Anyone out there remember the KLF? Back in the early 90s, they more or less defined the pop-techno genre, bringing electronic beats to the masses by scoring several chart hits, most notably 3am Eternal. What you probably don’t know is that the KLF were really a duo of UK-based performance artists who experimented heavily with music and the nature of pop culture icons. They played around with sampling before most people even knew what it was and had all copies of their first album, 1987, destroyed (by court order) for sampling too many well-known pop songs. Their success was entirely accidental, and, having no desire to actually become pop stars, they announced (while on top of the charts) that they were leaving the music business and deleted their back-catalog. Several years later, under the name K-Foundation, they burned the last million pounds they had earned as the KLF. But they didn’t completely stop making music…
Under various aliases they’ve released a few singles here and there, but probably their best post-KLF work has been as the engineers of the Kalevala record label. In 1997, working with local artists in Finland, they produced and recorded six singles, only released on 7″ vinyl and limited to 500 copies. The music spanned genres from punk to surf to trip hop, with each record essentially sounding completely different (the only connective tissue was the use of Helsinki backup singers on nearly all the tracks, chanting in Finnish (naturally)). The music was brilliant and a full length CD containing all the tracks and more was promised.
Sadly, the CD was never delivered (the KLF folks get bored notoriously easily) which means very few have ever had a chance to hear these tracks. One of my favorites is the lush “Aurora Borealis;” it’s very ambient/atmospheric but by no means electronic – a wide variety of gentle instrumentation gives it a rich quality that only real, analog instruments can provide (the vinyl source doesn’t hurt, either :-) Here it is:
Take note that, given the style of this piece, I think fans of BSG would really dig it (i.e. lots of ethereal vocals and notable percussion).
You can look here to read more about the history of the Kalevala label and music.
Enjoy the track and let me know what you think in the comments section. Have a great weekend!