Back in 1988 there was novelty record called Doctoring the Tardis by a band calling themselves The Timelords which blended a ridiculously empty set of lyrics over a sampled bit of music, with a bizarre video of a car blaring out music and running over a bargain basement dalek. It was the number one selling single in the UK and New Zealand.
Shortly afterward the people behind it released a book called The Manual (How to have a Number One the easy way) which was a cynical but accurate explanation of how the music industry works and the ingredients needed to game the system and get a number one hit. They’d followed their steps with Doctoring the Tardis and it had worked.
Then the KLF began releasing a string of catchy dance hits, the lyrics and videos of which heavily referenced the lore from the Illuminatus Trilogy and firmly placed the performers on the Discordian team. As a long-standing, newly-sitting, sometimes lying-down Discordian sympathiser myself I was duly amused.
In 1991 they made a film The Rites of Mu at the summer solstice on the Isle of Jura in the Hebrides, where they burned an 18m Wicker-Man, with journalists asked to wear robes, join in the chanting, and pay an entrance fee. The money collected was burned with the Wicker Man.
In 1992 they performed at the Brit Awards they performed live, ending their performance by firing a machine-gun full of blanks into the audience and announced they were leaving the music industry. They didn’t attend the after-party, instead dumping a dead sheep with the message “I died for you – bon appetit” tied around its waist at the door.
Then lest anyone think this was just a stunt to drum up publicity… they deleted their back catalogue of music and quit the music industry. The trophy they won for best band at the Brit Awards was later found buried near Stonehenge.
In 1993 they founded the K Foundation and among other projects filmed themselves burning £1,000,000.00 of their royalties on the Isle of Jura as an act of… of something… that people have been arguing about ever since. I suspect it was an act of self-liberation given their Discordian tendencies.
Then on 23 August 2017 (23/8/2017 or 2+3+8+2+0+1+7), 23 years after they burned the money, they returned as the Justified Ancients of Mu Mu (a group heavily featured in their previous music and in the Illuminatus Trilogy) They also announced new plans for a People’s Pyramid to be built from bricks each containing 23 grams of human ashes from volunteers who choose to contribute. To anyone versed in Illuminatus and Discordian lore these details will seem inevitable and familiar.
Why bring this up now?
Well it’s the first of January, 2021: 1/1/21 and strange things have been seen in East London.
And now, behold, after the absence of their music since 1992 the KLF have now made their entire back catalogue available for streaming.
This is a fine day, ladles and gentlepens.