The Real Story Behind it
Ambient: Trip One
(The accidental remake of Chill Out)
The story regarding
"A little mix I did way back in 1991".
I had been a proper vinyl junkie from the day I started earning money, I was constantly in and out of record stores buying a whole range of genres, on top of that I was also building up a decent array of audio equipment. After a short stint ‘Working’ in a recording studio (I was basically 'The Gopher') the engineering & production of sound became my passion.
Along with that I was obsessed with mega mixes. DMC, Music Factory and all sorts of white label stuff from Europe and America.
Eventually I had a pretty decent set up at my mum and dad’s house… Technics 1210’s plus Technics amps, cassette decks, cd players etc, along with a pretty nifty Numark 1775 mixer and Linn speakers,
so sound quality was outstanding. The Numark had the bonus of a four second sampler, a landmark feature at the time, and the ability to add echo to each of the individual inputs.
The best bit of kit I bought was a little Fostex 160 portastudio. A simple four track recorder that, in the early days, I helped out local artists, musicians, and bands produce demos on.
Amongst other projects created on the Fostex I’d even done the soundtrack for a fashion show to launch a new BMW 3 series for Howarth of Rochdale.
Now fast forward to 1991.....
and the point of this article.
The KLFs (1990) Chill Out was regularly on the decks at home & with it’s quirky, homemade feel, it inspired me to create something similar for those late night/early morning moments at friends houses after some serious clubbing. I was constantly doing the standard track to track mixtapes of the latest ‘Rave Tunes’ that’d be banging out in the car for the journey to and from whichever club in the country we’d decided to travel to that weekend. The luxury of choosing my own playlist for said tapes was pure joy but replaying them when back at someone’s house didn’t really suit the ambiance.
There was no set idea or choice of material but obviously it would be influenced by stuff I actually owned and was listening to around that time. I had plenty of (dialogue/vocal) samples, sound effects and KLF material but something was missing!
My cousin David has a fantastic record collection, it’s thanks to him that the Steve Miller Band (Song For Our Ancestors), Can (Vitamin C) & Stevie Wonders (The First Garden) made an appearance after being allowed to trawl through them all. I even raided the record collection of a friend who was the headmaster from a local school, which spawned the inclusion of Isao Tomitas (Close Encounters of the Third Kind).
Anyway…. I spent a few months dipping in & out of the project, playing with ideas and deciding which tracks and sound effects felt right. I did a few demo mixes for my mates which always went down well when played at the appropriate time and that’s about as far as it traveled. Still being a vinyl addict I was always searching for rare releases, especially anything by the KLF. One of those searches led me to some very hard to find items from a bloke down south called Mike Dutton! After buying said items he asked me if I had anything interesting related to the KLF and, if so, we could perhaps do some swaps etc. I sent him a cassette of my little mix. A couple of complete versions (both slightly different) plus a few shorter, alternative takes on the mix, which incidentally I didn’t take copies of, due to the fact that I hadn’t actually recorded a finished version that I was happy with. One of the extra versions was me just fooling around with the jog wheel on one of the Technics cd players which made whatever was playing, which was The White Room album, stutter. In return he sent me a cassette of The White Room Demos.
I finally committed to a final mix in September 1991 along with several out takes and, as I called them, dubs. Once I burned the final mix to cd and called it Ambient: Trip One, I put the project to bed.
AND THAT... I THOUGHT... WAS WHERE IT ENDED!
The Birth of Chillout 2
Thirteen years later I eventually caught up with the rest of the world and bought my first computer off a friend. He’s a proper Apple nerd so he quickly showed me the basic things I needed to know.
First priority was obviously music so he steered me to a site called Lime-wire and the first search I did was KLF.
That’s where things got very interesting.
All the familiar stuff was listed BUT one particular thing grabbed my attention. It was titled Chill Out Mega Mix (Ultra Rare)
So I promptly hit play……
After listening for literally 30 seconds I realised it was my work, it was actually the first complete version off the cassette I’d shared with the guy down south!!!!
This instantly put me into OCD mode & I spent days researching the internet gathering as much information as I could about my little mix.
THE BIRTH OF CHILL OUT 2.
Beyond the Chill Out mega mix tag my research dragged up how significant the recording was regarded. This was the first time I discovered it’d been tagged Chill Out 2. There was part one, the mega mix and part two, the second complete version from the shared cassette. It was even suggested that it was some lost session by Bill & Jimmy which really made me laugh. Even the extra bits I added to the infamous cassette were renamed What Goes On & touted as original KLF material!
After reading as much as I could find on the net relating to the hype that my recording’s had been built up as unreleased, unearthed and more importantly original KLF music I announced the fact (Via the old KLF mailing list) that it was actually created by a young lad from Lancashire in his bedroom.
The BIG announcement was justifiably met with a fair amount of scepticism from some members of the list but the offer I made in the post to share, free of charge, a direct cd copy of my ‘Final Mix’ was accepted by many members & I sent dozens of discs all over the world..........
A couple of years later pretty much all activities on the mailing list had moved over to the KLF facebook page. To ‘Get Involved’ I posted a link to SoundCloud where I’d recently uploaded The Final Mix which, for the first time anywhere, included the full track list.
In a funny way listing everything I’d included added more authenticity to the fact that it was a ‘Fan Mix’. Over the years nobody had been able to identify many of the dialogue/music/samples I’d used.
REMAKES OF THE REMAKE.
The reality of knowing that an innocent mess about that you’d done in your bedroom had become
a ‘Thing’ was a strange experience. I doubt I’d have ever given it another thought but the attention it’d received
made me get it out of bed and take a new look at the whole project.
The massive leaps in technology since 1991 meant I could play with the original ingredients in a completely new way.
Revisit & Resurrection were done on a MacBook Pro using the Traktor Pro 2 program from Native Instruments.
I’m really happy with both versions BUT nothing will ever match the analogue recording & manual mixing of the first, original version.
THE REST... AS THEY SAY... IS HISTORY!
On a separate but related note I was amazed how many times extracts, snippets and even chunks of my little mix had been used in other people’s compositions. It was heavily, and in my opinion badly, plagiarised throughout a bootleg called Made @ 3 A.M. Coming Down Off E. Discogs even suggests in the notes of the release that it’s ‘An unearthed studio session, recorded most likely late 1989’ which is absolute garbage considering that the first time I shared it with the ‘Southerner’ was 1991!
Many parts have also appeared across the ‘Recovered and Remastered’ collection including ‘This is not what chill out is about’ and ‘Chill out is not what this about’, Live from the lost continent, Deep shit the cult of Mu etc etc. Influences can also be heard in ‘This Is not what space is about’.
There are many more examples but I don’t want to bore you. The fact that anyone has used bits of Trip one I actually take as a compliment.