Chart Mythos: The JAMs' and The KLF's Invocation of Mu

Macquarie University
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Shima: the international journal of research into island cultures, 2016, 10 (2), pp. 50 - 67 (18)
Issue Date:
Full metadata record
The JAMs and The KLF, two overlapping popular music ensembles led by British multi-media performers Jimmy Cauty and Bill Drummond, were notable for both the success they had with a batch of singles in the late 1980s and early 1990s and the complex mythology they constructed and celebrated in song lyrics, music videos, press releases and short films. Key to their mythological project was their association with the fictional lost island-continent of Mu (with the band name JAMs being an abbreviation for ‘Justified Ancients of Mu Mu’). The latter identity was derived from Robert Shea and Robert Anton Wilson’s Illuminatus trilogy of novels in which the aforementioned “ancients” were a secret brotherhood involved in combatting the rival Illuminati, who originated in Atlantis. As the JAMS’ and KLF’s oeuvres progressed, aspects of Mu and Atlantis were synthesised by Cauty and Drummond with elements of other actual and fictional islands. The article traces the initial imagination and representation of Mu in esoteric crypto-historical literature, its rearticulation in Shea and Wilson’s counter-cultural novels and its invocation and function in Cauty and Drummond’s work with The JAMs and The KLF.
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