Saturday, August 29, 2009

Saturday Spin: The KLF "The White Room"

As I learn more about music from the electronic realm it amazes me how little minute details will factor into something being classified as a whole new genre. From what I can learn The KLF were innovators of something dubbed “Stadium House” - house music for stadiums? Listening to The White Room, I can see why although I can imagine stadiums being packed to rock out to this.

The album opens with some interesting vocals over subtle back ground music before flashing into an incredibly up beat house banger with a barely capable emcee riding it. His flow is staggered and feels like everything flowing should not be. While his rhymes aren't bad, nor are they great, his inability to gel with the music is a problem.

“Make it Rain” features none of the lame rapping and a better assortment of drums, synths and back ground vocals – the song feels like it could be perfect for a rainy day and music that conveys feeling like that shouldn't be denied. When they slow it down and let the music relax you can find grooves and sometimes instruments that are attention capturing.

From here we are taken through seven more tracks that fall somewhere in between. The rapper does return periodically for mixed results. While never lacking the total connection to the beat again he still feels out of place over these hyped up massive tracks. Filled with electronic drums, simplistic early 90s synth sounds and some creative use of voice manipulation – I'm unsure if they are using the vocorder or voice box, although I think it's the former.

They deliver huge break downs only to bang you in the head again utilizing string sections to some times cool results. The female vocalists employed here add much more to the tracks they are present on, but this could be as much personal preference as I generally tend to enjoy music from the electronic genres that feature ladies laying it down. Maybe their vocal range is just more fiting? Anyone know a great male singer who gets down on some electronic tunes?

The White Room isn't a bad album, but it is certainly dated. It was intended to have a companion disc, The Black Room, that was going to be darker and more ominous – that would be something I'm interested in hearing. As for this album, it's been an experience to hear it and today it shall be filed away. There are elements here that show some great expertise in programing and perhaps even what it took to rock a crowd almost 20 years ago.

1 comment: Syung Myung Me said...

To be fair, I think a lot of why the White Room sounds dated (and I'm not arguing with you -- it does, and while I don't MIND the rapping on it, particularly 3AM Eternal, the dude's not exactly the best) is because it was so successful, particularly in England, that pretty much everyone copped everything from it -- there's a lot of stuff that I hear in it that's all "OH, so the KLF made that Iconic Bit that every house song seems to have!"

I really do recommend _Chill Out_, too -- it's COMPLETELY different; it's ambient (or ambient house, I think they might have called it?), and it's great -- but listen to it, at least the first time, from stem to stern and with headphones. That's the best way to appreciate it. And it's also kinda fun to sleep to, too. (One time, my ex bought the album and we were driving late at night, getting home as we were both kinda tired and she was about to put it in, and I was all "NO. NOT NOW.")