On this day, 48 years ago, the genius producer Joe Meek killed himself aged 37. Most people know Telstar by The Tornados, but there are a wealth of recordings that are worth hearing. I listen to a lot of music, but nothing quite retains the freshness of his productions. I must have listened to ‘I Hear A New World’ a thousand times, and yet I put it on today and still felt the same excitement and inspiration when I first heard it 15 years ago. And he made it in his living room in 1960! That doesn’t sound as weird a concept these days, but in 1960 it was very unusual to make records in your house. It’s even in stereo!
I made a mix a few years ago as an introduction to his work. You can listen to it here…
Most of this music was made in an era when engineers in studios wore white coats and tinkering with the equipment was frowned upon. Joe Meek ripped up the rule book, working from home and customising his compressors and EQ units. He even had magic boxes that no one was allowed to look inside which he would use for crazy sound effects. There are sounds on his records I have no idea how he achieved, and I’ve tried to rip them off many times! What he could have done with the technology available now would probably make Aphex Twin look tame.
So thanks Joe for the endless inspiration, wherever you are. Making records with Sun Ra on Saturn I hope. This evening, put on ‘I Hear A New World’, turn off the lights and go into Space.