The KLF
Chill Out


5.0
classic

Review

by Adash USER (43 Reviews)
October 18th, 2010 | 52 replies


Release Date: 1990 | Tracklist

Review Summary: One: the KLF are the greatest band of all time. Two: Chill Out may be one of the greatest albums of all time (certainly top ten). Three: anyone who disagrees with either of the above is dead inside.

Now, before the flames start flying let me justify that statement. This is a band whose performance at the NME awards with Extreme Noise Terror ended with them blasting the audience with a machine gun loaded with blanks before dumping a dead sheep at the afterparty. A band who pinned their £1,000,000 earnings to a board and offered it to a British Art gallery for £750,000 (unbelievably, this offer was turned down). Needless to say, the KLF then took this money and burnt it all in what must be the most ***ing insane artistic act since Van Gogh thought that perhaps an ear would make a great gift for a prostitute. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, a band whose seminal 1990 release Chill Out still stands as one of the greatest and most perfect ambient electronica releases ever.

In short, a band worth getting to know.

Recorded and mastered over the course of two days (and apparently recorded in one mammoth take) Chill Out is, as its name suggests, an album for the early morning rather than the night before. It’s the sound of rosy fingered dawn emerging sleepy eyed from behind the horizon, coating existence in swathes of delicious honey and drowsy outlines of amber before playfully chasing somnolent shadows across the horizon. In retrospect, it makes perfect sense that a band active in a scene notorious for getting as close to god as chemically possible would make music like this; Chill Out is the ultimate come down album.

Yet dismissing this as simply another early 90’s pillhead album would be the height of ignorance. You don’t need to be insufflating anything to appreciate this; the music itself is utterly sublime. Delicate waves of synths wash over percussive trains that trundle lazily through sleepy towns, punctuating brief and fragile fragments of conversation that leak out of yawning doors and slowly blinking windows. From time to time, vehement roars emanate from the open doors of a Baptist church that trembles in divine ecstasy. The KLF deserve the highest praise for painting the musical picture of places utterly alien to them, in the process creating an astounding aural soundtrack to a journey that would only ever take place on the shrouded highways of the listeners mind.

This being the good ole days before Gilbert O’Sullivan decided to ruin music, samples are inserted wholesale into the mix; Elvis on the Radio, Steel Guitar in my Soul, which places In the Ghetto over drifting hawaiian guitars, is particularly heart wrenching. Like all good sampling, the individual pieces combined are more than the sum of their parts; church choirs, impassioned preachers, the braying of animals and children - everyday sounds flickering by that somehow succeed in conjuring up intense visions of mysterious and magical places, lonely landscapes and lonelier people.

It’s somewhat ironic that a pair of crazy British house producers working out of a squat in the squalor of Stockwell managed to capture the myriad sounds of an America they had no experience of, portraying perfectly the emotions of people that they would never see; to my knowledge the only thing South London and the Deep South have in common is an inexplicable love of braided hair and fried chicken.



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user ratings (114)
Chart.
4.1
excellent
other reviews of this album
robertsona STAFF (4.5)
...


Comments:Add a Comment 
Adash
October 18th 2010


1356 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

mixmag knows where its at

Adash
October 18th 2010


1356 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

also summary is a quote from Ruaridh Law, not just me being sanctimonious

Yotimi
October 18th 2010


7464 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Sounds like something I need to check out

robertsona
Staff Reviewer
October 18th 2010


16437 Comments


what a coincidence im "digging" this right now also yes yotimi

schlock
October 18th 2010


26 Comments


this is one of my favorite ambient releases ever. used to listen to this all the time as i was falling asleep or hungover

Psilocyanide
October 18th 2010


1823 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Album's great.

Adash
October 19th 2010


1356 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

3AM is god

Adash
October 19th 2010


1356 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

and yeah robertsona your comment on since I left you pleased me so much I decided to do this review

Willie
Moderator
October 19th 2010


17611 Comments


Excellent band and excellent album. I discovered these guys through a remix they did for The Orb.

Adash
October 19th 2010


1356 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

the justified ancients of mu mu made this review return to the front page...

Willie
Moderator
October 19th 2010


17611 Comments


I deleted a bullshit review and this popped right up.

Adash
October 19th 2010


1356 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

how convenient for good music



cheers

Skyler
October 26th 2010


1084 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I need to check out the rest of their discography. They never fail to make interesting music, at least.

Adash
April 20th 2011


1356 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

the powers that be on Sputnik rec this, so check this

aok
April 20th 2011


4500 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

didn't have me as engaged as i thought it would 1st time through =/. i'll give another whirl at some point though

sifFlammable
April 20th 2011


2741 Comments


albums awesome, but, dead inside or not, this isn't a classic for me

Adash
May 10th 2011


1356 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

ah man, this was the soundtrack to the entire 90's comedown

robertsona
Staff Reviewer
May 24th 2011


16437 Comments


wichita lineman was a song i once heard

Yotimi
May 24th 2011


7464 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

^best song I've heard in a long time

Adash
May 25th 2011


1356 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I love our little clique of people who like god music



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