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KLF ~ Last Train To Transcentral

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Published on Mar 24, 2009

"Last Train to Trancentral" is a song released, in different mixes, as a series of singles by The KLF, including "Last Train to Trancentral (Live from the Lost Continent)", a commercially successful single of April 1991 that reached # 2 in the UK Singles Chart and achieved international top ten placings. "Last Train to Trancentral" is a central song within The KLF's work, and is distinctive for an uplifting string-orchestrated break. It was used by Exeter City fc during their promotion season 2007-08 prior to kick-off in order to generate an atmosphere.

"Last Train to Trancentral" is related to The KLF's unreleased earlier tracks "E-Train to Trancentral" and, from the 1989 soundtrack to their film The White Room, "Go to Sleep". Both the film and the soundtrack were abandoned in 1989, due to spiralling costs and the commercial failure of the soundtrack single "Kylie Said to Jason". However, much of the musical material was salvaged and substantially remodelled to form the basis of their later, commercially successful work. In particular, bootlegged copies of "Go to Sleep" reveal many chord sequences and melodies later used in "Last Train to Trancentral".

The original March 1990 12" single constituted the third of The KLF's "Pure Trance" series. The sleeve, emblazoned with the number 5, reflects The KLF's prior intention that this be the fifth contribution to the series, but two titles ("Love Trance, and Turn up the Strobe") were never given formal releases.[1]
The "Pure Trance" version of "Last Train to Trancentral" is a minimalist ambient house reworking of "Go to Sleep", stripped of the female vocals and most of The KLF co-founder Bill Drummond's narration. It features a strained, chordless synthesiser melody and a progressive instrumental build-up into a string-orchestrated break. Some parts of the track are purely percussive, punctuated by the bleats of sheep. The track was incorporated into The KLF's February 1990 album Chill Out, for which they have been credited as pioneers of the ambient house genre. Indeed, upon its release, "Last Train to Trancentral (Pure Trance version)" was not easily categorised, with Record Mirror claiming that "it isn't a dance track".

In March 1991, a version of "Last Train to Trancentral" appeared on The KLF LP The White Room. Featuring vocals by reggae musician Black Steel and a rap by Ricardo Da Force, this house reworking follows a conventional song structure, with a rhythm that mimics the sound of a train in motion along its tracks. It uses the theme of a journey to bridge the two sides of the LP, from uptempo pop-house music to a downtempo collection of songs.

In April 1991, some elements of the "LP Version" were further reworked into a commercially-minded single release. Entitled "Last Train to Trancentral (Live from the Lost Continent)", this was the third and final instalment of The KLF's so-called "Stadium House Trilogy" of singles, following up "What Time Is Love?" and "3 a.m. Eternal" during the peak of the band's mainstream popularity. This version reached #2 in the UK Singles Chart, and found top ten chart success internationally. The track preserves the chord progression and string break of previous versions, placed in the context of a relentless, sample-filled rave arrangement. Unlike the prior Stadium House offerings, no rap is added, but the trilogy is consolidated by the presence of distinctive samples from both "What Time Is Love?" and "3 a.m. Eternal". As with much of The KLF's output, the track is jubilant and highly self-referential, purporting that it has a message to deliver yet proceeding with deliberate ambiguity. Also typical of The KLF, it refers to The Illuminatus! Trilogy novels and the Lost Continent of Mu. The song features on The KLF's video The Stadium House Trilogy.
A remix 12" credited to The Moody Boys was released alongside the Stadium House arrangement. Entitled "The KLF Meets The Moody Boys Uptown", The Moody Boys' remixes bear little resemblance to the released song, drawing on parts of "Go to Sleep" that are not common to other versions of "Last Train to Trancentral". [info courtesy: wikipedia.org]

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