Last Train to Trancentral

Last Train to Trancentral

Infobox Single
Name = Last Train to Trancentral

Caption = Pure Trance Original cover
Artist = The KLF
Released = March 1990
Format = 12", Audio CD
Recorded = Trancentral
Genre = House
Length = 6:42
Label = KLF Communications (UK)
Producer = Drummond/Cauty
Misc = Extra chronology
Artist = Drummond & Cauty
Type = singles
Last single = "Kylie Said to Jason" (1989)
This single = "Last Train to Trancentral (Pure Trance 5)" (1990)
Next single = "What Time Is Love? (Live at Trancentral)" (1990)
Extra chronology
Last single = "3 a.m. Eternal (Live at the S.S.L.)" (1991)
This single = "Last Train to Trancentral (Live from the Lost Continent)" (1991)
Next single = "" (1991)
Extra album cover
Upper caption = Alternate covers

Lower caption = Live from the Lost Continent cover

"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.

Origins and versions

"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".

Pure Trance version

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. [A few (less than ten) copies of "Love Trance" have been found in circulation, but Drummond and Cauty have not publicly confirmed their authenticity.Fact|date=March 2007]

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". ["Last Train from Transylvania", "Record Mirror", 16 December 1989 ( [ link] ).]

LP version

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.

tadium House version

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".

Reaction and influence

"Record Mirror" noted the "ethereal atmospherics" of the "Pure Trance" version, ["Last Train To Trancentral" review, "Record Mirror", 6 January 1990 ( [ link] ).] but the single was poorly received by "Melody Maker", who interpreted it as a joke: "'Look how mischievous we are', the fatheads giggle!" ["Last Train to Trancentral" review, "Melody Maker", 20 January 1990 ( [ link] ).] In comparing "Last Train to Trancentral (Live from the Lost Continent)" to the KLF single "Justified and Ancient", "NME" called the former a "sheer frantic rush". [Williams, S., "Justified and Ancient" review, "New Musical Express", 7 December 1991 ( [ link] ).] "NME" also named the single as 15th best of 1991. ["New Musical Express", chart of the "NME"s favourite singles of 1991, 21 December 1991.]

"Splendid" Magazine said of the LP version: "The cries of "Mu Mu! Mu Mu! Mu Mu! Mu Mu!" take on a strangely liberating, mantra-like feel. It's the essence of great pop music, of great dance music, wholly compressed." [Harrison, A., "The White Room" review, "Splendid" Magazine ( [ link] )]

"Last Train to Trancentral (Live from the Lost Continent)" is used in the finale for Blue Man Group's theatrical show. Blue Man Group produced a special 5.1 version of the song utilizing some of their invented instruments for their newer performance venues. Blue Man Group's "The Complex" features pieces from the so-called "Rock Concert Instruction Manual", a tongue-in-cheek deconstruction of pop music and the rock concert experience; this alludes to the KLF Communications publication "The Manual". Their cover version was released as a single in 2006.


Trancentral was described as "the spiritual home of The KLF". [Cauty, C., "KLF Communications Info Sheet 7", December 1989 ( [ link] ).] This concept is reinforced by the "LP Version" of "Last Train to Trancentral", which describes the journey to Trancentral as a spiritual awakening, and the place itself a forum for spiritual realisation. Describing his journey, rapper Ricardo Da Force says "A brand new day is dawning, a light that will anoint me, a sign from the subconscious, an angel sent to guide me, the searchin' will be over, the call will now be gentle...". He also says, "Relax - there's only one place I'm headed now: I'm going into Trancentral where I can, you understand, liberate and free the psyche, balance my mind and my body...". [Lyte, R., "Last Train to Trancentral (LP Version)", "The White Room", KLF Communications JAMS LP6.] The KLF's later output implied that Trancentral was analogous to "Mu Mu Land" - the Lost Continent of Mu [The KLF's December 1991 single, "" includes the lyrics: "The last train left an hour ago, they were singing 'all aboard', all bound for Mu Mu Land...".] - and that The KLF's journey "home" was ultimately unsuccessful. ["KLF Communications Info Sheet 23", May 1992 ( [ link] ).]

In reality, Trancentral was the name of The KLF's recording studio in Stockwell, that was also The KLF co-founder Jimmy Cauty's squat. Cauty lived at Trancentral for approximately 12 years until Autumn 1991, claiming on one occasion, "I hate the place. I've no alternative but to live here". [Kelly, D., "Welcome To The Sheep Seats", "New Musical Express", 29 February 1992 ( [ link] ).] Stubbs, D., "Pranks for the Memory", "Melody Maker", 16 February 1991 ( [ link] ).] Trancentral was described in February 1991 by a visiting "Melody Maker" journalist, who noted:

Trancentral circa 1989 was described retrospectively as:

Trancentral is often mentioned in The KLF's work, and is the likely motivation behind a motif of The KLF, in which speakers are arranged to form a capital T. This logo appeared on KLF Communications recordings and merchandise.


"Last Train to Trancentral (Pure Trance version)" was written and performed by The KLF (Bill Drummond and Jimmy Cauty). For other versions of the song, credit is given to Drummond and Cauty for production, performance and programming. Additional contributors on these versions include:
* Ricardo Da Force - rap and narration
* Black Steel - vocals (except Moody Boys versions)
* Wanda Dee - vocals (the sample "Come on boy, d'ya wanna ride?") ("Live from the Lost Continent")
* Maxine Harvey - vocals ("LP version", Moody Boys versions)
* Nick Coler - keyboards
* Tony Thorpe - 'groove consultant' ("Live from the Lost Continent"), remixing (Moody Boys versions)

Formats and track listings

"Last Train to Trancentral (Pure Trance remix)" was aired as a UK 12" single in March 1990, in an issue limited to 2000 copies. [KLF Communications, Information Sheet Eight, August 1990 ( [ link] ).] "Last Train to Trancentral (Live from the Lost Continent)" was given an international release as a single on 22 April 1991. A single of remixes by The Moody Boys was given a limited release on 6 May 1991.


* [ Library of Mu press archive] - a library of KLF-related press clippings
*, [ KLF Communications discography]
*Longmire, Ernie et al (2005). [ KLF discography] [Compiled by Ernie Longmire, this has been the authoritative KLF discography on the internet for some 10 years or more and has been the subject of long-term scrutiny and peer review by KLF fans and collectors. It is now maintained by the fan site]
*Author unknown (1991). "The KLF: Enigmatic dance duo" (feature and discography up to that time), "Record Collector" Magazine, April 1991.


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