Paul McCartney's Liverpool Sound Collage, featuring unreleased Beatles material remixed by Welsh pop-rockers Super Furry Animals, will be issued Aug. 21 in the UK, with a U.S. release following shortly after.
The album was created to accompany "About Collage," an exhibition of work by Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967) cover designer Peter Blake on display at the Tate Liverpool gallery. McCartney also collaborated with veteran producer Youth on the project.
"Peter Blake asked me to create a sound collage about Liverpool," McCartney said in a statement. "I compiled sounds and made the basic collage. I asked Cian Ciaran of the Super Furry Animals to mix something from it ... and my mate Youth used his talents to add a final touch."
McCartney used a tape recorder to interview people on the streets of Liverpool, adding bits of dialogue to other sounds and samples from around the area. The mix was supplemented by rare 1960s studio recordings of the Beatles.
The one rule set down for Super Furry Animals was that their contribution had to be made up entirely of samples from the material provided, without adding any sounds of their own.
"All these old green boxes arrived in our office in Cardiff with a heavy letter from the Apple Corporation saying, 'These tapes are under the jurisdiction of Apple Corp. and contain unreleased Beatles material and shouldn't be broadcast or played to anyone,' " SFA frontman Gruff Rhys said during a recent visit to New York. "So it was quite freaky, you know."
Rhys described the result as "20 minutes of hip-hop, almost opera, featuring [ex-Beatles] Ringo Starr on drums and George Harrison on guitar and John [Lennon] and Paul on vocals, as well as strings ... and a choir recorded in Liverpool last year."
"Free Now," a track edited from that collaboration, has been circulating in the UK as a white-label DJ promo. "It's a new little piece of the Beatles," McCartney said of the track, which follows 1995's "Free As a Bird" and 1996's "Real Love" in resurrecting the Fab Four. "[It's] an outbreak from my normal stuff. It's more underground than what you usually hear from me."
As to whether McCartney was a fan of Super Furry Animals before the collaboration, Rhys said, "I doubt it," adding, "He's certainly got all our CDs now."
The full track listing for the release is: "Plastic Beetle" (Paul McCartney, the Beatles), "Peter Blake 2000" (Super Furry Animals, the Beatles), "Real Gone Dub Made in Manifest in the Vortex of the Eternal Now" (Youth), "Made Up" (Paul McCartney, the Beatles) and "Free Now" (Paul McCartney, the Beatles, Super Furry Animals).
More on the album and Peter Blake's "About Collage" is available at www.liverpoolsoundcollage.com, which features audio clips, background information and pictures of works on display at the exhibit, which runs through March 4.
A spokesperson for McCartney said Liverpool Sound Collage will be released Stateside "hopefully by the end of the month. Certainly by September if not."