mercredi 21 avril 2010

The KLF, To the north pole with the king of imaginary pop

The creative partnership of Bill Drummond (alias King Boy D, Time Boy) and
Jimmy Cauty (alias Rockman Rock, Lord Rock), mainly appreciated for their
ground breaking dance music from 1987-92, under the names 'The Justified
Ancients of Mu Mu' ('The JAMs'), 'The Timelords', 'The Kopyright Liberation
Front' ('The KLF'), 'The Forever Ancients Liberation Loophole' ('The FALL'),
and post-1992 as 'The K Foundation' and 'The One World Orchestra'. They have
also produced other groups, including their sometime backing singers 'Disco
2000', and re-mixed tracks by 'Depeche Mode' and 'The Pet Shop Boys'. Cauty
was also a founder member of 'The Orb' which he left, taking some tracks
with him which were released under the name 'Space'. After producing
critically acclaimed work, utilising cheap sampling technology to its
fullest, yet not selling many records (albeit interrupted by a freak novelty
world-wide No. 1), they finally found fame in the emerging UK rave scene,
and released a string of world-wide hit singles in the 90's, selling more
singles than any other band in 1991.

They have also branched out into other forms: they published a book 'The
Manual' and planned but never published at least two others and a graphic
novel, filmed a motion picture 'The White Room' which has yet to be shown,
released an 'ambient video' and planned at least two art exhibitions but
never staged them. They are also infamous for various anarchic situationist
'pranks' or 'happenings' which include billboard defacements, a crop circle
hoax, a pagan midsummer's ritual ('The Rites Of Mu', see question 4.002), a
BRIT Awards protest involving a dead sheep and buckets of blood (see 4.004),
a string of strange full-page mainstream press adverts, staging an
alternative art award for the worst artist of the year (see 4.005), and they
also burned a MILLION POUNDS (see 4.006) and subsequently toured the film of
the burning round the U.K. Bearing in mind the wilfully perverse way they
conducted their career, the group they share the most comparisons with would
probably be The Residents.

But what are the KLF about? One may well ask. This author believes that this
is no easy question and any answer he can give will be far too simplistic
for what is a very complex concept. On one level the KLF was about a duo of
music business veterans who initially used their knowledge and experience to
utilise cheap sampling technology later leading to commercial success and
acclaim. But then they also conducted this part of their careers in such a
way that it challenged the traditional models of the music-business, and
even rebelled against them. To anyone wanting more, this author can only
suggest they read ALL the material in this FAQ, and examine the WHOLE of the
ftp archive and ALL other related literature and material (including the
music itself) and then come to their own conclusions.

The letters 'KLF' stood for many things, which changed many times throughout
their life-span. The first documented occurrence is in 1987, when the
moniker 'Kopyright Liberation Front' was mentioned on their record
releases. But over the years up to the 1992 retirement, they always got
asked this question in interviews and were always making up new names. One
much-quoted line is "We're on a quest to find out what it means. When we
find out, we can stop what we're doing now." Various examples of these names
are: 'Kings of the Low(er) Frequency', 'Kool Low Frequency', 'Keep Looking
Forward', 'Kevin Likes Fruit' and so on, but the usually accepted definition
is 'The Kopyright Liberation Front'. [Nb. this has 24 letters, but if you
spell it Kopyrite, then there's 23!!]

The next question is how did this name come about. The Justified Ancients of
Mu Mu came from the Illuminatus books, and possibly to some extent the name
KLF was influenced by these as well. Over recent years there've been a
number of organisations using an acronym ending -Liberation Front. In the
1960's was the NLF - National Liberation Front - the North Vietnamese
resistance to the USA supported by 'hippies' in the US. In the 1980's was
the ALF - Animal Liberation Front - British radicals who became famous for
freeing animals from experimental labs. There's also the Kasmiri Liberation
Front. Then in Illuminatus! there's the ELF - Erisian Liberation Front -
leading the forces of chaos against order. So it could follow that for
sampling in the 80's and 90's there's the KLF - Kopyright Liberation Front -
Freeing Mu(sic) from copyright laws and using past sounds as much as you
want. There are many other ..LF's too, but I reckon those are the important
ones that led to Bill'n'Jimi choosing the name KLF.

Finally, Jamm!n adds: why Kopyright in KLF was spelt with a K... Well, there
are three reasons I can think of, all/some/none of which may relate to the
real reasons:
1. CLF sounds considerably less cool.
2. The letter K has many mystical connections. Too many to list here, but it
is linked to certain grams in I Ching and Tarot amongst others. KLF aren't
the only band to spot this; for example mystic-guru-wannabes Kula Shaker
with their album "K". "K" was also the letter used to mark barrels of the
strongest brewed drink available, and hence is now the brand name of an 8.4%
abv cider. Decide the relevance of that for yourself.
3. Kopyright has been used in Discordian circles for some time to draw
attention to the complete absence of Copyright. The standard rubric is
something like:
Kopyright (k) 3163 Gold & Appel Transfers, Inc.
All rites reversed. Reprint what you like.
The use of K here of course has the additional relevance that it is the
first letter of kallisti, and hence a common Erisian symbol is the golden
apple with just a K on it. >>> bad wisdom
>>> Kalevala records

le faux site du faux label finlandais (la "bande son" du bouquin Bad Wisdom):

la "discographie" du faux label:

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