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The White Room

The KLF

1991

The White Room
Album Summary

The White Room is the fourth and final studio album by British electronic music group The KLF, released on 3 March 1991. The album features versions of the band's hit singles, including "What Time Is Love?", "3 a.m. Eternal", and "Last Train to Trancentral". Originally scheduled for 1989 as the soundtrack to a film of the same name, the album's direction was changed after both the film and the original soundtrack LP were cancelled. Most tracks on the original album version are present in the final 1991 release, though in significantly remixed form. The White Room was supposed to be followed by a darker, harder complementary album The Black Room, but that plan was abandoned when the KLF retired in 1992. On 23 April 2021, a re-edited version of the album was officially released on streaming platforms, in a series of digital reissues, as The White Room (Director's Cut), featuring new edits of original tracks from 1989–1990 sessions. In a retrospective review of the album, John Bush of AllMusic said that The White Room "represents the commercial and artistic peak of late-'80s acid-house." Franklin Soults stated in the 2004 Rolling Stone Album Guide that on The White Room, "the KLF became what they'd mocked with this enduring embrace of Euro-trash club culture. They knew their exit cue."

Wikipedia

Rating

2.74

Votes

9640
Genres
Electronica

Reviews

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Tue Oct 10 2023
4

Probably one of those instances of "you had to be there at the time to understand". That said, if really you need just *one* example of what a early nineties eurodance version of a rave party should sound like in this list of essential albums, *The White Room* is your best bet here--even if, more than eurodance, what we have here has layers of opportunistic cultural recycling that were actually very British, and so contrasting a lot with those other Italian or German cheesy dance acts around 1990. See the wealth of samples used here, with or without permission: so many winks to popular music of all stripes that it's easy to lose count, from that sample of MCS's "Kick Out The Jams" to this bassline nicked from the Twin Peaks title theme on trip-hop-like "Build A Fire". Here is a concern for richness, invention and callbacks to music history that low-brow outfits such as Technotronic, 2Unlimited or Snap! would never reach for even one second of their equally short career. So if you stick to what is usually expected from that often maligned genre of popular dance music from thirty years ago, there's no denying that The KLF were masters of their game. Every track on the first side may have all the clichés of that UK Dance Club thing, sure, yet they are so effective that you may feel inclined to bob your head to them, as "dated" as some of those shenanigans are. "What Time Is Love" and "3AM Eternal" are the most striking examples of such an effective way to rob the charts in 1991 and yet still manage to win hearts in 2023 (in a genre that supposedly never ages well, i.e. EDM). Too bad that the version of "Last Train To Trancentral" on the same first side is a more subdued remix compared to the equally slapping single version--as good as this remix is. Had this single version, filled with an orgy of vocoder-laden vocal parts, been included on this side, you'd have a perfect first part for this record. What will probably go over the head of most listeners is that Bill Drummond and James Cauty were also very sly foxes as artists and "high concept" creators. They first wrote a book about how to hit the charts from the underground *before* managing to do so for real with the singles from this album. Quite a feat that they held their promises against all odds...but it's not even the most interesting part of the picture. See for example what they did with all the money they earned after they hit those charts--it might be a huge surprise for you, either a pleasant or an unpleasant one, depending on your mileage. But before they burnt all those piles of dough to the ground--yes, you read that correctly--they also managed to: - create many fake bands to broadcast their music. - instill a very "situationist" brand of irony to "dance" music that acts like Gang Of Four could only dream of when they injected funk basslines to their post-punk agenda ten years before. - Record a classic electronic "chill-out" LP named... well, *Chill Out*--which actually inspired a lot of melodies and arrangements in *The White Room*. - Erase the lines between high art and blatant commercialism, or the ones between "good taste" and "bad taste". That last point is the most prophetic of their endeavors, foretelling the success of many later acts going from Daft Punk and LCD Soundsystem to more recent strands of hyperpop such as Charli XCX, Sophie, 100 gecs or crazy pop-post-hardcore outfit The Armed. I have a feeling that this recent hyperpop craze, as weird and probably promised to failure as it is, is not so far from rehabilitating The KLF. Only time will tell. But if such rehabilitation happens, I reckon it's gonna happen very soon at least--before the wheel turns again, which is always sooner than later. All this is fine, but what really saves this album from all those tired tropes about music cycles and "turning wheels" is its far more ambient second side, with all its groovy, cinematic-yet-lvery-aidback cuts such as the title track or "No More Tears". Those songs are stellar, enough said. Subtly layered and subdued and sounding like nothing else, whether at the time or today. Concluding the proceedings, the mock-Las-Vegas-novelty cut "Justified and Ancient" returns to the layers of irony of the first side, but this time with an extra grain of salt. What if Drummond and Caulty were actually serious here? Us poor sheep will probably never know. All that"s left for us to do is to take that Trancentral Train to the promises of a future of dance music that never really occured--at least not in that exact shape--but one that could still occur yet, if you listen to this the right way. *The White Room* has always had a somewhat nostalgic feel to its rave party antics--a clearly melancholic subtext if you listen to its arrangements an flourishes--and such subtext made it age far better then many other supposed EDM highlights of the same day and age. Not so bad for a record whose sound is supposedly "dated", at least on first sight. 4/5 for the purposes of this list, translating to a 9/10 grade for more general purposes (5+4). Number of albums left to review: 419 Number of albums from the list I find relevant enough to be mandatory listens: 269 (including this one). Albums from the list might* include in mine later on: 142 Albums from the list I won't include in mine (many others are more essential to me): 176

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Tue Sep 12 2023
3

File under : generic electronic boops

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Tue Aug 29 2023
5

Glenn Hoddle and the entire Chelsea first team and backroom staff jizzed all over my hair and back as I sang this record in the shower after every training session. Good memories.

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Tue Aug 22 2023
1

Did not enjoy, another British electronica album

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Thu Sep 14 2023
5

Hard to get on streaming, but there's the odd serviceable playlist cobbling this together from the stuff they released back onto services a couple of years ago after a far too long absence. One of the most interesting stories of any band ever, surely. There is an absolutely essential John Higgs book about them and their influences (occult, dadaist, conspiracies - the story of how the popularised concept of the Illuminati as an all powerful shadowy organisation was essentially invented as a joke then took on a life of its own, is mad in itself). The fact they blew out of obscurity, topped the charts with apparent ease for a couple of years as a kind of joke/art project and then fucked off again, signing a pact to never use the name again and deleting all of their records. The music, I see plenty of baffled Americans here in the reviews. I guess you had to be there. It's commercial house. But at the time when it blew on the scene I just remember thinking, What Is That Noise And Where Can I Get More Of It? I still think last train, 4am eternal and what time is love are bangers. But the real star here is Justified Ancients. You must watch the video. An absolute classic tune. Just pure joy. Problem is I don't think the version I love is the one on the album. The single version is the one. Bring the beat back! That notwithstanding this is obviously getting a 5. These are two Scottish guys who convinced Tammy Wynette to appear on their record and sing the words "they're justified, and they're ancient, and they drive an ice cream van" on top of the pops.

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Wed Dec 20 2023
5

Since the point of this list is albums you must hear, not necessarily the *best* albums, I have to give this five stars. Because The KLF is definitely worth knowing about. The album itself consists of hunks of tripe interspersed with tidbits of sweet genius. But dig deeper into the KLF story and you won't be disappointed. And for that I'm giving this s entry 5 stars...5 flaming stars... let's burn this mofo up!

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Sat Aug 26 2023
2

I remember the name of this band but am pretty unfamiliar with them. I can remember a line like "KLF, uh-huh uh-huh". Electronica, probably UK. Hey lol they *are* from the UK. It's... boring. It feels like a sample bank with 808 beats underneath - which is what it is of course, but that's just not something very interesting. Especially not in 2023. 2/5.

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Tue Aug 22 2023
5

it’s love from the first song!

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Fri Oct 13 2023
5

Absolutely brilliant stuff. Is it right to give it 5 stars, though, if the Directors' Cut version is even better?

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Mon Oct 23 2023
5

Really good. Directors cut included a few more tracks, will definitely listen again

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Fri Oct 27 2023
5

Best electronic album on here so far

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Sat Dec 16 2023
5

influential and banger after banger. 4.8

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Thu Feb 15 2024
5

Loved it! Super fun dancey album

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Fri Mar 01 2024
5

Timelords Justified ancients of Mu my JAMMs KLF WHATEVER YOU WANT TO CALL THEM Bought 1987 what the f*CK when it originally came out. Have loved the Justified Ancients of Mu Mu ever since. Great exploitation method.

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Mon Mar 04 2024
5

This always leaves me with a grin on my face, on YouTube searching Timelords' Doctorin the Tardis... ...The KLF had a knack of hitting the spot and making it look like an accident.

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Tue Mar 12 2024
5

Beautiful. The version of last train to transcentral wasn't as good as the version I remember, but it is a great album to listen to and vibe to.

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Wed Mar 27 2024
5

The album itself consists of hunks of tripe interspersed with tidbits of sweet genius. But dig deeper into the KLF story and you won't be disappointed.

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Sun Mar 31 2024
5

I’m definitely giving this one a five star rating, because I love this album. Unfortunately for all the people who are listening to this for the very first time, I totally get why you think this record would suck. It comes off as generic, samples that everyone else has used, and just very run of the mill hyped up eurodance. Well in order to understand this, you just had to be there at the time, and know what was going on with music at that point in time. The sampling, the hyped vibe of the album, and everything else that comes with this record, was literally the first of its kind. Although dance music was already around, these guys definitely progressed it forward in a lot of ways, and have definitely made their mark in electronic music history.

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Wed May 15 2024
5

I know this album is brilliant - in my opinion at least. Just gutted that, for some reason (because usual Bill Drummond / Jimmy Cauty / KLF shenanigans? Copyright issues? Who knows*? 🤷🏻‍♂️), the link to play it on Spotify, basically goes to a dead link... It brings up the standard Spotify album, track listing image etc, which lets you press play, and indeed acts like it's playing - apart from the fact the track doesn't come up at the bottom of the screen - but absolutely nothing happens... The full, original album doesn't even show under the KLF artist listing. Anyway, the Director's Cut of the album that *is* listed under the KLF albums, and, more importantly, is working on Spotify is similar but not, imho, as good as the original... Glad I was able to play my original vinyl for a trip down memory lane... I was never a raver (too square, didn't have the right friends etc.) but I like a bit of this kind of music... Somehow for me it just hits the spot... Brilliant... ...if you like this kind of thing. *Someone clearly...

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Fri May 17 2024
5

I owned this album back in the early 90s - had to buy it after hearing the Tammy Wynette remake, even though Tammy isn’t on the album as the remake came out after. Still, I remember liking the album and was expecting a lot of deja vu. Wrong. The Director’s Cut was an enormous disappointment - so much so that I was ready to give this a 3. Then a friend texted that he was going to listen to and rate the original CD that he still had a copy of. Turns out I also have the original CD available in ripped form thanks to the cloud. I listened to that and all was right with the world. It is a wonderful as I remember it!!! How terrible that the only version of this available on Apple Music is the far inferior one. Thank god I still have the original because it is terrific!

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Wed Aug 23 2023
4

Not as good as I remembered from car rides with my dad.

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Mon Aug 28 2023
4

Bill Drummond put Fondness on his exhibition’s playlist. But not to fuck the scoring I’ll give it 4.

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Fri Sep 22 2023
4

Var litt funky hiphop til disco, og det hitta

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Wed Oct 04 2023
4

Loved this album. Shame it’s not on Spotify

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Fri Oct 13 2023
4

Some great electronic, and interestingly showed some roots of modern electronic I did not expect.

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Fri Oct 13 2023
4

This was really excellently produced, it still sounded so fresh and interesting that you could have told me it would have came out last year and I would have believed you. At least, until we get to the absolutely DATED and ill-fitting vocals. If this was instrumental it would be an easy 5 for me, but with those vocals it is barely clinging to 4 stars.

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Mon Oct 23 2023
4

Caveat, I only listened to the director's cut in Spotify but I had never heard them before being put off by their antics. I expected it to be unlistenable noise terrorism but it was like New Order and even Pet Shop Boys and Bronski Beat in parts. Good stuff

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Tue Nov 07 2023
4

8/10. This album was actually a lot of fun! Usually predisposed to dislike the albums that make me leave spotify, but well worth it in this case.

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Fri Nov 24 2023
4

Música electrónica, acid house. Me ha gustado. Un 4.

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Wed Nov 29 2023
4

I listened to the Spotify version and thought it got off to a good start, but I really couldn't see what all the excitement was about. After reading the the Wiki overview it appears that the two lead singles on the LP were not included on the Spotify version. That makes a big difference! They're great tracks that capture the late 80s club sound.

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Fri Dec 01 2023
4

- imagine this bumping in a European club - appropriate song lengths - really enjoyed the vibes here

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Mon Dec 04 2023
4

Interesting given the time period. I would have placed this later in time if I didn't see the release date. The face it was from 2 years earlier is interesting.

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Mon Dec 11 2023
4

Honestly i love this early nineties UK Rave music its so dope. Hearted a song, dug it. The dog hated it...

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Mon Dec 11 2023
4

This album appeared on my list on the EXACT day I picked up a copy of The Illuminatus Trilogy at my local op shop. I think the Justified Ancients of Mu-Mu are trying to let me know they're still alive. It is so hard rating this album on just the music. There's the book that came out before this album (The Manual) explaining how to write a top selling album, there's the whole Discordian/Illuminatus Trilogy myths, there's the burning of a million dollars as statement, there's the invention of stadium house, there's the whole act. Music wise, the hits were absolute bangers, and I like most of the 12'' better than the album versions, but the low-beat versions soothe the soul as well. It's 3,5* fr the album, but 5* for the KLF. I'll stick to 4.

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Fri Dec 15 2023
4

Gosh, I heard that early 90s trance/ hip-hop drum line and I wanted to dance. I always got The KLF and KRS-One mixed up as a kid. Mainly because they keep repeating their name in their songs. One of the best albums not found on Spotify.

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Mon Dec 25 2023
4

I've got a lot of time for The KLF - disruptive pioneers making art electronica, inspired by the Illuminatus! Trilogy and Ken Campbell, making art, making money, burning money, making art. Is the album that appears on itunes even the version we should listen to before we die? Who knows? Let's just rate, then, the KLF's career - for all the nonsense and high art and chart success.

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Tue Dec 26 2023
4

I got this on Christmas Day so didn’t really get to the time to listen properly. There’s obviously a lot more going on than a ‘normal’ early 90s dance album but I can’t really comment from what I heard. Will try and listen properly and read up on all the weird mythology that they invent around this album when I get some spare time.

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Fri Dec 29 2023
4

Excellent album, I love the story behind this music and the fact it was all deleted but the sounds and beats are good

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Wed Jan 03 2024
4

Jai aime, cetait vraiment parfait sans le style. Surprenanment jai couru en lecoutant et ca fittait tres bien. Pas trop de parole et un bon son electro. 4

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Thu Jan 04 2024
4

Head to Youtube for the original mix of the album and the three monster singles. KLF were only ever about hits, Top of the Pops, 12" remixes, the Brits and all that really important stuff. Albums less so, as why would you throw away good stuff that won't get played on MTV/Radio One. 3 stars for the backups, 5 stars for the singles. 4 it is.

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Tue Jan 09 2024
4

If the released singles versions of ‘What Time Is Love?’, ‘Last Train To Trancentral’ and the Tammy Wynette version of ‘Justified And Ancient’ were on ‘The White Room’ instead of the versions they went with, then this would’ve been a 5/5.

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Sun Jan 14 2024
4

Very well done dance/disco sound. Could listen to for a few songs or as a change while driving or at a party.

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Mon Jan 15 2024
4

KLF following Happy Mondays is alright by me

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Sun Jan 21 2024
4

Sounds like German techno. From the era of art of noise.

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Fri Jan 26 2024
4

This was a welcome change when compared with other contemporary electronic albums from this time. The KLF were a duo of made up of a former record executive and a musician who embraced experimental music and made interesting pieces. This album sits on the transition of acid house and rave music and features engaging beats and a pop sensibility that makes the album accessible while still benefiting from a close listen.

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Wed Feb 07 2024
4

They told us they were gonna do it with Build a Fire. It was right there the whole time! The LP tracks are better than I remember.

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Thu Feb 08 2024
4

Had no clue what to expect, but ended up loving the album.

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Thu Feb 08 2024
4

One of a few albums that changed Pop music in the UK. Brought dance music into the main stream. This album is great, a couple of hits that everyone knows, which aren't their best tracks. In truth this album was so much 'Of it's time" that it sometimes sounds a bit dated and a little contrived nowadays. It's a great piece of musical history, with some awesome tracks. The KLF's crown jewel is, in my opinion, their "Chill Out" album. It's a masterpiece. There are not many circumstances where the chill out album is what you want to hear, but if you are in a certain headspace, it is absolutely sublime and beautiful. Listen to this, then go listen to that.

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Mon Feb 19 2024
4

Electronica, acid, house, rave.

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Mon Feb 19 2024
4

Música electrónica, acid house. Me ha gustado. Un 4.

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Thu Feb 29 2024
4

The White Room is a great electronic/house album, and not really what I expected. The sound is quite enthralling and encompassing, and really good in a pair of headphones. It's a real shame to find out that this was a movie soundtrack until the movie got axed, I want to see the type of movie this would have soundtracked. Best: 3 a.m. Eternal Worst: Build a Fire Note: The album was not available to listen to on Spotify. It was listened to on YouTube Music

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Mon Mar 04 2024
4

Really fun electronic album. Very 90s. Very fun.

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Sun Mar 10 2024
4

Nice old school electronica. Brought me back to the early 90s.

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Wed Mar 27 2024
4

album is all over the place but I kinda vibed with it somehow

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Wed Mar 27 2024
4

Really cool dance record, but the last two songs kinda dropped the ball

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Mon Apr 01 2024
4

Unavailable on Spotify but found on YouTube, wish streaming accessibility was better. Enjoyable listen, although I was working on other things so nothing specifically stands out. Somewhat generic electronic pop sounds, but still holds up today. 3.5/5

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Thu Apr 04 2024
4

Electronica, acid, house, rave.

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Wed Apr 17 2024
4

Electronica, acid, house, rave.

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Thu Apr 18 2024
4

Something could be said that sounds a lot like \"you had to be there\" and it would, unlike with some previous Electronica albums that seem to have found their way onto this list because of chart hits, actually make a strong argument, but even today, I'm enjoying this much more than I expected to. Which was - I knew there's more to The KLF than meets the eye (or ear), but still - highbrow eurodance. It kind of is that but... maybe because I'm clicking through The KLF's discography (the album on Spotify isn't quite \"The White Room\" anyways) I'd agree that this indeed is MusicYMHBYD.

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Fri Apr 19 2024
4

The wikipedia about this group was fantastic : dead sheep, burning piles of money, the illuminati, pranks, releasing a book about how to make a number 1 single, legal battles with ABBA, building pyramids out of human ashes, the list goes on. Apparently they were huge and the lore is deep but I had never heard of them ('90s kid from America, wrong time wrong place) This was also a great listen, weirdo indie pop-house, I cleaned my house on the first listen and chilled with my dog on the second while i read the wiki. I'm super curious about this group now and feel like I may have to dig into their catalogue/history just based on what a blast I had listening to and reading about them.

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Sun Apr 28 2024
4

Enjoyed, but the version on Spotify was a bit different

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Fri May 17 2024
4

I bought this CD when it came out, and I'm pretty sure I bought it because of the "Justified and Ancient" song with Tammy Wynette...which was not on this album. I also have the CD single which had her version, and I have a very vague memory that maybe they were packaged together. I listened to my CD today as the version on Apple Music is somewhat changed. I realized that I don't think I ever listened to this much, and it's been at least 25+ years since I've played the CD. Without Tammy, I don't really love this, but there are some definite good bits.

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Tue Aug 22 2023
3

Listened to about half of it. Never heard of this band or album before seeing it here. Not exactly my thing but not bad.

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Wed Aug 23 2023
3

Moest er wat moeite voor doen om dit te luisteren en ik vond het boven verwachting. Hier zit toch wel meer in dan het top 40 imago wat ze voor mij hadden.

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Tue Aug 29 2023
3

considering how much the guardian bum these as if they're some forward thinking enigmas i expected more from this album.

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Sat Sep 02 2023
3

Okay, so this album feels very dated. It's still great and all, but the KLF always felt like five star ideas with less than five star execution. I could read the Manual or Illuminati MuMu craziness forever, but the albums are almost a side concern!

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Fri Sep 08 2023
3

I was reluctantly preparing for another terrible British electronica album but I actually enjoyed this one quite a bit. Disclaimer: I listened to the director's cut version of it because it was the only version available on spotify, so I'm assuming it's the version the KLF wanted everyone to hear. I was wondering what made this one so different from all the other Eurotrash that I've heard (even though this is still pretty eurotrashy) and I realized that this is basically the unironic version of the Planet of the Bass song that took over twitter for like a week. The best tracks like build a fire and no more tears have boring whatever male vocals and a standard dance sound until some female comes in (Biljiana Electronica) and makes it really catchy and fun by belting out some vague thing about unity. "they're gonna build a fire" might as well be "all of the dream, how does it mean?" and it completely justified this album being good for me.

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Sun Sep 10 2023
3

Un album très intéressant. J'ai trouvé que c'est vraiment parti en force mais vers la fin c'était un peu trop doux à mon goût. Mais généralement un album electronic très bien construit et rafraichissant. 7/10

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Tue Sep 12 2023
3

Very fine and not terrible and not remarkable at all

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Thu Sep 14 2023
3

I bought this album when it came out - only because of Justified & The Ancient which was a massive hit being played everywhere. I never made it through the whole album then, and this listen through some 20+ years later was no different. Once again, the author(s) put region over importance with this list and it feels like every new day is a 50/50 gamble over whether I'll hit with another 90s UK pop or electronic album that barely registered on its release. 2.5/5.

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Tue Sep 19 2023
3

About as good as electronic music got. Unfortunately, this spawned way too many imitators who sound watered down in comparison. But hey, if you can cut and paste from various streaming platforms, you can listen to most of this. I ended up enjoying most of it, but I can't swear to the fact that all of the songs I listened to were from the album in question. Seems appropriate.

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Thu Sep 21 2023
3

Truth be told, I like the artist's story more than the music. It's good, it just all sounds dated in that way that anyone who even looked at a keyboard between 1988-1992 does. Has lulls, and also that dated way of "rapping" a lot of artists in this genre would use, but it's fine overall. Favorite track: "Last Train to Trancentral"

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Tue Sep 26 2023
3

Not on Spotify so listened on YouTube, enjoyed this good dance album

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Fri Sep 29 2023
3

Teringvet! Heb een paar nummers opgeslagen ook. Echt heel lekker en zijn accent is echt top

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Sun Oct 01 2023
3

Electronic music is the genre I know the least about as far as the history of it, so I can't really tell if this was ahead of it's time or anything like that. There's some fun songs on here overall, kind of falls off towards the end though especially with the 10 minute song that didn't need to be half that length. Was pleasant enough of a listen, but I doubt i'll be going back to it anytime soon.

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Wed Oct 04 2023
3

It’s never a great sign when there are multiple conflicting tracklists for an album… Anyway. I tried out what seemed to be the two main singles from the Solid State Logik 1 live recording (What Time is Love? and 3am Eternal) - didn’t care for the first one so much but the latter was pretty fun I then listened through to the directors cut of The White Room and, while it’s not really my thing, I cannot deny the production was incredible throughout. I also enjoyed the spoken-word passages in a lovely Scottish accent, though I also feel I have to call out the shameless appropriation of the Twin Peaks theme on the otherwise quite nice Build a Fire

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Sat Oct 07 2023
3

Scentless optimism is par for the course. There's something else to the White Room experience, not discordant nor even unsettling but uncentering. Sound thrown outward, without frills but with some level of interior. The palette's easily harvested; The original remains nourishing.

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Fri Oct 13 2023
3

Listening to this at 9 AM probably isn't the ideal why to do so. I'll retry at 3 AM in a crowded club some years from now. 3/5

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Mon Oct 16 2023
3

Feels like Prodigy, but worse. All the siren loops, too much cowbell, like if the Matrix was made 10 years earlier. Shitty 90s electronica. If I had some speed or E maybe. Gets better further in but only made it through half.

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Mon Oct 23 2023
3

It’s fine. That’s about it.

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Mon Oct 23 2023
3

The beginning of this kind of made me feel like I was having a panic attack, but I kind of liked it anyway? Then it got less chaotic and more chill and became a bit boring in comparison to how it started.

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