​The British Library acquires “only existing” physical copy of the KLF’s debut album

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The British Library has acquired ‘The Acetate’, a rare disc containing the “only existing” physical copy of ‘1987 (What the F**k Was Going On?)’ from The Justified Ancients of Mu Mu – later known as the KLF.

The reconstructed version of their debut studio album will be part of the British Library’s archived collection, The KLF Kollection, also containing all surviving KLF Communications master tapes.

The collection is due to become available to the public for one week only from 11:23AM on August 23, 2023, where visitors can listen to the recording for free via the Library’s Sound Gallery.

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From then, the album will be available to listen to in the Library’s Reading Rooms in perpetuity for “research, inspiration and enjoyment”.

‘The Acetate’ is the only existing physical copy of the KLF’s debut record, officially credited to The Ice Kream Van, and was unpublished by KLF Communications in 2023.

The album was originally recorded by Jimmy Cauty – AKA Rockman Rock – and Bill Drummond – AKA King Boy D – under their Justified Ancients of Mu Mu alias. The beloved duo also shared a handful of other monikers including The JAMS, The Timelords, and 2K.

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Together, Cauty and Drummond became one of the most significant electronic music duos in the UK, regarded as conceptual artists or cultural anarchists who challenged the sound of mainstream music from the late 1980s.

“As a lifetime, card-carrying and founding member of The KLF Re-Enactment Society, I felt it my duty to not only ‘re-enact’ The Justified Ancients of Mu Mu’s album ‘1987 (Blah, Blah, Blah?)’ but present it to the world in a way far superior than their original version,” the KLF said.

“That said, I am very aware, even if they are not aware that I am aware, that my aging Ice Kream Men, have ‘pirated’ a copy of my re-enactment’ and have had an acetate cut of it and have ‘donated’ their pirated copy to the British Library for those that visit such places. Yours forever… The Ice Kream Van.”

Find out more about The KLF Kollection and their forthcoming screening and Q&A at the BFI here.

Gemma Ross is Mixmag’s Assistant Editor, follow her on Twitter

Written by: Tim Hopkins

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