The KLF encountered their fair share of copyright disputes over derivative works in the late ’80s and early ’90s – long before digital fingerprinting services made their brand of musical parody even harder to pull off. A standard rerelease of their 1990 ambient album, Chill Out, would therefore be out of the question in 2021. The U.K. electronic music duo have instead updated the effort as Come Down Dawn, scrubbing it of some of its more recognizable samples in the process.
The release follows January’s Solid State Logic 1 compilation, the long defunct duo’s first appearance on streaming platforms since they disbanded 29 years prior. Gone are samples by the likes of Fleetwood Mac, Van Halen, Elvis Presley and Boy George. In their place are “Evil Graham Lee on the pedal steel guitar, the Unknown Tuvan Shepherd on throat singing and the Reverend Doctor Wade on spiritual guidance,” according to a dubious description on their website.
Who Were The KLF?
The KLF (comprised of Bill Drummond and Jimmy Cauty) and were not only musicians virtually synonymous with the U.K. acid house era, they were also a veritable force of situationist performance art. Outside of songs interwoven with multigenerational pop music samples, they carried out stunts like firing blanks from machine guns at the 1992 BRIT Awards and burning £1 million on the Scottish island of Jura in 1994.
With their music reappearing as of late, so too has their absurdist art. A week after the release of Solid State Logic 1, Drummond and Cauty shared a documentary titled Welcome to the Dark Ages chronicling their quest to build a pyramid out of bricks containing cremated human remains.
Come Down Dawn is the second installment of a five-part series called SAMPLECITY THRU TRANCECENTRAL, according to The KLF’s website. The remaining releases will go by the titles Kick Out The JAMs, Pure Trance Series and Moody Boys Selection.