The KLF - Solid State Logik 1 Music Album Reviews

The KLF - Solid State Logik 1 Music Album Reviews
Finally available on streaming services, the UK art-pop pranksters’ throwback rave anthems, jock-jam singalongs, and mischievous myth-making prove as enduring as they are audacious.

To be a follower of the KLF is to be a scholar, an acolyte, a digital monk treating zip files like illuminated manuscripts. Trawling forums and message boards for shards of the apocryphal mythos, sifting through various international versions of The White Room and multiple mixes of “3 A.M. Eternal,” finding hidden resonance in the absurdist symbolism of the number 23 or the sudden appearance of ice cream vans. KLF fandom is a secret language and a circle of rituals, intensely ironic but also deadly serious, like the music of Bill Drummond and Jimmy Cauty itself.
This year opened, entirely unexpectedly, with the quiet release of Solid State Logik 1, a compilation of the KLF’s most heavyweight jams—an unexpected move from the group that fired blanks into the crowd at the 1992 BRIT Awards and then deleted their catalog. Drummond and Cauty have poked their heads out at various points over the years, most recently in 2017, to pay some kind of respect to the 23rd anniversary of their infamous ritual burning of a million pounds. But this wasn’t some Glastonbury cash-in reunion set; the K Foundation returned as a literal undertaking business, selling a “MuMufication” package to their devotees. For £99, you can purchase a custom-fired brick, which contains a slot for you to insert 23 grams of your ashes upon death; post-mortem, your brick will be joined together forever with other justified, ancient, and hopeful KLF fans in a “People’s Pyramid,” a bizarre but bittersweet literalization of how deeply music can shape one’s personal identity and relationships. Though music streaming might seem antithetical to the KLF’s anti-establishment mentality, the Solid State Logik compilation serves as a pyramid of its own, a step at preserving their paradigm-shifting experiments for the future.

Drummond and Cauty began gaining notoriety in 1987 with a series of releases as the Justified Ancients of Mu Mu: bootleg hip-house records featuring Scottish-accented shout-raps atop extended, unauthorized interpolations of songs by ABBA, the MC5, and Whitney Houston, among others. But the KLF (allegedly short for “Kopyright Liberation Front”) quickly achieved crossover success as the Timelords, with an unabashed, unapologetic novelty. “Doctorin’ the Tardis” audaciously pasted together the Doctor Who theme and the pounding jock-jam beat of Gary Glitter’s “Rock & Roll, Part 2”—with a football chant thrown in for good measure, in case the masses didn’t dig it enough. Despised by the serious press, adored by pop audiences, the Timelords hit No. 1, then infamously wrote a how-to guide for others looking to mechanically engineer chart hits. With an iconography pilfered from Robert Anton Wilson’s Illuminatus Trilogy, Drummond and Cauty set out to blow up the British pop-music industry from the inside, then withdrew—whether forever or for their promised 23 years remained to be seen. Everything else that followed has only contributed to the legend.

Most of the KLF’s body of work is centered around four pillars: “What Time Is Love?,“3 A.M. Eternal,” “Last Train to Trancentral,” and “Justified and Ancient,” each of which exist in various iterations, ranging from marginally different mixes to almost unrecognizable reinterpretations. Though the KLF were criticized in some corners for their creative recycling and meta-plagiarism, habitually releasing different versions of the same product, this kind of self-reference is maybe their most divinely inspired creative instinct. In some ways it mimics another three-named, post-hippie sci-fi writer: Philip K. Dick, who in his mammoth The Exegesis of Philip K. Dick reread and reinterpreted his own work with a Talmudic thoroughness, turning to his own writing for higher meaning as others might to scripture. By repeating and reworking sonic symbols and lyrical themes, the KLF constructed what sometimes truly feels like a religion: a cultish, albeit still tongue-in-cheek, worldview, with a body of psalms sung a little bit differently every service, and two pop prophets at the helm who ask you to follow them with faith into the darkness of the rave.

“Last Train To Trancentral - Live From The Lost Continent” is among their most euphoric and ascendant recordings—“what KLF is about,” as the song’s opening line states bluntly. It’s a bullet express direct from the future, a symphony of jangly breakbeats, blissful piano lines, robot voices, church bells, and train whistles. More than any of their other songs, “Trancentral” both sums up the era of its production and transcends it.

Compared to the hi-NRG of “What Time Is Love? - Live at Trancentral,” “America: What Time is Love?” is utter cacophony. It’s a century of American cultural imperialism on fast-forward, suturing together The Wizard of Oz, “Aquarius” from Hair, and the big riff from “Ace of Spades”—a comic-book montage that draws the line from John Philip Sousa marches to hair-metal guitars, all while Glenn Hughes of Deep Purple demands a pound of your sweat. “America: What Time Is Love?” expresses the same perverse fascination with mass-produced Americana as the more respectable but equally sample-heavy Chill Out, just accelerated to hell, pedal to the floor of the ice-cream van, stove turned all the way up.

The KLF only existed at extremes: chilled out or hyped up, jokingly cynical or politically serious. Even if to differing sonic ends, the duo’s ambient designs and sound-collage stadium house are built on the same principles of literal and figurative sampling, and exhibit a similar interest in the crass mass culture America has exported to the world. The closest American analogue to Drummond and Cauty’s worldview might be David Byrne, who is similarly awed and repulsed by commercial culture. The KLF are clearly having a laugh at the Top 40’s expense, but their fondness for Tammy Wynette is no joke.

Maybe the KLF’s most straight-up, stripped-down dancefloor cut is “It’s Grim Up North,” which indicates the more dour direction they might have been headed in, channeling the oxidized futurism of Northern England’s bleep-techno scene as Drummond bitterly rattles off the names of cities and townships in the region. Beyond this, Solid State Logik 1 holds particular interest for the evidence it contains of the KLF’s unrealized metal opus, The Black Room—described at various points in the early 1990s as “the complete yang to the yin of The White Room,” “electro turbo metal,” and like “Megadeth with drum machines.” The compilation closes, as is only appropriate, with a studio recording of the startling grindcore version of “3 A.M. Eternal” performed with Extreme Noise Terror as part of their piss-off to the music industry. It’s straight-up high-powered hardcore punk—completely new ground for the KLF, but for some wiry glitches and Drummond’s distinctive voice buried in the mix, and another curious hint at what rooms might have lain ahead.

But maybe, in some ways, it’s good that the KLF burned themselves to a crisp instead of fading away—they gave us a true machine-gun blast of creativity, like the Beatles’ brief decade but bolder and faster, before building their own wicker man and taking a flamethrower to it. These songs throw every musical idea at the wall, along with decades of pop-culture ephemera, and somehow it all sticks. It would have been entirely possible for the KLF to coast along on the merits of their public antics or imaginative music videos, but the singles themselves are undeniable gold. Though this compilation revisits their biggest hits in newly monetized form, finally giving in to the exigencies of the modern music business, the hymns of the Mu Mus will always belong more to the choir of believers who sing them than the music-industry televangelists who sell them.
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About Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera

Hey, I'm Perera! I will try to give you technology reviews(mobile,gadgets,smart watch & other technology things), Automobiles, News and entertainment for built up your knowledge.
The KLF - Solid State Logik 1 Music Album Reviews The KLF - Solid State Logik 1 Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on January 30, 2021 Rating: 5


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