13 March 2010

The KLF - Kylie Said To Jason

KLF - Kylie Said To jason

Label: KLF Communications
Year of Release: 1989

I realise that there are likely to be some readers of this blog - readers of the "Keep Music Live" variety, I suspect - who may wonder what my continual fascination with The KLF is actually all about. For the benefit of these folk, I shall link to the KLF Wikipedia entry, purely because whether you find their music in any way exciting, interesting or even just plain endearing, it can't be denied that the ridiculous back-stories which weave their way through the work and career of Drummond and Cauty are almost art. Even if you despise a KLF single, the subtext of it and the accidents and crafted mayhem that occurred on the way are more interesting (and frequently more enticing) than the entire work of a band like Kasabian piled together.

"Kylie Said To Jason" was the duo's follow-up single to "Doctorin' The Tardis", a track the pair would claim was carefully crafted to be a number one shortly after it reached the top in the UK (although this sounds a piece of fanciful retrospective thinking). It too was supposed to follow the single into the charts and provide them with some more money to finish their film "The White Room" and rescue them from 'the jaws of bankruptcy', but in the end it failed to even get into the Top 100, and seemingly made their lives even more of a misery for a short period of time.

Shortly after its failure, however, a series of limited edition Trance records cut by the pair began to pick up play at clubs and at numerous free parties and 'raves' around the country. After capitalising on this credibility by remixing and reproducing some of the tracks with the aim of getting them to chart, their careers skyrocketed into the major league, and platinum discs, Brit Awards and critical acclaim followed. Unfortunately for the poor, maligned "Kylie Said To Jason", however, it was a mere piece of Pet Shop Boys aping pop which would have been poorly received by the underground groovers and shakers at the time, and as a net result it never appeared on "The White Room" album (despite having a place in the early rough tracklistings) and was never re-issued anywhere officially. It's impossible to speculate, but if they were as short of money as they claimed to be at the time of its release, it may also have been that they simply wanted to draw a line under the whole unpleasant experience.

This is all rather sad, as "Kylie Said To Jason" probably is one of the finest records the KLF shoved out. It is as sarcastic in its tones as it is surreal, reeling off lists of Antipodean stereotypes whilst keeping a bouncing Europop beat running behind. That it didn't catch on and ride the zeitgeist of all things "Neighbours" that dominated at the time may have been due to the fact that the whole affair didn't make much sense to anybody apart from KLF fans. There are no repetitive catchphrases to be had, no obvious jokes, and no use of whacky samples. It's even subtly catchy rather than poleaxing listeners with its reference points, and has a sudden diversion during the outro which is both thoughtful and pleasing. It breaks more or less every single rule for novelty success I outlined in the "Novelty" blog entry, then, where "Doctorin' The Tardis" could not be seen to fail.

Despite - or more likely because of - the above, it's been one of the KLF singles I've returned to most frequently. The Pet Shop Boys would have killed to have turned out something like this, and far apart from that, the b-side "Kylie Said Trance" is one of their earliest and also most interesting trance tracks, giving the track the credibility the A-side never really did by itself (and sorry for the pops and clicks on the vinyl). This may stand out like a sore thumb in the middle of the rest of their catalogue, but it's sodding great, and really should be heard by everyone who has even a vague interest, not just fans of the KLF.

Somebody has also uploaded the video, containing shots from the unfinished film "The White Room" here.


Cocktails said...

I've never actually heard this so it's been an interesting listening experience.

Firstly shock - it really does sound like the Pet Shop Boys.

Then I thought it was just plain rubbish.

But by the end, I kind of liked it. So much so, I'm listening to it again to make sure!

It definitely wouldn't have fitted on the White Room though.

23 Daves said...

You didn't like it at first? What's not to like?! Whilst I realise it's a complete diversion from any of their usual styles, I happen to love this single.

There used to be a very early demo version of the "White Room" album circulating on the Internet with KSTJ included, and it didn't jar too much with the original content. Then The KLF went all Stadium House on us, and you're right, it would have been completely at odds with the rest of the album's remixed content.

All that said, the flip "Kylie Said Trance" could easily have been worked up into a Stadium House number, in much the same manner that "3am Eternal" and "What Time Is Love" both were. The KLF were fond of recycling material, but for whatever reason, that never did seem to get revisted by them in the studio, which seems a shame.

YorkshireLen said...

I remember finding a copy of this, when it first came out, in the shop Red Rhino Records used to have in York. Along with the amount it cost, title, etc, Red Rhino would leave space on their price labels for staff to add a recommendation if they so wished. KSTJ came with the comment, “This is shit. Do not buy”. My kind of record shop, that.

Anonymous said...

It was released in many formats back in the day. I have the CD Single (with the superb mix of Madrugada Eterna) and the sweetly burping "Kylie Said Trance". I also have the regular extended 12" mix. Plus a 12" remix. Then there was a 2 X 12" re-remix pack. I think in all around ten different mixes, remixes and edits slid out onto the Armitage Shanks...
Kylie In A Trance, Kylie Said Trance, Trance Kylie Express, KSTJ remix, 7" version, the regular 12" Mix, then the re-remixes.
It was revisited in the studio for all these mixes but this was all pre-Stadium House.
Leave a message here if you want the whole bundle for a Blog-posting.

Anonymous said...

"The Pet Shop Boys would have killed to have turned out something like this"

Why would the Pet Shop Boys have killed to have turned out something like this? Eight months before, they already had turned out something like this: it was called Left To My Own Devices, which the KLF plainly ripped off!

23 Daves said...

Back in the knife drawer, Miss Sharp!

Anonymous said...

I had this and the trance version is excellent. It's a pity it costs about £70 or I'd get another copy.

Dan Abel said...

The great thing about Kylie said Trance is that it DID get Stadium House-ed up as Make it Rain. Listen to it and sing along...