Time is Running In

On January 5th, a mysterious poster appeared in London, the same day as its website, k2planthireltd.com.

poster-one

The poster announced the end of the 23-year hiatus, (the number 23 having played a critical role in many of the KLF’s works as they relate to the 23-enigma of the Illuminati). This postponement of the K-Foundation was ceremoniously implemented by the duo signing an infamous contract in gold pen across the windscreen of a Nissan Bluebird November 5th, 1995 and the deal was sealed with the act of pushing the Bluebird off a 120-foot cliff at Cape Wrath. 23 years was intended to ‘provide opportunity of sufficient length for an accurate and appropriately executed response to their burning of a million quid’.  

Further investigation into this exciting new announcement led me to an even more mysterious YouTube account, user WGU 18G, which has been posting cryptic new KLF content since January 1st, when they uploaded a 46-minute video puzzle dubbed, “KLF 01 01 2017 WTF FOUND VHS.” Tiny video fragments were posted in the first 23 days of 2017, each a mash up of pop culture film footage recut to speak words like, “KLF” and “Justified Ancients” and “MuMu”. Mixed in are footage of Robert Anton Wilson, the Kennedy assassination, other Illuminati symbology, BBC educational film reels, and fraction-of-a-second long superimposed elements intended to reveal pieces of the puzzle… or to lead the viewer entirely off the scent.

And on January 7th, Instagram user @followersofmu uploaded this addition to the mystery:

screenshot-from-2017-01-23-23-11-40

And today – the 23rd of January brings all of this news serendipitously to my attention on the very day my copy of my literary white whale – The KLF’s THE MANUAL arrived at my door from Germany.

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A week ago I decided that it would be foolish to let any more months pass, permitting the few remaining copies of this massive text listed for sale to be snatched up by other collectors. I quickly purchased a copy of the second (and final) edition but was disappointed to see that the giant oversize MANUAL had been reduced to a minute handbook for its reprint and that the author and title were changed to a less-impressive re-wording, (see below).

the-klf-the-manual-1989-second-edition

Within moments, I located a first edition copy in outstanding condition for only $30 more, which made my decision a no-brainer. In minutes, I’d canceled my order and secured an original for my library.

For those unfamiliar with THE MANUAL, it was published in 1988 and dubbed, “THE MAJESTIC INSIDE STORY OF HOW TO MANIPULATE THE POP MUSIC WORLD.” The book instructs the reader to quit whatever band they’ll in, sell all their gear, buy the top pop singles of the day, sample them, have a number 1 hit, and be forgotten by lunchtime. The book promises that if you’ve followed their instructions and don’t make it to number one, that they’ll refund your purchase.

The first printing of the book is credited to The Timelords, as Cauty and Drummond had just successfully implemented their guide and made it to number one under that moniker with the ridiculous hit, “Doctorin’ the Tardis.” And they were right – just as THE MANUAL instructs, the track liberally samples the theme music from Doctor Who, Gary Glitter’s “Rock and Roll (Part Two)”, sections from “Blockbuster!” by Sweet and “Let’s Get Together Tonite” by Steve Walsh, and neither member of the duo played a single note on the track. Critics hated it. The song was shite. But it made it to number one.

In the years since the abandonment of the K Foundation, Drummond and Cauty have done some fantastic work. Bill Drummond created The 17 and published a book of its collected writings. Graffiti appeared in Derby with messages like this:

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And soon thereafter, a series of posters were created to convey the concept of The 17.

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Meanwhile, Cauty continued his anarchistic art, most recently with a touring art installation dubbed The Aftermath Dislocation Principle (ADP) Riot Tour. ADP is a massive graffiti-covered shipping container with small lenses positioned around its perimeter which grant observers a glimpse into a post-riot dystopian miniature city contained within. Spectators can see flashing lights, police blockades, and the remains of a city torn asunder accompanied by the faint sound of police radio signals from inside the container. The installation toured in from April to December of 2016 and was featured as part of Banksy’s Dismaland. ADP Riot was a larger scale implementation of the theme Cauty explored in 2011 with A Riot in a Jam Jar.

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But all of this – the zenarchistic mythos of the KLF, the Manual, the burning of a million pounds at Jura, their art and music… and 23 years of contractual silence… has led to their return in 2017.

Time is running in.

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UPDATE 01-24-17: Information from some additional sources appear to dispell the cryptic rumours outlined above. First, on January 5th, The Guardian published an article titled, The KLF are back (sort of) – and it’s exactly what 2017 needs containing the following statement:

News of the comeback centred on a mediocre YouTube collage featuring the duo’s previous videos, which turned out to be something someone had compiled for a 2015 book talk. Drummond himself rained on the whole parade, saying: “Jimmy and I have always remained very close but we have no plans to reform the KLF or exploit our back catalogue in any way.”

His quote, it turns out, was a feat of semantic nuance. Within 24 hours, a photograph of a chanced-upon bill poster appeared on social media, confirming that the Justified Ancients of Mu Mu (not the KLF) were working on new material (rather than exploiting their back catalogue), and that it would be unveiled on 23 August.

Cauty tweeted confirmation of this new material shortly thereafter.

And on 01-17-17, KLF.de posted the following notice:

In the aftershock of this month’s announcement some publications were fast on turning excitement into exaggeration, so we thought it necessary to point out some facts or, at the very least, debunk some rumours.

  1. The KLF have not announced their return.
  2. At this point no music releases have been teased, be it reissues or freshly recorded material.
  3. There will be no new Jimmy/Alex collaboration. This particular rumour came from a news page which took the then slightly dated Positive Void website for the official K2 Plant Hire Ltd. homepage.

At this point the only official information is that The Justified Ancients Of Mu Mu are gonna unveil their sculpture The Twenty-Three Year Moratorium on August 23rd as announced via the K2 Plant Hire poster and the liner notes from Bill Drummond’s “Imagine…” DVD.

In the meantime, everybody lie down on the floor and keep calm.

So for now, we’re just Waiting.

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Psychedelic Sunday

I had a fantastic day antiquing with friends today!

You come across some unique characters at flea markets and antique shows and today I learned that the man I always see with a table full of archived science fiction radio broadcasts is a good friend of Mark Evanier and has personally met Sergio Aragones on numerous occasions!  This man has encyclopedic knowledge of all his archived programs including all 26 seasons of Doctor Who.  When I asked him if he had any of the rare merchandise of the 1960s The Prisoner series, he smiled and replied, “you mean the three paperbacks?  No… but the third one is the best.”  This blew my mind because few Americans I’ve met have heard of The Prisoner, let alone read the books.

But on to the records of the day…

A sealed limited edition colored vinyl landed on my doorstep last night.  After verifying the catalog number I promptly re-sealed the packaging and shelved it away until the end of June.  It’s going to be a little birthday gift to myself.   Stay tuned for my birthday post where I’ll unveil the album.

The first table I hit at the antique market was a routine stop, and this time I found not one but two Miles Davis LPs from his electric period.

The first, Big Fun is one I’d seen at the local annual record show just a week prior.  The copy at the show was $30 so I couldn’t pass up the double-LP for the $4 it was marked this time around.  Big Fun is a collection of outtakes, but as a Miles Davis record even the outtakes shine.  The standout track is the 20 minute, “Great Expectations.”  The Allmusic guide calls it a disc for fans, because it fills in the puzzle of what was happening between 1969 and 1970.

I was delighted when I read the closing sentence of their review which stated that others should look to Bitches Brew, In A Silent Way, Jack Johnson, or Live Evil as starting points.  This rang especially true for me as my in-progress introduction to Davis followed that precise path of albums, with Live Evil as the next on my list.

Miles Davis - Big Fun

The other Miles Davis record was one I’d been eying at the market for the past 4 weeks and luckily, no one had purchased it.  A Tribute to Jack Johnson is a wonderfully funky album.  Herbie Hancock had been passing through the building where the jam session was taking place and ended up sitting in on the Hammond organ.  I later learned that the first twelve minutes of the second side revolves around a single bass riff lifted from James Brown’s “Say It Loud, I’m Black and I’m Proud.”

Before leaving the vendor’s booth, he noticed the album had a very minor seam split on one corner.  He taught me a great fix – you first place a 12″ fitted poly bag around the album jacket with the open end on the same edge as the open end of the jacket.  The tight fit holds the seam together rendering it unnoticeable and prevents further tearing.  You then slide it into a 12.5″ poly bag with the open end at the top of the album.  Finally, insert the disc and dust jacket vertically into the outer sleeve.  The disc can now be easily accessed and the album back cover is still visible.  Soon you’ll forget all about the seam split.  This is just one of the many reasons I love the markets I visit.

Miles Davis - Tribute to Jack Johnson

The cement statue vendor I was looking for was away for an estate sale this weekend, so I continued on to another booth where I found a table of LPs all in poly bags.  I instantly spotted Pink Floyd’s A Nice Pair which is a double album of their first two LPs.  The copy has the generic “dentist” sticker at the upper right instead of the original ” W. R. Phang’s dental surgery” photo, and the nude center image is covered by the round pink “A Nice Pair” sticker, so I believe this is the more common version of the disc.  Still, it is a temporary remedy for not owning a vinyl copy of “Piper…” so I picked it up.

I did however discover that there are a few differences in the audio between the original releases and the US pressings of A Nice Pair.  The most disappointing change is the substitution of the live version of “Astronomy Domine” from the Ummagumma LP instead of the original recording from Piper at the Gates of Dawn.  As that was one of the tracks I was most looking forward to, I will likely be putting this double LP up for sale once I secure an original pressing of their first album.

Pink Floyd - A Nice Pair

Pink Floyd – A Nice Pair (original cover uncensored)

Pink Floyd - A Nice Pair (Dentistry sticker)

Pink Floyd – A Nice Pair (Nude Sticker and Dentistry sticker)

I’ve also just ordered two Funkadelic recordings – one which has been missing from my P-Funk library for too long and the other will serve as a replacement for a copy I bought at a record show which has significant needle wear.

More to come, thanks so much for tuning in!

UPDATE: I made a few additional discoveries about the Miles Davis recordings which I would hate to leave out of this post.

In the year 2000, Columbia Records released a double CD version of Big Fun, catalog #C2K 63973.  This version featured four additional tracks which did not appear on any of the prior releases.  I researched the bonus tracks and discovered that originally appeared on the 1998 four CD set titled The Complete Bitches Brew Sessions (C4K 65570).

One of these tracks is a beautiful near-ambient piece titled, “Recollections” which nearly 20 minutes in length.  If you enjoyed a single moment of In a Silent Way, you should give this track a listen.

The other track I discovered is quite different from “Recollections.”   I had been further exploring Davis’ electric period and came upon a live album titled Agharta from 1975.  The lengthy opening track, titled “Prelude” was unlike anything I’d heard before.  The Allmusic Guide stated simply that Agharta is “the greatest electric funk-rock jazz record ever made — period.”

Turn your speakers up and check out Pete Cosey’s guitar solo.  Start viewing at the 7 minute mark of this clip.  During the next sixty seconds the band falls silent and Cosey goes absolutely wild.   Enjoy this outstanding minute of music.

I am already on the hunt for an original copy of Agharta.  I’ll keep you posted.

Thanks again!

Hardcore Jollies

Took another trip to the Super Flea today and found some great items!

I stopped by a pinball and arcade vendor I hadn’t seen before – he fully restores vintage gaming machines and builds custom mods.  He had an original Pac-Man machine and a few other Pac-related arcades that he had modified to play 40-60 games each.  After speaking with him I learned that these were not your typical MAME (multiple arcade machine emulator) cabinets – he actually installs the hardware for all 40 titles into one machine!

The coolest item in his booth was an original Doctor Who pinball machine, fully restored and looking brand new!

Dr Who Pinball Back Box

Dr Who Pinball Table

From there I made my way to a record vendor who I knew had a title I was looking for.  But I was surprised to find not one but eight original Parliament Funkadelic LPs.  They were stickered with outrageously high prices.  He was asking $65 for a VG condition copy of Gloryhallastoopid, which one can readily acquire for between $8 and $12.   I leveled with him and when he realized how well I knew my P-Funk history he conceded and let me name my price.

I walked away with Funkadelic’s Hardcore Jollies, which features wildly funky album art by the great Pedro Bell.

Hardcore Jollies
To date I’ve got 12 LPs from Parliament/Funkadelic/Bootsy’s Rubber Band.  I also have a few albums that Fred Wesley recorded with the Horny Horns around the same time they were performing with the PFunk.

Most likely the next related disc I’ll look for is “(I Wanna) Testify” – the hit single released by The Parliaments (George Clinton’s barbershop doo-wop group) in 1967.

For those who missed the Mothership Connection live in Houston Halloween night 1976, this is the most soulful moment of the show.  Watch the landing of the Mothership while Glen Goins takes us to church…

Published in: on January 30, 2011 at 10:41 pm  Comments (1)  
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