1 December 2010

Second Hand Record Dip Part 66 - Disco 2000 - I Gotta CD

Disco 2000 - I Gotta CD

Who: Disco 2000
What: I Gotta CD
Label: KLF Communications
When: 1987
Where: Music and Video Exchange, Camden High Street
Cost: 50p

If there's one thing Bill Drummond and Jimmy Cauty out of the KLF never seemed to do, it was explain their actions.  Their dislike of the five W's - the Who, What, Where, When and Whys so beloved of all qualified journalists - was so pronounced that they even referred to their distaste for such questions in their fan newsletters.  Given this, it's never been terribly clear what the point of the very seldom-referenced Disco 2000 project was.  It seems to have become the least respected KLF moniker by far, causing the twelve inch singles to slip into the lonely corner of the Music and Video Exchange, reduced to a mere 50p.  Why yes, I did do a double-take upon finding this one there in such good condition.

Fronted by Jimmy's wife Cressida Cauty and June Montana who previously sang lead vocals in his band Brilliant, it's tempting to rubber stamp this as a vanity project and move on, but I suspect there may have been more going on than that.  The three singles by Disco 2000 which slipped out largely unnoticed have a definite Justified Ancients of Mu Mu feel to them, but whilst Jams discs frequently had an anarchic darkness in their grooves, being filled with sampled interruptions and sinister slogans, Disco 2000 records tended to fizz along with a cheery rabidity.  It's possible that Cauty and Drummond were attempting to crack the pop charts by taking what they'd learnt from the sample-a-thon of "1987" and getting two slightly more conventionally charismatic figures to front the mayhem.  If this should be in any doubt, it's worth noting that two of their singles had promo videos, and the third and final Disco 2000 single "Uptight" came with a record store campaign which made it all the way down to Southend where I lived at the time.  Colour posters announcing the single's issue were stuck to the entrance door of my local record emporium, which seems like rather a lot of trouble to go to for the sake of larks (especially given how cash-strapped the KLF apparently were at the time).  There again, you never can tell.  Conventional logic never seemed to apply to the individuals concerned.

Whatever the intentions, Disco 2000 did not break through in the same manner as the Timelords project, or in the manner that the KLF themselves did at a later date, and the press seemed not to jump on the concept with quite the same degree of enthusiasm.  After "Uptight" failed, the project was shelved.  What we're left with is a curious trio of singles which sound halfway between the snarling of the Jams (Bill Drummond's voice can even clearly be heard on some of the tracks, including "I Gotta CD" below) and a hyperactive British version of Salt-n-Pepa.  Unlike Stock Aitken and Waterman's production efforts - which Cauty and Drummond were unquestionably inspired by - these records sound distinctly hand made and hammer their rhythms home almost violently.  It's an unsubtle, sticklebrick kind of pop, not as finely crafted as the ambient or Stadium House work which came later,  nor as brutal as the Jams - but they're an interesting piece in the puzzle, a halfway house in the development of the KLF's style.

As for the frontwomen behind this, Cressida Cauty - or Cressida Bowyer as she is now known - eventually moved on to being responsible for some astonishing design and choreography work for the KLF.  Having abandoned the music industry since their demise, she is presently finishing her PhD at the University of Brighton, doing research on liver cancer.  A greater leap away from the chaos of Trancentral could surely not be made (she also appears to be working with a lecturer there I've had professional dealings with in the past myself, but that's another story).  June Montana's whereabouts are harder to trace, and more information would be welcome.

(and I wonder how many people will actually come this way looking for mp3s of Pulp's "Disco 2000"?  Hmmm... and yes, before you say anything, I did know that Jarvis Cocker originally wanted Bill Drummond to produce "Different Class").

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