Creative Music Production: Joe Meek's Bold Techniques

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9781931140089: Creative Music Production: Joe Meek's Bold Techniques
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Legendary British producer and technical innovator Meek--the man behind the hits "Telstar" and "Have I the Right?"--has become a cult figure since his death in 1967, with fan clubs, CD collections, and retrospectives growing in popularity every day. Although much attention has been paid to his unusual life story and tragic passing, "Creative Music Production: Joe Meek's Bold Techniques" is the first book that gives the details on the methods that led to Meek's influential hits. Also included is a CD containing Meek's "I Hear a New World" album, not available in its original form since 1960! Written by veteran music journalist Barry Cleveland, this book takes an industry perspective on Meek's life. It explores his 12-year professional career in great depth, with special attention paid to the equipment he used and the effect that his work had on the people around him.

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About the Author:

Barry Cleveland's guitar playing combines psychedelic, progressive rock, ambient, electronic, jazz, funk, and a host of "world" music styles with unusual sounds created using unorthodox playing techniques and electronic processing.

Cleveland released his first commercial album on Larry Fast's Audion Recording Company label in 1986. Mythos combined layers of guitar with Bob Stohl and Kat Epple's woodwinds, synthesizers, and light percussion; and Michael Masley's otherworldly bowhammer cymbalom. The CD received glowing reviews in Option, Jazziz, Stereo Review and CD Review, and was chosen as one of the 25 Best New Age CDs in the 1987 Stereo Review Compact Disc Buyer's Guide (in the company of such other "new age" recordings as Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon).

Voluntary Dreaming, released on Scarlet Records in 1989, also met with critical acclaim. The music had an electronic edge-Cleveland played samplers and synths in addition to electric and acoustic guitars-but also encroached upon "world music" territory with the addition of Michael Pluznick's African and Middle Eastern percussion. Michael Masley's bowhammer cymbalom, and Robert Powell's pedal steel guitar, added exotic harmonic and melodic touches.

During the '90s Cleveland began a parallel career in journalism. Between 1996 and 2002 he worked in various editorial capacities and wrote dozens of articles and product reviews for Mix, Electronic Musician, and Onstage magazines. In mid-2002 he joined the staff of Guitar Player magazine, where he continues to serve as an associate editor. Cleveland's first book, Creative Music Production: Joe Meek's Bold Techniques, was published by MixBooks in the Fall of 2001.

The '90s were a busy time musically as well. Cleveland performed with the improvisational quintet Cloud Chamber, a group which included multi-instrumentalist Michael Masley, bassist Michael Manring, cellist Dan Reiter, and percussionist Joe Venegoni. Cloud Chamber perform

Review:

"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-mic ing, 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

"Barry Cleveland's Creative Music Production: Joe Meek's Bold Techniques ($34.95) is likely to have the broadest appeal. The volume profiles the strange and astounding life and career of legendary '50s-'60s British producer/engineer Joe Meek, but its main thrust is analysis of his unusual and groundbreaking studio techniques. Meek's infamous secretiveness about his methods makes it impossible to know exactly what he was doing at any given time, but Cleveland provides good projections about his subject's inventive use of echo, reverb, delay, compression, distortion, tape loops and otherworldly sound effects, in particular as regards Meek's biggest hits, The Tornados' 1962 international phenomenon "Telstar" and The Honeycombs' 1964 British Invasion smash "Have I the Right?"Detailed discussion of the equipment Meek used, as well as his own homemade electronic innovations, is bolstered by some fascinating archival photos, including those that show Meek in his element. Further anecdotal reportage covers Meek and his peculiar world of independent production, which included his affiliations with then completely unknown musical personages such as Ritchie Blackmore (later of Deep Purple), Steve Howe (later of Yes), Rod Stewart, Tom Jones and others. Meek was a bit of a freak--an extremist, a paranoiac, an occultist of sorts and a tortured homosexual at a time when the world was less sexually open. Yet his forward-thinking approach to record-making earned him the status of "genius," on a par technologically and creatively with pioneers such as Les Paul and Phil Spector. Artistpro's volume includes a comprehensive discography of Meek productions and a re-remastered--i.e., restored to 'warts and all' original quality--CD of Meek's 1959 concept album, I Hear a New World." --Nashville Scene

"The British record producer Joe Meek has attained posthumous cult status and rightly so: his innovative work broke the highly conservative mould of studios where engineers sported white coats as though they were in a science laboratory and everything was done "by the book". In Meek's case the circumstances of his life - and more to the point his death - have created a lot of urban myth. After all, Spector may have discharged revolvers at ceilings, but Meek ended his own life - and that of his landlady - with a large shotgun and all on the anniversary of Buddy Holly's death! With those factors in mind, it's refreshing to discover a book which traces Joe Meek's life, not for the sake of cheap scandal, but through the music he made through his innovative recordings and equipment creations/modifications. Barry Cleveland has achieved the near impossible by delivering a book which is both an enjoyable work for the non-technical reader and highly satisfying for the studio "anorak" who wants to know the fine details of Meek's home studio in London's Holloway Road. Cleveland has tracked down the closest surviving sources who bring to life a picture of the cluttered apartment where Joe Meek took on the mighty forces of EMI, Decca and the like and won - for a while at least - with hits like Telstar, Johnny Remember Me and Have I The Right. If the words are top class, the layout is every bit the match for them, with many photos I've never seen before (and believe me, I've seen a lot of Meek-related photos!) and a full discography. I can't reccomend this book enough... how about 6 stars out of 5?!" John Cavanagh, Glasgow Scotland --BBC, Scotland

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9780872887541: Creative Music Production: Joe Meek's Bold Techniques with CD (Audio)

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ISBN 10:  0872887545 ISBN 13:  9780872887541
Publisher: Mixbooks, 2001
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