As FACT report, Glasgow label PoppyDisc are set to issue an expanded edition of Joe Meek’s experimental pop masterpiece I Hear a New World in March.
“I hear a new world/Calling me/So strange and so real/Haunting me”
These poignant phrases of exploratory thought became eerie prophecies of a life headed strange-ward into the void. As David Toop once noted, Joe Meek — like Brian Wilson, Lee “Scratch” Perry, and Phil Spector — is one of those rare sound scientists that wrestled on the fringes of sanity in order to conjure music from some “not-yet-existent” other place. The risk of course, in attempting to tap into such depths, is total disillusionment — a sudden detachment from reality. Wilson’s LSD-addled mind was lost somewhere in his sandbox, Perry flooded, then burned his cherished Black Ark studio to the ground, and in 1967, Meek murdered his landlady before turning the shotgun on himself.
Meek is now rightly regarded as one of the most influential engineers of all time, a pioneer of the studio-as-instrument (and producer-as-artist) recording approach. In 1959, Joe Meek, alongside Rod Freeman and The West Five, fleshed out the spectacular, space-themed visions ghosting his brain. The result was I Hear a New World, a collection of dreamy pop vignettes, adorned with dubby echoes and tape-warped sonic tendrils. These pop experiments, originally released in abbreviated form, were all but ignored at the time. It seems that music made for and about the future must wait for the future to arrive before it can be sufficiently understood and appreciated.
This release is a veritable time capsule, a reissue as a near-perfect distillation of Meek’s nameless genius, likely the closest we’ll ever get to his envisioned final product. I Hear a New World was a Sun Ra-style moment of interstellar clarity, a lassoing of the moon and stars put to magnetic tape that foresaw decades of psych music’s space worship. Sitting comfortably between Wilson’s SMiLE and the Forbidden Planet soundtrack, I Hear a New World is a seminal moment in both electronic music and avant-pop history; it’s about time we get to hear it in its unabridged, fully eccentric shape. This is something to be excited about.
I Hear a New World is due on March 18. Enjoy the spectacular title track below.
I Hear a New World tracklisting:
01. I Hear a New World
02. Orbit around the Moon
03. Entry of the Globbots
04. The Bulblight
05. March of the Dribcots
06. Love Dance of the Saroos
07. Glob Waterfall
08. Magnetic Field
09. Valley of the Saroos
10. Dribcots Space Boat
11. Disc Dance of the Globbots
12. Valley of No Return
13. Early History
14. Ibc / Triumph / Rgm / Pye
15. Holloway Road / Studio Gear
16. A Day in the Life / Making Records / Production
17. Interview to Camera by Joe Meek (World in Action documentary from 1964)