“Relentless” & the KLF

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Axonthenet
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“Relentless” & the KLF

#1 Post by Axonthenet »

I was listening to some of the KLF’s tracks (they are back on YouTube with a brand new page) and I noticed some of the voices of “Last train to Trancentral” sound like the dialogue on “We came from outer space”... so I was thinking about “Relentless” being the PSB doing the KLF. What do you think about it?


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leesmapman
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Re: “Relentless” & the KLF

#2 Post by leesmapman »

Kylie Said To Jason was KLF doing PSB so we've come full circle

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Re: “Relentless” & the KLF

#3 Post by Dog »

By 1992, when Neil and Chris began work in earnest on the songs that became Very and Relentless at Chris’s Fabden’s Park home studio, the charts were flooded with post-KLF pop dance tracks including Don’t You Want Me, Rhythm Is A Dancer and Ebeneezer Goode - so it would be hard to pin any influence specifically back to the KLF, who had already spectacularly quit the music industry in a hail of machine gun blanks at that year’s BRIT Awards.

We do know though that the two acts shared a mutual admiration, with some cross-pollination and their timelines crossing on a handful of occasions.

The 1989 KLF single Kylie Said To Jason, by their own admission saw them channelling PSB (“we wore our Pet Shop Boys infatuations brazenly on our sleeves”) in order to score a hit for the soundtrack for their ambitious White Room road movie. The track is massively influenced by the previous year’s Left To My Own Devices particularly - check out the bassline and that house piano. But they must have strayed from the instructions laid out in their own The Manual (How To Have A Number One The Easy Way) published just the year before, because the song flopped, stalling outside even the top 100, the film was scrapped and it was back to the drawing board for the album, which was radically reworked before its eventual release in 1991.

PSB asked the KLF to remix So Hard on the strength of Jimmy Cauty’s ambient house concept album Space, an aural voyage through the solar system from Mercury to Pluto released on KLF Communications, of which they both became fans after hearing it playing in a record shop in the summer of 1990. PSB were ahead of the curve here; the KLF had so far only troubled the charts via their Timelords incarnation back in 1988 and What Time Is Love? - the first instalment of what would become the group’s career-defining Stadium House Trilogy - was still some weeks away from landing. The KLF “remodelled” So Hard to the extent that Neil had to pay a visit to the KLF’s famed Trancentral squat cum studio to re-record the vocal - in much the same way that Bowie did for PSB’s Hallo Spaceboy reinterpretation six years later. Neil was impressed to note Bill had worked out the chords on acoustic guitar - and what a duet that would have been. On the flip side, the UFO remix of It Must Be Obvious is a sound collage very much in the vein of the Space album, albeit a whole lot darker, alternating quiet passages with booming sound effects, radio signals and sinister machine vox; possibly the most unsettling entry in the PSB canon. The combined package in its unique sleeve remains one of my favourite PSB 12” singles.

As briefly documented in Literally issue seven, in 1991 the KLF approached PSB to suggest a Christmas single collaboration. Neil and Chris were keen but the project never got off the ground (the KLF were busy becoming the year’s top selling singles band globally). For their festive effort, the KLF instead collaborated with Tammy Wynette on a rework of their Justified & Ancient track, hitting number two in the UK chart.

Neil and Chris are on record as praising the KLF during this, their most successful year - something they rarely award their contemporaries: Chris suggested they were the only other worthwhile UK group; Neil recognised their “incredibly recognisable sound”. The fact they saw the KLF as being from a different musical tradition to themselves no doubt helped negate the kind of rivalry which would make Neil feel threatened by the chart success of Jarvis Cocker’s Pulp a few years later.

These two incredible singles bands would have struggled to produce anything as amazing as this joint billing would suggest - so maybe it’s for the best that PSB never joined The JAMs, and it will instead be left to our imaginations to conjure up what could have been a stellar alternative closing track for Discography.
Woof.

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Re: “Relentless” & the KLF

#4 Post by PopKid78 »

I can never get my head around, that they was the biggest selling band in the world 1991. I recall them being big at the time, but I never thought they was this big.
In another thread discussing the ending of Discography, I was gong to suggest this collaboration as what might have been the perfect ending to it.


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Re: “Relentless” & the KLF

#5 Post by Axonthenet »

Dog wrote:By 1992, when Neil and Chris began work in earnest on the songs that became Very and Relentless at Chris’s Fabden’s Park home studio, the charts were flooded with post-KLF pop dance tracks including Don’t You Want Me, Rhythm Is A Dancer and Ebeneezer Goode - so it would be hard to pin any influence specifically back to the KLF, who had already spectacularly quit the music industry in a hail of machine gun blanks at that year’s BRIT Awards.

We do know though that the two acts shared a mutual admiration, with some cross-pollination and their timelines crossing on a handful of occasions.

The 1989 KLF single Kylie Said To Jason, by their own admission saw them channelling PSB (“we wore our Pet Shop Boys infatuations brazenly on our sleeves”) in order to score a hit for the soundtrack for their ambitious White Room road movie. The track is massively influenced by the previous year’s Left To My Own Devices particularly - check out the bassline and that house piano. But they must have strayed from the instructions laid out in their own The Manual (How To Have A Number One The Easy Way) published just the year before, because the song flopped, stalling outside even the top 100, the film was scrapped and it was back to the drawing board for the album, which was radically reworked before its eventual release in 1991.

PSB asked the KLF to remix So Hard on the strength of Jimmy Cauty’s ambient house concept album Space, an aural voyage through the solar system from Mercury to Pluto released on KLF Communications, of which they both became fans after hearing it playing in a record shop in the summer of 1990. PSB were ahead of the curve here; the KLF had so far only troubled the charts via their Timelords incarnation back in 1988 and What Time Is Love? - the first instalment of what would become the group’s career-defining Stadium House Trilogy - was still some weeks away from landing. The KLF “remodelled” So Hard to the extent that Neil had to pay a visit to the KLF’s famed Trancentral squat cum studio to re-record the vocal - in much the same way that Bowie did for PSB’s Hallo Spaceboy reinterpretation six years later. Neil was impressed to note Bill had worked out the chords on acoustic guitar - and what a duet that would have been. On the flip side, the UFO remix of It Must Be Obvious is a sound collage very much in the vein of the Space album, albeit a whole lot darker, alternating quiet passages with booming sound effects, radio signals and sinister machine vox; possibly the most unsettling entry in the PSB canon. The combined package in its unique sleeve remains one of my favourite PSB 12” singles.

As briefly documented in Literally issue seven, in 1991 the KLF approached PSB to suggest a Christmas single collaboration. Neil and Chris were keen but the project never got off the ground (the KLF were busy becoming the year’s top selling singles band globally). For their festive effort, the KLF instead collaborated with Tammy Wynette on a rework of their Justified & Ancient track, hitting number two in the UK chart.

Neil and Chris are on record as praising the KLF during this, their most successful year - something they rarely award their contemporaries: Chris suggested they were the only other worthwhile UK group; Neil recognised their “incredibly recognisable sound”. The fact they saw the KLF as being from a different musical tradition to themselves no doubt helped negate the kind of rivalry which would make Neil feel threatened by the chart success of Jarvis Cocker’s Pulp a few years later.

These two incredible singles bands would have struggled to produce anything as amazing as this joint billing would suggest - so maybe it’s for the best that PSB never joined The JAMs, and it will instead be left to our imaginations to conjure up what could have been a stellar alternative closing track for Discography.
This story is so full of interesting details I didn’t know about... thank you for telling it.
We can just imagine what could be happened... maybe Forever in love is the single they were thinking about... wasn’t it planned as a single in 1992? I have to check the Very reissue booklet.


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Re: “Relentless” & the KLF

#6 Post by TallThinMan »

There’s a little bit more about the remake of So Hard here: http://www.muzines.co.uk/articles/inside-the-klf/7406

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Re: “Relentless” & the KLF

#7 Post by G_Goalden »

Dog wrote: Sun 28 Mar 2021, 9:08 pm Neil and Chris are on record as praising the KLF during this, their most successful year - something they rarely award their contemporaries: Chris suggested they were the only other worthwhile UK group; Neil recognised their “incredibly recognisable sound”. The fact they saw the KLF as being from a different musical tradition to themselves no doubt helped negate the kind of rivalry which would make Neil feel threatened by the chart success of Jarvis Cocker’s Pulp a few years later.
I was a massive fan of Pulp (and the KLF for that matter) and was lucky enough to interview them before a gig at the Duchess of York in Leeds. Whilst I've always felt there were massive similarities between the two (northern humour, dryness, clever lyrics, secret lives behind drawn curtains) - this is the first time I've seen someone else link the two bands. Its even more interesting that you suggest Neil was threatened by Jarvis - where did this come from? Did Neil go on record saying this?

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Re: “Relentless” & the KLF

#8 Post by Dog »

G_Goalden wrote:
Dog wrote: Sun 28 Mar 2021, 9:08 pm Neil and Chris are on record as praising the KLF during this, their most successful year - something they rarely award their contemporaries: Chris suggested they were the only other worthwhile UK group; Neil recognised their “incredibly recognisable sound”. The fact they saw the KLF as being from a different musical tradition to themselves no doubt helped negate the kind of rivalry which would make Neil feel threatened by the chart success of Jarvis Cocker’s Pulp a few years later.
I was a massive fan of Pulp (and the KLF for that matter) and was lucky enough to interview them before a gig at the Duchess of York in Leeds. Whilst I've always felt there were massive similarities between the two (northern humour, dryness, clever lyrics, secret lives behind drawn curtains) - this is the first time I've seen someone else link the two bands. Its even more interesting that you suggest Neil was threatened by Jarvis - where did this come from? Did Neil go on record saying this?

G.
Yes, it was something he only shared recently... frustratingly I can’t remember the source but someone else may well. I was surprised as I didn’t think it was the kind of thing Neil would typically admit to. He said that in the mid-90s he felt Jarvis and Pulp were very much on their territory, both musically and with Jarvis as a cultural commentator. I seemed to remember it as something that Neil realised he needed to shake off and learn from.
Woof.

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Re: “Relentless” & the KLF

#9 Post by PopKid78 »

Dog wrote:
G_Goalden wrote:
Dog wrote: Sun 28 Mar 2021, 9:08 pm Neil and Chris are on record as praising the KLF during this, their most successful year - something they rarely award their contemporaries: Chris suggested they were the only other worthwhile UK group; Neil recognised their “incredibly recognisable sound”. The fact they saw the KLF as being from a different musical tradition to themselves no doubt helped negate the kind of rivalry which would make Neil feel threatened by the chart success of Jarvis Cocker’s Pulp a few years later.
I was a massive fan of Pulp (and the KLF for that matter) and was lucky enough to interview them before a gig at the Duchess of York in Leeds. Whilst I've always felt there were massive similarities between the two (northern humour, dryness, clever lyrics, secret lives behind drawn curtains) - this is the first time I've seen someone else link the two bands. Its even more interesting that you suggest Neil was threatened by Jarvis - where did this come from? Did Neil go on record saying this?

G.
Yes, it was something he only shared recently... frustratingly I can’t remember the source but someone else may well. I was surprised as I didn’t think it was the kind of thing Neil would typically admit to. He said that in the mid-90s he felt Jarvis and Pulp were very much on their territory, both musically and with Jarvis as a cultural commentator. I seemed to remember it as something that Neil realised he needed to shake off and learn from.
Same here, I can’t for the life of me think where the comment came from. It was definitely from sometime last year.


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Re: “Relentless” & the KLF

#10 Post by tottenhammattspurs »

Jarvis has now joined The Jams.
is is and isnt isnt

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Re: “Relentless” & the KLF

#11 Post by Dog »

tottenhammattspurs wrote:Jarvis has now joined The Jams.
Which kind of does bring things full circle.

Thinking about the Christmas single which never happened, given Bill and Jimmy’s penchant for constantly revisiting and reinventing their back catalogue, I could very well imagine the four of them sitting down to reinterpret Kylie Said To Jason, given this was originally in their style anyway.
Woof.

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Re: “Relentless” & the KLF

#12 Post by Drico One »

I think the idea of Jarvis driving the tanks on to Neil's front lawn only works if you think of both as merely foppish, fey, witty pop intellectuals - end even then is only plausible for that brief moment when Pulp went full pop with Common People and Disco 2000. In truth, they operated in different worlds. More interesting is the insight this incipient paranoia gives on Neil's state of mind around the time of Bilingual. Pulp never really translated past the cliffs of Dover. They have never even vaguely approached the international recognition that Neil and Chris generated - and generate to this day - yet Neil clearly felt underappreciated and a little ignored.

Weirdly, if he did, his response to Pulp's moment in the sun was...Bilingual. I mean, if you were thinking of competing with Pulp, would you come back with Before and Se A Vida E? Jarvis, who was a great pop star, by the way, was always more of a cad: using his bookishness as cover for a Sid James-style strategy with the local lovelies. That was, effectively, the joke. Neil, meanwhile, despite the raised eyebrows and ironic flourishes, was a more poignant wit, struggling with a sincerity and melancholia that was only partly masked by playful knowingness and camp observation.

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Re: “Relentless” & the KLF

#13 Post by G_Goalden »

The timeline is lost in the midst of time - but would the proposed KLF collaboration have been superseded by the Electronic collab?

Perhaps 'Getting Away With It' could have been a stadium house track. It is certainly in the vain of 'Kylie Said To Jason'.

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Re: “Relentless” & the KLF

#14 Post by PopKid78 »

Dog wrote:
tottenhammattspurs wrote:Jarvis has now joined The Jams.
Which kind of does bring things full circle.

Thinking about the Christmas single which never happened, given Bill and Jimmy’s penchant for constantly revisiting and reinventing their back catalogue, I could very well imagine the four of them sitting down to reinterpret Kylie Said To Jason, given this was originally in their style anyway.
I think depending on when it would’ve been released on the run up to Christmas, it could’ve been their 5th number 1. I don’t think anything would’ve stopped Queen from getting the Xmas number 1 spot that year, and their was also some big competition from the Elton and George Michael collaboration.


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Re: “Relentless” & the KLF

#15 Post by Drico One »

PopKid78 wrote: Mon 29 Mar 2021, 10:46 am Same here, I can’t for the life of me think where the comment came from. It was definitely from sometime last year.


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I think he mentioned it in a BBC HardTalk interview, if I recall correctly.

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