As The KLF, British artists Jimmy Cauty and Bill Drummond scored a series of worldwide hits thirty years ago with a mix of house, samples, rap and mysticism, including What Time Is Love? and 3AM Eternal. In the Netherlands the KLF reached the number 1 position in 1990 with Last Train to Trancentral.
The KLF’s music had not been officially available since 1992, after Cauty and Drummond turned their backs on the music industry. No official KLF releases could be found on streaming services. Uploads of old clips by YouTube users collectively reached tens of millions of views.
Drummond and Cauty thus deliberately missed out on large sums of money. The US Billboard named The KLF among “the eight biggest acts that cannot be found on streaming services.”
Posters under a railway bridge
Last night the KLF album ‘Solid State Logik 1’ with eight old songs was released on all major music services. Eight remastered video clips can be viewed on a YouTube channel, the music of which is provided with the official licenses. Soon four more KLF albums with old tracks and ‘bonus material’ would follow.
This has been announced on posters with the KLF logo (a pyramid with speakers) hung under a railway bridge in London, next to graffiti referring to the KLF. Drummond and Cauty have not responded. An Instagram photo of Cauty’s girlfriend shows how the graffiti is applied. The art collective that Cauty is affiliated with has confirmed the streaming album.
£ 1 million burned
After the KLF era, Drummond and Cauty drew attention with a controversial art project in which they burned 1 million British pounds. Images of Drummond and Cauty throwing banknotes into the fire for an hour were shown as a film in the UK, followed by discussions with the audience. In 2017, the duo returned after 23 years of media silence with a novel about the year 2023 and a three-day art event.
ABBA samples and Paradiso rel
The collaboration between Cauty and Drummond started exactly 34 years ago. An album with samples and rap was released under the name The Justified Ancients Of Mu Mu. The album was banned because too large parts of ABBA’s Dancing Queen could be heard as samples. In protest, Cauty and Drummond burned the entire stock of the album on a meadow in Sweden.
As The Timelords, the duo then scored their first number 1 hit in 1998, a song inspired by the TV series Doctor Who, followed by a guide on ‘how to score a number 1 hit’. Under the name The KLF, the deed was put to the word: The KLF sold the most singles of all music acts in 1991.
One of the few live shows of The KLF was in 1990 in Paradiso in Amsterdam and caused quite a stir. Drummond and Cauty gave their hit song What Time Is Love? all instruments and equipment on stage to the audience, after which they left the stage again. However, the equipment was from Paradiso itself.
The latest joint project by Drummond (67) and Cauty (64) is The People’s Pyramid: a pyramid with more than 34,000 stones to be built in Liverpool in memory of the same number of people. Each stone (for sale for 99 British pounds) contains 23 grams of ashes from a cremated person. Last year, more than 500 of the stones had already been sold.
The duo expect it could take 300 years for the pyramid to be completed. Cauty in 2019: “It may sound like a joke, but this is a serious project for the very long term.”