The White Room

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For other uses, see White Room (disambiguation).
The White Room
Studio album by The KLF
Released March 1991
Recorded Trancentral
The Village, Dagenham
Lillie Yard, London
Matrix, London
Mixing:
Lillie Yard, London
The Townhouse, London
The Manor, Oxfordshire
Genre Acid house, ambient house, trance
Length 45:05
Label KLF Communications
Producer The KLF
The KLF chronology
Chill Out
(1990)
The White Room
(1991)
The Black Room
(Unreleased)
Singles from The White Room
  1. "What Time Is Love?"
    Released: July 1990
  2. "3 a.m. Eternal"
    Released: January 1991
  3. "Last Train to Trancentral"
    Released: April 1991
  4. "Justified and Ancient"
    Released: November 1991

The White Room is the fourth, and final to be released, studio album by British house music group The KLF, released in March 1991. Originally scheduled to be released in 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 at the last moment. Most of the tracks on the original version of the album are present in the final release, though in significantly remixed form.

The White Room was supposed to be followed by a darker, harder complementary album called The Black Room, but the latter was never released due to the KLF's retirement from the music business in 1992.

Background[edit]

The White Room was conceived as the soundtrack to a road movie, also called The White Room, about the KLF's search for the mystical White Room that would enable them to be released from their contract with Eternity. Parts of the movie were filmed in the Sierra Nevada region of Spain, using the money that the duo, under the alias The Timelords, had made with their 1988 number one hit "Doctorin' the Tardis".[1] The soundtrack album contained pop-house versions of some of the KLF's earlier "Pure Trance" singles, as well as new songs.

The film project was fraught with difficulties and setbacks, including dwindling funds. Drummond and Cauty had released "Kylie Said to Jason" (About this sound sample ), a single from the original soundtrack, in the hopes that it could "rescue them from the jaws of bankruptcy"; it flopped commercially, however, failing to make even the UK top 100. As a consequence, The White Room film project was put on hold, and the KLF abandoned the musical direction of the soundtrack and single.[2] Neither the film nor its soundtrack were formally released, although bootleg copies of both exist.

Meanwhile, the KLF's single "What Time Is Love?", which had originally been released in 1988 and largely ignored by the public, was generating acclaim within the underground clubs of continental Europe; according to KLF Communications, "The KLF were being feted by all the 'right' DJs".[2] This prompted Drummond and Cauty to pursue the acid house tone of their Pure Trance series. A further Pure Trance release, "Last Train to Trancentral", followed.

In October 1990, the KLF launched a series of singles with an upbeat pop-house sound they dubbed "Stadium House". Songs from The White Room soundtrack were re-recorded with rap and more vocals (by guests labelled "Additional Communicators"), a sample-heavy pop-rock production, and crowd noise samples. The "Stadium House" versions of "What Time Is Love?" and "3 a.m. Eternal" were immediate hits, with "3 a.m. Eternal" becoming the KLF's second, and the only one under the name, number-one release. These "Stadium House" tracks made up a large part of The White Room when it was eventually released in March 1991, substantially reworked from the original soundtrack version. Aside from the singles, "Make It Rain", "Build a Fire", "Church of the KLF" and "The White Room" appeared in significantly more minimal, ambient and dub-oriented versions on the final album. "Go To Sleep" was reworked to become "Last Train To Trancentral".

Of the original mixes recorded for the film soundtrack, only "Kylie Said to Jason" (which was omitted from the final tracklist) and a version of "Build a Fire" saw legitimate commercial release.

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 5/5 stars[3]
Entertainment Weekly A−[4]
Q magazine 4/5 stars[5]
Robert Christgau A−[6]

Allmusic said that The White Room "represents the commercial and artistic peak of late-'80s acid-house"[7] and Q magazine called it "strikingly imaginative" and "a more subtle form of subterfuge" than previous works.[8] A retrospective review by Splendid Magazine thought some of the tracks to be filler and the album "silly" in places, but were extremely impressed by the "Stadium House" songs. "As providers of perverse, throwaway, three-minute pop-song manna," they concluded, "the KLF were punk rock, the Renaissance, Andy Warhol and Jesus Christ all rolled into one."[9]

In 1993, NME staff and contributors voted the album the 81st best of all time.[10][11] The Guardian listed it at the 89th best British album of all time[12] and Scotland on Sunday listed the album in their "Essential 100".[13] Readers of Scotland's Is this music? magazine voted The White Room the 44th best "Scottish" LP of all time.[14] In 2000 Q magazine placed it at number 89 in its list of the 100 Greatest British Albums Ever. It is also featured in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.

Release details[edit]

Original unreleased soundtrack[edit]

No. Title Length
1. "Kylie Said to Jason" (Edit) 4:05
2. "3 a.m. Eternal"   4:24
3. "Go to Sleep"   3:44
4. "Make It Rain"   3:43
5. "Church of the KLF"   3:58
6. "No More Tears"   3:26
7. "Build a Fire"   5:02
8. "The Lovers' Side"   4:24
9. "The White Room"   4:31
10. "Born Free"   3:02

1991 album release[edit]

The running times below are for the version of The White Room released on CD in Germany. Most releases of the album outside of North America had the same audio content, but located the track markers differently depending on which label released the CD.

No. Title Length
1. "What Time Is Love?" (LP Mix) 4:37
2. "Make It Rain"   4:06
3. "3 a.m. Eternal" (Live at the S.S.L.) 3:14
4. "Church of the KLF"   1:42
5. "Last Train to Trancentral" (LP Mix) 6:04
6. "Build a Fire"   4:39
7. "The White Room"   5:14
8. "No More Tears"   9:24
9. "Justified and Ancient"   4:43

In the North American Arista release, samples of crowd noise from U2's Rattle and Hum album, used to segue between the "Stadium House" tracks, are removed, leading to abrupt and awkward transitions between these tracks; additionally, "No More Tears" is shortened and "Last Train to Trancentral" appears in its significantly different stadium house single version. Samples from Stevie Wonder's "Fingertips Part 2" were also removed from "Make It Rain".

In 1992 Arista released The White Room as a 2-disc-package with the Justified & Ancient 5-track-single. In 2003 it was re-released as 1 disc; strangely Justified and Ancient's album version, which is part of the single release (as "The White Room" Version), also was added, therefore the album version now was included twice.

Personnel[edit]

Additional performers[edit]
  • Nick Coler – keyboards, additional programming, backing vocals ("3 a.m. Eternal")
  • Maxine Harvey – vocals, backing vocals (except "What Time Is Love?", "Justified and Ancient")
  • Black Steel – vocals, scat singing, bass guitar ("No More Tears", "Justified and Ancient"), piano ("No More Tears")
  • Ricardo Lyte – rap ("3 a.m. Eternal" and "Last Train to Trancentral")
  • Isaac Bello – rap ("What Time Is Love?")
  • Tony Thorpebreaks, samples
  • Duy Khiem – tenor saxophone ("Make It Rain"), clarinet ("The White Room")
  • Graham Leepedal steel ("Build a Fire")
  • P. P. Arnold

References[edit]

  1. ^ Mellor, C. "Beam Me Up, Scotty – How to have a number one (The JAMs way)", Offbeat Magazine, February 1989 (link)
  2. ^ a b KLF Communications, "Information Sheet Eight", August 1990 (link)
  3. ^ Allmusic Review
  4. ^ Fox, Marisa (9 August 1991). "The White Room: Music Review:Entertainment Weekly". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 23 August 2009. 
  5. ^ Q magazine Review
  6. ^ "Cg: The Klf". Robert Christgau. Retrieved 8 January 2012. 
  7. ^ Bush, J., The White Room review, Allmusic (link)
  8. ^ George, Iestyn, The White Room review, Q magazine, March 1991 (link)
  9. ^ Harrison, A., The White Room review, Splendid Magazine (link)
  10. ^ [1][dead link]
  11. ^ Latest Reviews from NME.com – Music Videos, CDs, Gig Reviews & More
  12. ^ "The top 100 British albums", The Guardian (Manchester), 2 May 2000, p9.
  13. ^ "Essential 100 CDs – Part 3", Scotland on Sunday (Edinburgh), 29 April 2001, p19.
  14. ^ "The Razz Rock: Grand prize for Fan Club ; Album named best of all time", Daily Record (Glasgow), 1 April 2005, Features section, p43.