Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Nothing is too obscure for YouTube.

I thought I'd seen all the KLF's videos - well, except the one for "Downtown", which doesn't count. (They filmed themselves driving to the offices of the TV show that requested a video, and then handed in the tape at the door.)

But YouTube, god bless it, has KLF videos so obscure I'd never previously realised that they existed. Frankly, it turns out there's a good reason.

Now, by the time their career peaked, the KLF had mastered the video. Here's America: What Time Is Love?, which is just fantastically excessive. Especially for an indie act in the nineties.

Or, rather more bizarrely, here's "It's Grim Up North" - an epically weird record devoted to reciting the names of northern English towns in a Scottish accent, before collapsing into a screwed-up version of "Jerusalem", which must have somehow clambered into the UK singles chart on the strength of the KLF's name. Even today, it's remarkable that this was a legitimate hit.

But it was not ever thus. Before the KLF made their big breakthrough with the "stadium house" singles, they had some earlier stabs at mainstream success. Records which they honestly thought could do well. One of them is "Doctorin' The Tardis", which is actually pretty good as novelty records go, and duly made number one. The others... well, let's look at them, shuffle awkwardly, and move on with our lives.

Here's "Kylie Said To Jason." Not entirely disastrous, but... it's not quite there yet, is it? Not quite a novelty record, not quite comprehensible, it's lost in limbo somewhere. Even the KLF admit that it's a track from the abandoned original "White Room" soundtrack which they banged out in the hope that it might make some sorely-needed cash. It failed to reach the Top 100.

And here's "Uptight" by Disco 2000, a KLF side-project. It's a cover version of the Stevie Wonder song.

Some people will tell you that this is a sparky, lost pop gem. They are wrong. The Wikipedia listing claims that DJ International magazine listed this as one of the twenty worst cover versions in the history of dance music, which is going a little far, but it's still seriously awful. And the video... dear god, the video.

I'd always wondered why nobody ever played it. Now I know.