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A presentation featuring Joe Meek’s fantastical lunar stereophonic sound adventure, I Hear A New World; both the celebrated 1991 RPM restoration and the original unreleased 1960 concept album; placed in broader international context alongside seminal works by other pioneers of electronic music; from Daphne Oram to Edgard Varèse. Considered in this context, Meek’s masterpiece seems less an oddball pop novelty than a daring and visionary electronic sound exploration.

The legendary British pop producer came to prominence during the repressed monochrome days before the Beatles arrived to change everything; an era of fascination with all things Space Age and nuclear; a mood Meek encapsulated with his biggest hit, Telstar by the Tornados; a million selling chart-topper on both sides of the Atlantic and the first British pop single to reach Number One in America.

Electronic gear and studio techniques were Meek’s obsession. He would dismantle a piece of equipment and modify it in order to ramp up its capability and thought nothing of building his own compressors, equalisers and echo units. The trademark Meek sound combined an extra-terrestrial keyboard, brittle guitars awash with reverb and a spectral vocal all fiercely compressed. He constantly pushed at the frontiers of his studio’s technical potential, using it as an instrument in its own right and often applying authentic musique concrète procedures in the perpetual search for new sounds. His knowledge of electronics was as advanced as anyone in Britain at the time. The establishment record labels were intimidated by Joe’s inventive genius and moody eccentricity; embarrassed that he could outdo them by producing hit records from a glorified home studio above a leather goods shop on the Holloway Road.

Meek’s emergence coincided with the advent of stereo sound and investigations by serious composers into the artistic potential of electronic technology. There was great enthusiasm for the new medium in part because the composer was no longer dependent on the interpretation of the performer. Electronic studios were founded across Europe; in Paris, Cologne, Milan and Eindhoven, at radio stations or research laboratories where the necessary technology was already available.

Pierre Schaeffer’s studio for musique concrète in Paris was the first, attracting Boulez, Messiaen, Milhaud, Stockhausen and Varèse, but these composers were frustrated at Schaeffer’s emphasis on the manipulation of everyday sounds rather than those that were electronically generated. On the other hand, the Studio for Electronic Music of the West German Radio in Cologne, founded by Herbert Eimert & Robert Beyer and eventually dominated by Stockhausen, set up in opposition to Paris and in favour of music generated exclusively by electronic means.

At Radiotelevisione Italian in Milan the composers Bruno Maderna and Luciano Berio embraced and went beyond both disciplines. John Cage flew in to visit the facility and create the dizzying blur of sound that is Fontana Mix and win a local TV quiz show on his specialist subject ‘poisonous and edible mushrooms’. At the Philips Research Laboratories in Eindhoven, Tom Dissevelt and his assistant Kid Baltan (Dick Raaymakers) conducted their interplanetary sound experiments on the fringes of pop, only marginally to the left of Meek.

In London, the BBC Radiophonic Workshop assembled a team of gifted composers including co-founder Daphne Oram, Madallena Fagandini and Delia Derbyshire to create sound effects, rhythmic interval signals and music for radio and television productions. Their work was created anonymously at the service of the corporation, nevertheless it came to the attention of the head of Parlophone Records and soon to be Beatles producer, George Martin who collaborated with Fagandini to make a catchy single of Time Beat: “Electronic music – that slightly disturbing sound of our times which is produced amid a complex of tape recorders and electric wiring – is about to attack the hit parades.” exclaimed one newspaper.

Between 1964 and 1967 pop music changed more radically than it had in all the years since its inception in the 1950s and the long playing record became its main product. Once the Beatles determined to devote themselves to working in the studio with George Martin on music with increasingly ambitious, conceptual themes, it was inevitable that they would need to be able to draw on a wider and more eclectic range of materials. Paul McCartney chose to engage with electronic art music of Berio and Stockhausen, attending lectures and performances of their work in London. Their influence opened up a new world of sonic possibilities for the Beatles that can be heard in the backward tape echo, vocal manipulations, loops and sound collages of Tomorrow Never Knows, Strawberry Fields Forever, Penny Lane and I Am the Walrus, culminating in Revolution 9 which has been described as “the world’s most widely distributed avant-garde artefact.”

DISC ONE

JOE MEEK: I HEAR A NEW WORLD
COMPOSED AND DEVISED BY JOE MEEK – FEATUR-ING THE BLUE MEN / DIRECTED BY ROD FREEMAN

THE RPM RESTORATION (1991)
1. I HEAR A NEW WORLD
2. ORBIT AROUND THE MOON
3. ENTRY OF THE GLOBBOTS
4. THE BUBLIGHT
5. MARCH OF THE DRIBCOTS
6. LOVE DANCE OF THE SAROOS
7. GLOB WATERFALL
8. MAGNETIC FIELD
9. VALLEY OF THE SAROOS
10. DRIBCOTS SPACE BOAT
11. DISC DANCE OF THE GLOBBOTS
12. VALLEY OF NO RETURN

THE ORIGINAL UNRELEASED ALBUM (1960)
13. I HEAR A NEW WORLD
14. GLOB WATERFALL
15. ENTRY OF THE GLOBBOTS
16. VALLEY OF THE SAROOS
17. MAGNETIC FIELD
18. ORBIT AROUND THE MOON
19. THE BUBLIGHT
20. MARCH OF THE DRIBCOTS
21. LOVE DANCE OF THE SAROOS
22. DRIBCOTS SPACE BOAT
23. DISC DANCE OF THE GLOBBOTS
24. VALLEY OF NO RETURN

BBC RADIOPHONIC WORKSHOP
25. AMPHITRYON 38 – Daphne Oram
26. THE ARTIST SPEAKS – Phil Young
27. SCIENCE AND INDUSTRY – Phil Young And Maddalena Fagandini
28. INTERVAL SIGNAL – Maddalena Fagandini
29. TIME BEAT – Maddalena Fagandini
30. IDEAL HOME EXHIBITION – Maddalena Fagandini
31. THE CHEM LAB MYSTERY – Maddalena Fagandini
32. TIME ON OUR HANDS (TITLES AND CITY MUSIC) – Delia Derbyshire
33. ARABIC SCIENCE AND HISTORY – Delia Derbyshire
34. TIME BEAT – Ray Cathode (Maddalena Fagandini – George Martin)
35. WALTZ IN ORBIT – Ray Cathode (Maddalena Fagandini – George Martin)

DISC TWO

1. DRIPSODY (AN ETUDE FOR VARIABLE SPEED RECORDER) – Hugh Le Caine
2. SYNCOPATION (ORBIT AURORA) – Tom Dissevelt
3. WHIRLING (SONIC RE-ENTRY) – Tom Dissevelt
4. DRIFTING (MOON MAID) – Tom Dissevelt
5. FANTASY IN SPACE – Otto Luening
6. PIECE FOR TAPE RECORDER – Vladimir Ussachevsky

PIERRE BOULEZ
DEUX ÉTUDES DE MUSIQUE CONCRÈTE FOR MAGNETIC TAPE
7. ÉTUDE 1 SUR UN SON
8. ÉTUDE 2 SUR UN ACCORD DE SEPT SONS

9. TIMBRES DURÉES – Olivier Messiaen
10. SOUND IN UNLIMITED SPACE – Herbert Eimert & Robert Beyer
11. STUDIE NR.1 – Karlheinz Stockhausen
12. LA RIVIÈRE ENDORMIE – Darius Milhaud
13. INTERPOLATION 1 FROM DÉSERTS – Edgard Varèse
14. SPIRALE – Pierre Henry
15. ÉTUDE AUX SONS ANIMÉS – Pierre Schaeffer

DISC THREE

1. POEME ELECTRONIQUE – Edgard Varèse
2. SCAMBI – Henri Pousseuri
3. MUSICA SU DUE DIMENSIONI “DIMENSIONI NO. 1” (VERSION FOR FLUTE AND TAPE) – Bruno Maderna
4. FONTANA MIX – John Cage
5. ARTIKULATION FOR TAPE – György Ligeti

VISAGE V – Luc Ferrari
6. PART ONE
7. PART TWO
8. PART THREE

9. ORIENT OCCIDENT LA PRISONNIÈRE – Iannis Xenakis
10. MOMENTI, FOR MAGNETIC TAPE – Luciano Berio
11. VISAGES (EXCERPT) – Luciano Berio
12. THE INNOCENTS – SAVAGE NOISES (EXCERPT) – Daphne Oram
13. RHYTHMIC VARIATION 1 FROM ELECTRONIC SOUND PATTERNS – Daphne Oram

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DISC ONE

JOE MEEK: I HEAR A NEW WORLD
COMPOSED AND DEVISED BY JOE MEEK – FEATUR-ING THE BLUE MEN / DIRECTED BY ROD FREEMAN

THE RPM RESTORATION (1991)
1. I HEAR A NEW WORLD
2. ORBIT AROUND THE MOON
3. ENTRY OF THE GLOBBOTS
4. THE BUBLIGHT
5. MARCH OF THE DRIBCOTS
6. LOVE DANCE OF THE SAROOS
7. GLOB WATERFALL
8. MAGNETIC FIELD
9. VALLEY OF THE SAROOS
10. DRIBCOTS SPACE BOAT
11. DISC DANCE OF THE GLOBBOTS
12. VALLEY OF NO RETURN

THE ORIGINAL UNRELEASED ALBUM (1960)
13. I HEAR A NEW WORLD
14. GLOB WATERFALL
15. ENTRY OF THE GLOBBOTS
16. VALLEY OF THE SAROOS
17. MAGNETIC FIELD
18. ORBIT AROUND THE MOON
19. THE BUBLIGHT
20. MARCH OF THE DRIBCOTS
21. LOVE DANCE OF THE SAROOS
22. DRIBCOTS SPACE BOAT
23. DISC DANCE OF THE GLOBBOTS
24. VALLEY OF NO RETURN

BBC RADIOPHONIC WORKSHOP
25. AMPHITRYON 38 - Daphne Oram
26. THE ARTIST SPEAKS – Phil Young
27. SCIENCE AND INDUSTRY - Phil Young And Maddalena Fagandini
28. INTERVAL SIGNAL - Maddalena Fagandini
29. TIME BEAT - Maddalena Fagandini
30. IDEAL HOME EXHIBITION - Maddalena Fagandini
31. THE CHEM LAB MYSTERY - Maddalena Fagandini
32. TIME ON OUR HANDS (TITLES AND CITY MUSIC) - Delia Derbyshire
33. ARABIC SCIENCE AND HISTORY - Delia Derbyshire
34. TIME BEAT - Ray Cathode (Maddalena Fagandini - George Martin)
35. WALTZ IN ORBIT - Ray Cathode (Maddalena Fagandini - George Martin)

DISC TWO

1. DRIPSODY (AN ETUDE FOR VARIABLE SPEED RECORDER) – Hugh Le Caine
2. SYNCOPATION (ORBIT AURORA) - Tom Dissevelt
3. WHIRLING (SONIC RE-ENTRY) - Tom Dissevelt
4. DRIFTING (MOON MAID) - Tom Dissevelt
5. FANTASY IN SPACE – Otto Luening
6. PIECE FOR TAPE RECORDER - Vladimir Ussachevsky

PIERRE BOULEZ
DEUX ÉTUDES DE MUSIQUE CONCRÈTE FOR MAGNETIC TAPE
7. ÉTUDE 1 SUR UN SON
8. ÉTUDE 2 SUR UN ACCORD DE SEPT SONS

9. TIMBRES DURÉES - Olivier Messiaen
10. SOUND IN UNLIMITED SPACE - Herbert Eimert & Robert Beyer
11. STUDIE NR.1 - Karlheinz Stockhausen
12. LA RIVIÈRE ENDORMIE - Darius Milhaud
13. INTERPOLATION 1 FROM DÉSERTS - Edgard Varèse
14. SPIRALE - Pierre Henry
15. ÉTUDE AUX SONS ANIMÉS - Pierre Schaeffer

DISC THREE

1. POEME ELECTRONIQUE - Edgard Varèse
2. SCAMBI - Henri Pousseuri
3. MUSICA SU DUE DIMENSIONI "DIMENSIONI NO. 1" (VERSION FOR FLUTE AND TAPE) - Bruno Maderna
4. FONTANA MIX – John Cage
5. ARTIKULATION FOR TAPE - György Ligeti

VISAGE V – Luc Ferrari
6. PART ONE
7. PART TWO
8. PART THREE

9. ORIENT OCCIDENT LA PRISONNIÈRE - Iannis Xenakis
10. MOMENTI, FOR MAGNETIC TAPE – Luciano Berio
11. VISAGES (EXCERPT) - Luciano Berio
12. THE INNOCENTS - SAVAGE NOISES (EXCERPT) – Daphne Oram
13. RHYTHMIC VARIATION 1 FROM ELECTRONIC SOUND PATTERNS - Daphne Oram

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