Julian Fell

The Limitations of a Clone

I was out walking the other morning and listening to a song that I’ve heard hundreds of times; “You Took Your Time” by Mount Kimbie and King Krule. The lyrics are dark and grizzly but I know them so well their meaning don’t really register any more.

It might have been the buzz from the coffee, maybe it was just my mind wandering down the right thought at the exact moment it came on, but this morning a single line stood out so strikingly that I couldn’t get it out of my head. I had to pause the track and really ponder it.

That you will ever know, the limitations of a clone

King Krule practically spits it out, filling each word with brooding. Even without the context of the delivery or Mount Kimbie’s moody production, it’s a great line.

What are the limitations of a clone?

Making a digital copy doesn’t cost anything. It’s only when that copy is twisted into a new form that it becomes new again.

A familiar melody can be given new life through an acoustic re-interpretation. A classic pop tune from your childhood can morph into a dancefloor banger through a club remix.

The identity of the original is still visible, but there is a new dimension, a new lense into what it could have been. Every time a song is covered or remixed, an alternate reality is created where the artist wrote the song differently, or the re-imaginer had been articulate enough to express themselves so entirely.

They say that the best stories are the ones that have stood the test of time. The continued existance of inequality in 2021 maintains the relevance of so many classics in their original form.

The alien conditions of earlier times allow us to commune with our ansestoral roots while our comfortable distance from the narrative itself allows us to seek out the themes with a little more objectivity and freedom.

We can do more than just read and analyse things from the past though. Even stories that pre-date all living humans can be made new through a fresh coat of paint. Rather than just re-reading an old story, it can be revised or outright skewed into something gnarled and altogether abstract.

So tell me King Krule, what are the limitations of a clone?