Paul McCartney

Liverpool Sound Collage

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The hype mill, stoked in part by McCartney himself, promoted this CD as nothing less than a posthumous chapter in the Beatles' saga ("a new little piece of Beatles," in Paul's words). Nonsense, for this is really just the latest of McCartney's excursions into electronica, an interest of his that dates back to the Beatles' boundary-shredding experiments with musique concrète and the Moog synthesizer in the 1960s. It is a series of five electronic collages, with occasional eruptions of a new tune called "Free Now" (actually a catchy repetitive riff, no more or less), sounds of the auto tunnel under the Mersey, pieces of strange off-the-cuff interviews conducted by Paul on the Liverpool streets (he asks, disingenuously, "What do you think of the Beatles?"), snippets of a chorale from his Liverpool Oratorio -- and yes, some Beatle talk from the 1965 sessions for "Think for Yourself." All of the tracks are given separately distributed credits to McCartney, the Beatles, the group Super Furry Animals, and Youth -- his collaborator in previous electronica projects -- but in fact, the whole hour-long CD is of a single piece. The most effective segment is the one credited solely to Youth (bearing the unwieldy title "Real Gone Dub Made in Manifest in the Vortex of the Eternal Now"), where the pitchless electronic sounds are at their wildest and the disembodied Beatles voices and ghostly choruses are hauntingly adrift in a high-tech netherworld. As a listening experience, it is at least as casually absorbing as McCartney's two Fireman albums -- and it grows on you, provided that you drop any expectations of this being a long-lost Beatles album.

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