Veteran music journalist Barry Cleveland (currently an editor at Guitar Player
magazine) has published the Second Edition of his now cult classic—Joe Meek’s Bold Techniques
—as an eBook, available via Apple iBooks
, and Barnes & Noble
for $4.99.Joe Meek's Bold Techniques
updates the 2001 print edition, and features a new Introduction, an additional chapter, and a newly restored and remastered version of Meek’s legendary 1959 stereo album about life on the Moon, I Hear a New World
Joe Meek was an iconoclastic British recording innovator who was also, among other things, a paranoid schizophrenic homosexual speed freak who believed he was in psychic communication with Buddy Holly and who murdered his landlady with a shotgun before shooting himself in 1967.
Cleveland, however, takes an industry perspective, focusing primarily on Meek’s 12-year professional recording career, rather than his personal life.
Joe Meek’s best-known recording, “Telstar,” topped the charts worldwide in 1962, and he engineered and produced dozens of U.K. hits. The extensive roster of fine musicians that graced Meek’s recordings includes guitarists Ritchie Blackmore, Steve Howe, and Jimmy Page (Page credits Meek as having been a major influence on his own production).
Joe Meek was also responsible for many recording “firsts,” at least in the U.K. For example, he was:
One of the first to experiment professionally with sound-on-sound overdubbing techniques (1951)
The first to put microphones directly in front of and sometimes inside sound sources (1954)
The first to intentionally overload preamplifier inputs and print “hot” signals to tape (1954)
The first to use compressors and limiters aggressively in creative rather than corrective applications (1954)
The first to build a compact spring reverb unit (1957)
The first to “flange” sounds using two synchronized tape recorders (1958)
The first to employ tape loops on commercial recordings (1959)
This is the ultimate Joe Meek book, with less emphasis on what an oddball he was, and instead there's immaculate research on the gear and techniques Joe employed to achieve his studio nirvana. Known for his echoing, distorted pop songs (everyone knows his big hit, "Telstar"), he was a pioneer in close-miking, freelance engineering, home studio running, and a million other aspects of recording that we take for granted these days. Author Barry Cleveland (who writes for Mix
and other mags) meticulously researched every aspect of Joe's gear and techniques and, thank God, is an engineer like us so he doesn't make stupid technical mistakes like "rock journalists" always do. Barry even went as far as to locate and remaster a new version of Meek's long lost masterpiece, I Hear A New World
, which comes with this book. This book really opened my eyes to what an innovator Joe Meek was and even gave me ideas to toy with in future sessions of my own. Everyone reading Tape Op
would enjoy this book!" Larry Crane, Editor, Tape Op