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Paul McCartney (With Youth) as The Fireman’s “Strawberries Oceans Ships Forest” Reviewed

Paul McCartney was doing remixes for his Off The Ground album when he invited Killing Joke’s bassist Youth to work on a track, liked Youth’s work so much they collaborated together under the moniker The Fireman (three times, but we will only discuss the first here) on a highly prescient debut album, Strawberries Oceans Ships Forest, in 1993. Album # 22.

The Fireman isn’t Metal Machine Music strange but it wasn’t standard at all whereas today it doesn’t sound strange at all: synth effects, cut and paste samplings, and beats beat beats (as you’d expect from two bassmen), if it is using Off The ground as ground zero for the samples, it isn’t doing so in such a way that I can tell.

Consider The Fireman one of many links between Brian Eno and DJ Shadow, a place where Skrillex and deadmaus studied for constructional clues, and within the yelps during “Transpiritual Stomp” and the four on the floor put through a washing machine of “4-4-44” it works as background foreground, and while you might break your neck trying to dance to it, it is a mutation away from straight up house.

What it also shows is something that’s a little difficult for McCartney: from classical to ambient, trance to synth pop, and, of course, hip hop, McCartney is a true renaissance man . He is really in it for the music, and that truism is reflected on everything from “Eleanor Rigby” to “Wild Honey Pie,” his love of sound isn’t simply getting where Lennon was 20 years before, McCartney for all his middle class business ethos can be a risk taker if the music takes him there.

Grade: B

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