2017 is the duo’s 30th anniversary.
On January 1, a bizarre 40-minute video showed up on YouTube. Entitled ‘KLF 01 01 2017 WTF FOUND VHS’, the collage of clips was initially shown in 2015 at a special KLF night at Bristol’s Cube Cinema, and rumors about the return of The KLF are already circulating.
The influential electronic duo initially formed in 1987, splicing together anarchic rap-influenced productions under the moniker The Justified Ancients of Mu Mu. They switched the moniker to The KLF a year later, embarking on a career that would find the two industry veterans – ex-art student and guitarist Jimmy Cauty and established industry impresario Bill Drummond – challenging the established status quo again and again.
2017 is their 30th anniversary, and the 23rd anniversary of their most notorious stunt, when they burned a million pounds. Now, 23 might not sound like a particularly important anniversary but it has a particular significance for the band. Influenced by Robert Shea and Robert Anton Wilson’s cult sci-fi books Illuminatus!, the duo returned to the number 23 again and again.
In numerology, 23 is an important number. It relates to the Law of Fives (2 + 3 = 5) and is seen as both luck and unlucky at times. The KLF have used the number repeatedly, referring to it on the lyrics to ‘Next’ and performing live for only 23 minutes when they re-formed in 1997.
When they famously burned one million pounds, they commented that they would not be allowed to speak about the incident for 23 years, having signed a contract. Now that time period is up, it remains to be seen whether the duo will indeed make a return. Thankfully, the signs are positive – aside from the appearance of the video, Ninja Tune veteran DJ Food cryptically referred to their re-emergence in 2017 in a year end wrap-up post on his personal site.
Listen to the band’s classic Chill Out in full below. [via BrooklynVegan]