Come Down Dawn
Thirty years later, there still isn’t anything quite like The KLF’s Chill Out. Certainly there’ve been more hybrids of techno and ambient music, from the ambient house of the ’90s through deep house and the new-agey peripheries of modern electronic music. But the whimsy and dreaminess of the duo’s collaged-together world of train sounds, pillowy synths, radio voices, and half-remembered song fragments (including of their own blockbuster trance singles) still feel more like the exception to the rule. Long before the hyper-stimulated clutter of the internet—let alone YouTube’s algorithmic fantasias of loops to, well, chill out to—Chill Out conceived of an aesthetic that was information-saturated yet soothing, a tabs-open lullaby of unrelated sounds all running at the same time. In the parlance of digital life, we call it streaming, but usually it feels like a tsunami; Chill Out, on the other hand, is a babbling brook.
Released on the heels of the 2021 compilation Solid State Logik 1, Come Down Dawn is, in effect, a reworking of Chill Out: some samples removed, some material added, some rearranged. For those familiar with the original album, the music here—especially the last 10 minutes—will still seem fresh. (In fact, the more familiar with the album you are, the fresher the little micro-changes and remixed elements will seem.) For those who’ve never heard Chill Out before, welcome, and please mind the sheep.