side, for example. It saw release in Australia and quite a few European markets but had nowhere near the global reach of "3 a.m. Eternal" or the yet-to-come Tammy Wynette version of "Justified and Ancient". In the UK, a 7", KLF 008, and a cassingle, KLF 008C, both featured the radio edit of "Lost Continent" with "The Iron Horse" on the b-side. The standard 12", KLF 008X, had the full-length "Lost Continent" with the same version of "The Iron Horse" on the b-side. KLF 008CD, a cd-single, had the same two tracks as the 7" with the "Pure Trance Original" tacked on (as was had been the case for each of the other two CD singles in the Stadium House trilogy). And finally, there was a second 12", KLF 008Y, titled "The KLF Meet the Moody Boys Uptown" (a joke based on the breakthrough dub classic "King Tubby Meets the Rockers Uptown" by Augustus Pablo), which contained the "808 Bass Version", the "120 Rock Steady" version, and "Mu D. Vari-Speed Version".

    Last Train to Trancentral (Live from the Lost Continent - radio) (★★★★): Just like the two singles that preceded it, "Last Train to Trancentral (Live from the Lost Continent)" is a frantic, relentless high-tempo number that uses simulated crowd noise to keep the excitement levels high. Oddly, while the previous two singles added rap verses to previous versions in order to court chart success, this does the exact opposite: where the album version has rapped verses by Ricardo La Force and sung choruses by Black Steel, this version mostly strips both out (leaving only Ricardo's hook "back to the heavyweight jam" and lines of declamation about the band itself: "this is what the KLF is all about", etc.), leaving something like an instrumental that is nonetheless filled with voices: giddy chants of "mu! mu!" and a train-like "whoo whoo!", a mail voice calling "all aboard, all aboard, woah", a robotic vocoder line announcing the name of the song and the previous name of the KLF, and good ol' Wanda Dee, once again sampled from the "To the Bone" single with the rather clear double-entendre "Come on boy, do you wanna ride?" superficially connected to the whole "train" theme. Scott Piering again introduces the song with the lines "ok everybody, lie down on the floor and keep calm" seemingly connected to crime and shootouts somehow.

    The end result is intriguing: a sort of deliberate collage of elements stitched together to make a song like a quilt. You could actually sit down with an acoustic guitar and "sing" this song, even though the vocals are all samples from here and there - the video presents just such a fiction as Ricardo, Black Steel and Wanda all run around miming their sampled and looped vocals like a live performance. However, the song is probably best considered alongside other sample-heavy instrumental tracks such as "Pump Up the Volume", the early works of Coldcut, or indeed "Doctorin' the Tardis".

    Elements of "Pure Trance" shine through, most notably that ornate synth intermission that seems to be a requisite part of all iterations of this song. There are certainly no sheep (one horse though!) - nothing that could add confusion or complexity to a simple headrush of a song. For the first time in quite a while, that classic house piano style even shows up here, all in the service of the groove. It's my personal opinion that it's a step down in genius from the first two Stadium House tracks, being significantly more pro forma and perhaps an example of diminished returns. It is, though, without a doubt a central part of the KLF's legacy. It's perhaps no surprise that when fellow oddballs the Blue Man Group needed an anthem to provide a finale to their shows, they settled on this track.

    Last Train to Trancentral (The Iron Horse) (★★★★): An "iron horse" is, of course, a train, though this version is peppered with the sounds of actual neighing and whinnying horses (alongside all kinds of other sound effects, including more ricocheting gunshots). Other than that, it's very much an "instrumental version" of a track that wasn't far off instrumental to begin with (the robotic voice reading the title remains, as does one or two calls of "all aboard, all aboard, whoa"). The rave sirens and the thicker sonic feel of this mix, to say nothing of the noticeably more prominent bassline, mark it as the "dancefloor" version of the song, the version they hoped to get club play with (and which appeared on the a-side of Arista's 12" release). It's not better than the a-side, though it can on occasion be a welcome relief from the more hyperactive a-side. As it stands, though, it's the only real remix of the "Lost Continent" version of this song, as the Moody Boys remixes get their inspiration more from earlier versions of the song.

    Last Train to Trancentral (Live from the Lost Continent) (★★★★): Just like with the first two "Stadium House" singles, the 12" version is presented as the "real" version and the 7" version as an edit of that. In this particular case, though, it feels like the opposite, that the longer version is an "extended remix" of the shorter one. Mostly it's accomplished by sticking instrumental passages here and there (the third quarter of the song, for instance, is entirely instrumental). It does what an "extended remix" is supposed to do, namely to make a good thing last a bit longer, and the extra minutes do give the song a bit more breathing room, but it is the radio edit of this song which is the purest distillation of it.

    Last Train to Trancentral (808 Bass Version) (★★★★½): A 17-second sample from the 1955 sci-fi movie This Island Earth starts off the Moody Boys single with, once again, a remix with minimal connection to the Stadium House version of the song in question. The active drum beat might contain elements generated on a Roland 808 Rhythm Machine, but the beat is primarily a sample, repeated with occasional breakdowns throughout the track. This gives the song a consistent groove over which to lay down a series of samples, prominent among which are: a squelchy synth that rises and falls about the span of an octave but doesn't manage to be especially musical, a bluesy harmonica performance sourced from God-knows-where, which has a significant role in the second half of the song, and the otherwise-unreleased chorus of "Go to Sleep", this track's great-grandmother, which must have confused punters when this single first came out (what sample have they found that fits so well with "Last Train"?) The "Last Train" synth fill makes is due appearance, and the phrase "heavyweight jam" shows up here and there to reinforce the relation of this song to the hit version. It's quite a decent remix, though nothing earth-shattering.

    Last Train to Trancentral (120 Rock Steady) (★★★½): Though the remix is 120 bpm, it certainly isn't any kind of rock steady music, making the title a bit random. It's a not overly different variant of the "808 Bass" remix; the beat is different, and perhaps a bit less robotic, but many of the elements are the same. This also takes from the unreleased "Go to Sleep", with not the Maxine Harvey vocals but the three-chord choral pad that underpins the chorus of that song a prominent element here. The only voices we hear, though, are a voice making the obvious train parallel with the phrase "all aboard!" and that "heavyweight jam" sample another 500 times or so. It starts with exactly the same movie quote as the other mix. A detuned metallic sound oscillates from ear to ear as a point of melodic interest. At one point, everything disappears into two seconds of dead silence. After six minutes, it fades out. This is all I can say about this unexceptional remix.

    Last Train to Trancentral (Mu-D. Vari-Speed Version) (★★½): Either an attempt to bring "Last Train to Trancentral" back to its Chill Out origins or just a tongue-in-cheek p*sstake, this deconstruction is more of an experiment or a joke than it is a listenable song. Like the KLF mix of the Pet Shop Boys' "It Must be Obvious", this is less of a remix of "Last Train" than it is an original sound collage into which elements of "Last Train" are dropped. Those train field recordings that appeared throughout Chill Out absolutely dominate this particular recording: it is fully ninety seconds into the track before we hear anything other than train noises, which continue more or less throughout. The sheep show up (because they have to, right?). Chunks of the "Pure Trance" version of "Last Train" are dropped in here or there, drastically pitch-shifting (inducing nausea, frankly). It seems as if the elements were fed into a sampler, after which Thorpe just played with a pitch-shifting wheel, but it could also have been accomplished with his hand on a turntable playing the "Pure Trance" version. To be charitable in interpretation, this might have been a reference to the pressing of "Pure Trance" that came back from the pressing plant warped and could not be sold. While this particular track was sold, it had no practical way to be used in any musical format - which must certainly have been the intent.

    The number of times that Drummond and Cauty were accused - by the press and others - of having a larf was always greatly in excess of the number of times they actually were. On this occasion, however, with Thorpe a willing accomplice, they quite obviously were.

    Last Train to Trancentral (Pure Trance Original) (★★★★½): Perhaps belatedly, the appearance of this more beatwise track on the CD single christens what had actually originally been the b-side of the "Pure Trance" single as the "pure trance original". Next to the chart-minded a-side, this original impulse is wonderfully strange, sounding like nothing else out there. It certainly must have confounded the KLF's new pop audience.

    Crumpled Enchanter and Bolero like this.
  16. bunglejerry

    bunglejerry Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Can anyone tell me about a 7" of "It's Grim Up North" with two unique edits of Part One (3:55) and of Part Two (3:37)? I imagine the former is different from the 4:04 radio edit on the CD single (and in the video). I don't have this, have never heard these songs, and can't find them on Youtube. Can anyone help a brother out?
  17. hutlock

    hutlock Forum Resident

    Cleveland, OH, USA
    LTTT is probably my favorite KLF tune (in as many different versions as there are) and the Meets the Moody Boyz Uptown 12" is probably my most played KLF item. Great write up. Gonna dig these all out tonight and soak in them...
  18. MikaelaArsenault

    MikaelaArsenault Forum Resident

    New Hampshire
    I want to find the original version of Justified And Ancient without Tammy Wynette.
  19. bunglejerry

    bunglejerry Forum Resident Thread Starter

    I feel bad for my lukewarm write-up!
  20. bunglejerry

    bunglejerry Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Well, the original original is at 2:51 here:

    But you might mean some other version. There are quite a few versions of this song.
    MikaelaArsenault likes this.
  21. MikaelaArsenault

    MikaelaArsenault Forum Resident

    New Hampshire
    What are the other versions?
  22. hutlock

    hutlock Forum Resident

    Cleveland, OH, USA
    Well it's clear I have far more admiration for the Mu-D version than you do anyway. Ha.
  23. Kit B

    Kit B New Member

    I've been popping in and loving this thread over the last two months, thrashing the relevant songs on my iPod as I read, and signed up just to reply.

    bunglejerry, here and earlier in the thread you seem to be under the impression that Tim is an alias of Gimpo: they're very definitely different people, and can be seen in the same shots in many of the Spin videos and stills.

    This has remained LX's role! The highly variant sound of The Orb depending on whether the second member is Jimmy, or Thrash, or Andy Hughes, or Thomas Fehlmann (et al) speaks to the fact that Alex has no real musical or technical ability at all. He does, however, obviously have some motivating factor, and ability to communicate his ideas, that makes the work he does with collaborators come out sounding like an Orb record, rather than their own material!

    I've seen various live versions of the Orb, and Alex DJing, on various occasions. Four years back, I was lucky to be in London for the 25th anniversary of Solid Steel party, which featured (in the second of three rooms) Coldcut and The Orb DJing together for the first time ever. This came in the wake of their reunion studio session, 21 years after their previous in-the-studio mix. After each member had taken turns (Alex's hour being mostly reggae), the Coldcut duo settled in together with Alex on a second set of decks -- from behind which he mostly stared grumpily across at them, eventually dropping in goofy samples and snatches of mersh 1970s country, that certainly did not enhance whatever vibes the other two were trying to build at the time. I gave up and went back to sampling the other two rooms.

    (ooh, I've just found the lineup:


    note that the DJ Food / Cheeba / Moneyshot section was a dancefloor-focussed reconstruction of the Beastie Boy's Paul's Boutique, using every record originally sampled for that album. Good night, tbh.)
  24. Great stuff as always BungleJerry.

    Perhaps more expansion on the Go To Sleep >>> Witchita >>> LTTT trajectory if planning to publish? I’m sure it’s covered elsewhere …

    I largely agree that LTTT is the runt of the Stadium House litter, though it is the track that got me into the band in the first place, partly due to the fantastic video. As a 10 year old, WTIL passed me by and, whilst I liked 3AM, I didn’t feel moved to dispense with my pocket money on it! LTTT on the other hand turned me into a lifelong fan…

    I believe the single version did not appear on the White Room as it wasn’t finished at the time. Work on tracks was frenzied at this point, with Benio full of collaborators adding the finishing touches to various tracks concurrently. It worked-out for the best overall because two distinct and equally good versions of LTTT were released contemporaneously. But I’m guessing many buyers were disappointed on playback, at least initially.
    bunglejerry likes this.
  25. Great to hear your take on it and glad you like Maxine's vocals!

    My problem with the US version is mainly the editing. The UK version uses segues and crowd noise to create a continuous piece of music - a stadium house concert Live from the SSL. For a variety of reasons (copyright concerns [crowd noise, Make It Rain) and newer versions (LTTT), plus some inexplicable changes such as the extra wind (J+A) and botched intro (WTIL)), this effect is inferior in the US/international release. For example, the transition from Church to LTTT is much better in the UK version - check out on YouTube if you're sufficiently interested.

    I think the bad US edits and removal of the crowd sounds is another indication that the release was rushed. Surely some non-descript and royalty-free crowd noise could've been found and inserted?

    But nonetheless great to enjoy for what it is.
    Bolero and c-eling like this.

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