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KLF-man wants to teach Norwich to sing

PUBLISHED: 12:39 04 March 2009 | UPDATED: 15:40 29 October 2010

Sarah Hall

He's infamous for burning £1m in the name of art following his chart-topping pop career, but for his latest project ex-KLF man Bill Drummond wants to teach Norwich to sing. DAN GRIMMER reports.

He's infamous for burning £1 million in the name of art following his chart-topping pop career, but for his latest project ex-KLF man Bill Drummond wants to teach Norwich to sing.

In the 1990s, Drummond was one half of The KLF, whose hits included Last Train To Trancentral and What Time Is Love? and he was also behind records such as The Timelords' Doctorin' The Tardis and The Justified Ancient of Mu Mu's It's Grim Up North.

But at the height of The KLF's fame, following a remarkable performance at The Brit Awards where the band fired blanks from machine guns at the audience and dumped a dead sheep at an aftershow party, they abruptly retired from the music business.

Having written a book called The Manual (How To Have A Number One Hit The Easy Way, Drummond and bandmate Jimmy Cauty notoriously burned £1m and filmed themselves doing so.

Drummond's latest art/music project will not be quite so incendiary, but will see him taking over Norwich Arts Centre and premiering a brand new composition - with the aid of the audience.

As part of a weekend of musical experiment called Vocal Invention, Drummond will give a talk and host a workshop, where his choir The 17 will perform his composition Divide and Combine.

Drummond explained: “The 17 is a choir, but it can be made up of any people. At this performance the audience will be the choir.

“I start off with a map of Norwich, draw a line across the map and everyone who lives on one side goes to one side of the room and those on the other side of that line go to the other side.

“Ideally it comes up at 50/50 and I then encourage them and bring them to the point of performing. They might not have sung since they were at school or at a drunken night on karaoke, it doesn't matter.”

Drummond, who has links with Norwich, with his mother's side of the family hailing from the city, has declared all recorded music has run its course and is inspired to create live music, which is never permanently recorded.

He said: “I got an iPod a few years back and thought it was great, I could listen to any track I wanted wherever I was. But I soon felt the more tunes I had on it the less likely I was to listen to it. I'd just skip tracks to the ones I wanted to hear. The music had become too throwaway.

“We all love great music and the way it was made was not throwaway, but I felt it was all too 20th century. I wanted to make music which could not exist that way and wanted to start again from year zero.

“I am not trying to harp back to an era before recorded music, but so much of what we do these days, such as going to the cinema and sitting through a film, is revolving around looking at what other people do, rather than doing something for yourself.”

t If you want to take part in the performance, which starts at 2pm on Saturday, or hear Drummond's talk, entitled The History of Music (Part 19) at 7pm that day, tickets can be booked on 01603 660352.

t Details of the other workshops and events running as part of Vocal Intervention are available at www.voiceproject.co.uk

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