Initially released as a double vinyl album, TWIN FREAKS saw Paul in partnership with the DJ and producer The Freelance Hellraiser, alias Roy Kerr.
Best-known at the time for his genre-defying mash-up album A STROKE OF GENIUS, Kerr had become a sought-after re-mixer.
In the summer of 2004, he toured Europe with Paul, opening each show with a 25-minute set of remixed McCartney songs, the tour culminating with a famous headline performance at Glastonbury.
I saw this tour when it came to the US, promoting CHAOS AND CREATION, and I really enjoyed the Hellraiser’s preshow opening set. It was another interesting preshow from Paul. The previous tour, the “Driving Rain” tour, Paul had members of Cirque du Soleil slowly enter the arena and interact.
But I was very happy to hear that he was going a step further than Jjust being a preshow D.J. And TWIN FREAKS was released in June 2005. Its initial release consisted of 12 re-worked and re-invented from Paul’s back catalogue, the credits on the album not giving the listener any clues as to who did what on each track.
‘Really Love You’, the first single to be released, was a remix of a track taken from Paul’s 1997 album Flaming Pie.
“Those of you who were there for the European Tour will have heard our DJ, Freelance Hellraiser, cooking up some mixes before we came on and people have been inquiring about these mixes ever since.
Well the good news is he’s put together an album called ‘Twin Freaks’ using fragments from my original multi-tracks which we hope will rock your little cotton socks!” – Paul
The first fruits were the ‘Really Love You’ 12” single, in which the FLAMING PIE song was converted from a simple jam into a dance-based track. It featured drums from ‘What’s That You’re Doing’, a collaboration with Stevie Wonder from the TUG OF WAR album.
The b-side was ‘Lalula’, a new composition which featured the riff from ‘Old Siam, Sir’, from Wings’ 1979 album BACK TO THE EGG, as well as guitars from the 1971 b-side ‘Oh Woman, Oh Why’.
The one-sided 12″ vinyl single was issued in the UK on 6 June 2005, as a limited edition of 2,000 copies. The b-side was an etching of McCartney’s painting Twin Freaks. Due to the limited run it failed to chart.
The album Twin Freaks followed seven days later, on June 13th, 2005. Credited simply to Twin Freaks, it was a double-disc vinyl set issued in Europe only by Parlophone/Graze Records. It was available worldwide as a digital download.
Twin Freaks is full-on dance music, often intense and dark, which is unusual for Paul, and refreshing because of that. It just adds another layer on the canvas he is leaving us with.
ALL SONGS WRITTEN BY PAUL MCCARTNEY UNLESS NOTED
1. Really Love You. (Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr)
Paul McCartney : Executive producer.
Clive Goddard : Mixing engineer.
Freelance Hellraiser : Producer
Studio : Hog Hill Studio, Rye, UK
(Production is the same for all songs)
-I am a huge fan of the mash-up. I have heard many wonderful mixes, featuring Beatles and solo material.
The format of the mashup is that of an extreme remix in which two disparate musical and recording experiences are combined in a manner that goes beyond remix to literally merge or mash up the two songs so that they emerge as something unique or hybridized.
The technique sometimes obscures the original source material or so seamlessly blends the divergent elements that disentangling the grafted parts becomes nearly impossible.
“Really Love You” was the 1st single drawn from the album. Fantastic use of the bass and vocals. It’s hard to describe these songs, as there is so much going on in the mix. You either throw yourself in the mix and enjoy or you may not love this as much as I do. Rating – 9
2. Long Haired Lady (Reprise) (Paul & Linda McCartney)
-This is a song that is my least favorite from RAM. It’s not bad, but not my fav. However with the introduction of the guitars from “Ooo You” and a host of other wonderful layers I bow before you and say I am not worthy. Rating – 9.5
3. Rinse The Raindrops
-One of the more interesting songs from the blah DRIVING RAIN, On this one the tempo is taken up more than a bit, but keeping the vocals the same speed as the album. Even the mid temp shift doesn’t stop this maniac thumper. Rating- 8.5
-A stripped down of the original, slowed, and gently handled with vocals and effects from the original. Rating – 8
5. Live And Let Die. (Paul & Linda McCartney)
-Should be called “When You Were Young.” Features that riff over talk by fans, critic and broadcasters (Howard Stern is one I recognize). It is a cool beat, but I yearn for it to really lose this groove and linking the rocking parts of “live and Let Die.” A swing and …. it’s fouled off. Rating – 6
6. Temporary Secretary
-A track that has lot on the bone to begin with.
1. The synth drum machine that played the notes has been all but eliminated. 2. The entire middle verse was eliminated… “She’s a…” as has the altered backup vocals on the refrain. Instead Paul leaves his main vocals, on the the now slightly flat refrain. Interesting.
This is the mix that made this song turn towards a “classic” in the overall cannon. He even began to play this in concert, and it went from deep deep track to cult status. It stays pretty much on the same page…. But that’s fine with me. Rating – 9.5 (Even my dog & cats dance together on this one)
7. What’s That You’re Doing (Paul McCartney, Stevie Wonder)
-Another that’s not one of my favorite TUG OF WAR tracks (see previous review). Not bad… it’s just ok. I thought these two superstars could produce better than this jam.
But here, the tempo is sped up, and the mix is thinned out, with the baseline driving the beat. The lead vocals are primarily given to Stevie, and the background vocals are nice remixed. The mid-song tempo change was very nice…. It returns to the first tempo, and the lack of vocal remixing FOR ME makes this more of a skipper, even though the ending is landed gently and with a smile. Rating – 7
8. Oh Woman, Oh Why
-A concert review CBS announcer…. And Paul talks about the 2002 preshow. 2 A woman from the tour is heard talking about the vibe of the preshow. Band On The Run guitar vibe with Oh Woman vocals and bass. Interesting, yes. Rating – 8
9. Mumbo (Paul & Linda McCartney)
-WILD LIFE opening track on a bit of helium. About 20% or so faster the album track, stripped of all the guitars…. Not a bad groove, but other than a few subtle percussion and a nice temporary tempo change… not that much here other than the basic groove. It is certainly danceable…. Rating – 7
– The drum beat of “What’s That Your Doing” with the slow layering of sounds. Guitars are brought in and this is a kick-ass groove. “Old Siam, Sam” and “Broadcast” vocals are brought in on the tempo change until the groove kicks back in with constantly altered vocals and a slowly building backspace of sound. This is some awesome toe-tapping stuff…. Rating – 9
11. Coming Up
-Opens with the end of “More Moose and The Grey Goose” from LONDON TOWN and merges it’s bass and drum line with the lead and backing vocals of “Coming Up.” If you like either of these threads, good. If you like them both, you are in luck. The tension in the track is altered with some amazing mixing. The groove plays out till the fade Rating – 8.5
12. Maybe I’m Amazed
-Another fantastic use of the basic track, as we hear Paul sing backing vocals we have NEVER heard before. The basic track is speeded up during the verse, but the vocal pitch is preserved nicely, and even though the mix feels slightly awkward, you go with it. The re-mixing of the vocals at the end with “Creen-Akore” breathing over the album track remix is sonic bliss. Rating – 8.5
Over the rating of this album is 8.21/10. Very good indeed.
NOW…. this album may have a higher RATING than other “classic” Macca releases, but I reviewed it in the context of so many other factor. In this case, it’s shear uniqueness makes it a review unto itself. Only a TWIN FREE TWO could be judged against it.
Even the Fireman material is not like this, other than it certainly pleases Paul to death to have these in his catalog.
In that vain, NEXT, 2008’s ELECTRIC ARGUMENTS by The Fireman.