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The easy way

I haven't yet heard Klaxons' album, which Simon describes as "The kind of odd bodge that only the UK music scene produces. Sounding variously like Bizarre Inc buggered by Age of Chance, Aha mugged by Lo-Fidelity Allstars, World of Twist in a scrum with Manic Street Preachers. Their real spiritual forbear, though, now I think of it, is the KLF. Especially on the lyrical front, all over-ripe vision-quest and epic adventure imagery."

Uncanny times two, because when I interviewed Klaxons' Jamie Reynolds (lovely chap, by the way, even if he talks a mile a minute--total interviewer's nightmare), and we got on to talking about pop, he confessed something interesting. Not just that he envisioned Klaxons strictly as a pop band, aiming to reach the greatest mass of people possible, but that he had studied the manual as well: that's right, The Manual: How to Have a Number 1 the Easy Way, by the KLF's Bill Drummond and Jimmy Cauty, in which they prescribe their foolproof plan for landing a single in the UK charts.

"I literally read that book and put it into practice," said Reynolds when I talked to him. "I took direct instructions from it, if you like. Get yourself a studio, get a groove going, sing some absolute nonsense over the top, but a breakbeat behind, it and you're away! That's what I did! That's genuinely it. I read that, I noted down the golden rules of pop, and applied that to what we're doing and made sure that that always applies to everything we do. That way, we always come out with a sort of catchy hit number."

You wonder why more peoplep don't do it, I said, and he agreed. "This is it! It depends whether or not you want to be a pop band, we said we wanted to be a subversive pop, and for our structure, I'm following the golden rules every step of the way."


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I finally read The Manual recently and it made me want to listen to The White Room again, so I bought a used copy. I hadn't heard it since it came out. That album is pop genius. If you put it on and just sort of hear it, it sounds almost random and ridiculous. But if you pay any attention to it at all, you realize what you're hearing is artfully weird, twisted, and strange beyond belief.

Enjoyed the article, Philip. I'd also be curious to read an article on the current state of rave in the USA. I know there are still raves going on, at least on the West Coast (I see flyers now and then) and I wonder what the hell the crowd is like. I'm sure it's all trance and other critically reviled styles... As far I can tell it's completely unreported and al but invisible, which makes me all the more curious what's actually going on... who's going to these? Then again, I suppose I could just go to one, right? ;)

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