The KLF

The KLF is one of many names Bill Drummond and James Cauty use, in their incessant quest to break paradigms and conventions. There wouldn’t be enough space in any media to talk – or write – enough about them so I won’t even try. I’ll stick to my story with this incredible art collective.

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In 1992 this local record shop started a sale on import cassette tapes, foreseeing its decline in popularity. I would save money all week, including walking home from school instead of taking the bus, so I could buy a tape every friday. The first one I bought was Joy Division Still. The second, Kraftwerk, The Mix. The third, KLF The White Room.

The whole record was sensational. It had dub, ambient, ravey-techno, rap and choir chants. It was really adicitive – it still is – but the reason it belongs to this collection isn’t the music, unfortunatelly. This tape’s liner notes, in the inlay, were incredible. The typography came from the same places I came, san serif, heavy black, swiss style. The way every musician was described as humourous and incredibly precise – saying for instance, who said which phrase or shout in the track, and the samples used – a first, so far. And at the very end, the blueprint for Shalalá Records…

Most people think Shalalá Records was inpired by Factory Records. But it wasn’t. Factory Records, to me, when I was a kid, was a established record label. This tape and its ‘previous album releases’ section made me wonder for a few years about the whole thing. It made me feel there was a connection, e.g, a band name like The Justified Ancients of Mu Mu, a sentence heard in several tracks of The White Room.  So all the bands in the KLF Communications label were, in fact, The KLF – and that was so exciting. They were the label, they did the artwork, the myth behind it, the story… This tape made all the McLuhan books I’ve read make sense and it still holds a special place in my collection.