The White Room (KLF album)

The White Room is the fourth and final studio album by British electronic music group The KLF, released in March 1991. Originally scheduled for 1989 as the soundtrack to a film of the same name, the album's direction was changed after both the film and the original soundtrack LP were cancelled. Most tracks on the original album version are present in the final release, though in significantly remixed form.

The White Room
The KLF - The White Room.jpg
Studio album by
Released4 March 1991
  • Trancentral
  • The Village, Dagenham
  • Lillie Yard, London
  • Matrix, London
  • Mixing:
  • Lillie Yard, London
  • The Townhouse, London
  • The Manor, Oxfordshire
LabelKLF Communications
ProducerThe KLF
The KLF chronology
Chill Out
The White Room
The Black Room
Singles from The White Room
  1. "What Time Is Love?"
    Released: 30 July 1990
  2. "3 a.m. Eternal"
    Released: 7 January 1991
  3. "Last Train to Trancentral"
    Released: 22 April 1991
  4. "Justified and Ancient"
    Released: 25 November 1991

A darker, harder complementary album called The Black Room was supposed to follow The White Room, but that plan was abandoned when the KLF retired in 1992.


The White Room was conceived as the soundtrack to a road movie, also called The White Room, about the KLF's search for the mystical White Room that would enable them to be released from their contract with Eternity. Parts of the movie were filmed in the Sierra Nevada region of Spain, using the money that the duo, under the alias The Timelords, had made with their 1988 number one hit "Doctorin' the Tardis".[1] The soundtrack album contained pop-house versions of some of the KLF's earlier "Pure Trance" singles, as well as new songs.

The film project was fraught with difficulties and setbacks, including dwindling funds. Drummond and Cauty had released "Kylie Said to Jason" (), a single from the original soundtrack, in the hopes that it could "rescue them from the jaws of bankruptcy"; it flopped commercially, however, failing to make even the UK top 100. As a consequence, The White Room film project was put on hold, and the KLF abandoned the musical direction of the soundtrack and single.[2] Neither the film nor the soundtrack album were formally released, although bootleg copies of both exist.

Meanwhile, the KLF's single "What Time Is Love?", which had originally been released in 1988 and largely ignored by the public, was generating acclaim within the underground clubs of continental Europe; according to KLF Communications, "The KLF were being feted by all the 'right' DJs".[2] This prompted Drummond and Cauty to pursue the acid house tone of their Pure Trance series. A further Pure Trance release, "Last Train to Trancentral", followed.

In October 1990, the KLF launched a series of singles with an upbeat pop-house sound they dubbed "Stadium House". Songs from The White Room soundtrack were re-recorded with rap and more vocals (by guests labelled "Additional Communicators"), a sample-heavy pop-rock production, and crowd noise samples. The "Stadium House" versions of "What Time Is Love?" and "3 a.m. Eternal" were immediate hits, with "3 a.m. Eternal" becoming the KLF's second, and the only one under the name, number-one release. These "Stadium House" tracks made up a large part of The White Room when it was eventually released in March 1991, substantially reworked from the original version. Aside from the singles, "Make It Rain", "Build a Fire", "Church of the KLF" and "The White Room" appeared in significantly more minimal, ambient and dub-oriented versions on the final album. "Go To Sleep" was reworked to become "Last Train To Trancentral".

Critical receptionEdit

Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic     [3]
Entertainment WeeklyA−[4]
Los Angeles Times     [5]
Q     [6]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide     [7]
Slant Magazine     [9]
The Village VoiceA−[10]

Iestyn George of Q called The White Room "strikingly imaginative" and "a more subtle form of subterfuge" than previous works.[6] In a retrospective review of the album, John Bush of AllMusic said that The White Room "represents the commercial and artistic peak of late-'80s acid-house"[3] A retrospective review by Splendid magazine thought some of the tracks to be filler and the album "silly" in places, but were extremely impressed by the "Stadium House" songs. "As providers of perverse, throwaway, three-minute pop-song manna," they concluded, "the KLF were punk rock, the Renaissance, Andy Warhol and Jesus Christ all rolled into one."[11]

In 1993, NME staff and contributors voted the album the 81st best of all time,[12] and in 2000, Q magazine listed it as the 89th best British album of all time.[13] Scotland on Sunday listed The White Room in their "Essential 100",[14] and readers of Scotland's Is this music? magazine voted the album the 44th best "Scottish" LP of all time.[15] The White Room is included in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.[16]

Release detailsEdit

1989: Tunes From The White Room (unreleased)Edit

The original recorded was planned for release in 1989 as Tunes From The White Room.[17][18]

1."Kylie Said to Jason" (Edit)4:05
2."3 a.m. Eternal" (Pure Trance Original) (Edit)4:24
3."Go to Sleep"3:44
4."Make It Rain"3:43
5."Church of the KLF"3:58
6."No More Tears"3:26
7."Build a Fire"5:02
8."The Lovers' Side"4:24
9."The White Room"4:31
10."Born Free"3:02

Tracklist source: KLF Discography[19]

1991 album releaseEdit

The running times below are for the version of The White Room released on CD in Sweden. Most releases of the album outside of North America had the same audio content, but located the track markers differently depending on which label released the CD.

1."What Time Is Love?" (LP Mix)4:37
2."Make It Rain"4:06
3."3 a.m. Eternal" (Live at the S.S.L.)3:14
4."Church of the KLF"1:42
5."Last Train to Trancentral" (LP Mix)6:04
6."Build a Fire"4:39
7."The White Room"5:14
8."No More Tears"9:24
9."Justified and Ancient"4:43

The UK CD release (JAMS CD006)'s sleeve lists it as a 9-track CD, however the disc only has 8 tracks. Track 4 "Church of the KLF" is on the end of the track 3, moving all other tracks up a number. The sleeve also states the album is 45:05 long but in fact it is only 43:43 long.

1991 North American releaseEdit

The North American Arista release suffers from various modifications, most notably slight edits to some tracks. While it is widely thought to be edited by the label, this version was prepared by the KLF themselves in March 1991 to save costs on sample usage, prior to its June 1991 release.[20]

1."Justified and Ancient" (Excerpt) (unlisted)1:31
2."What Time Is Love?" ("LP Mix"/Live At Trancentral - 7" Radio Edit) (early fade out)3:46
3."Make It Rain" (samples from Stevie Wonder's Fingertips Part 2 removed, early fade-out)3:37
4."3 a.m. Eternal" (Live at the S.S.L. - Radio Edit)3:35
5."Church of the KLF"1:53
6."Last Train to Trancentral" (Live From The Lost Continent - Radio Edit) (spoken intro removed)3:41
7."Build a Fire"4:34
8."The White Room"5:14
9."No More Tears" (Early fade-out)6:42
10."Justified and Ancient" (extra wind noise)5:04

In 1992 Arista released The White Room as a two-disc package with the five-track "Justified & Ancient" single as the second disc. This disc also contained the album version (listed as '"The White Room" Version'), meaning that the album version was included twice on this package. In 2003 the package was re-released with all tracks on a single disc, including the redundant album version of "Justified & Ancient".


Additional performersEdit



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  2. ^ a b "The White Room - Information Sheet Eight". KLF Communications. August 1990. Cite has empty unknown parameters: |subscription=, |subjectlink2=, |registration=, |subjectlink=, and |editors= (help) Archived (via the Library of Mu) on 5 October 2007.Wikipedia:WikiProject The KLF/LibraryOfMu/508
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  15. ^ "The Razz Rock: Grand prize for Fan Club ; Album named best of all time", Daily Record (Glasgow), 1 April 2005, Features section, p43.
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