Joe Meek : What Daft Punk Sounded Like in 1959

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Note : Article first published on Jan 18, 2014 and moving older material to this site

I was fortunate enough to finally purchase a copy of Joe Meek’s outer space fantasy I Hear a New World on Amazon, and immediately threw it in the CD player on the drive to work today.  I had listened to the first song Friday on YouTube and thought it was curious; “I Hear a New World” sounds like a predecessor to the Beach Boy’s ‘Pet Sounds’ – chipmunk vocals included.  Swaying guitars, laid back percussion, and Meek dissonance. Not a bad start to the weekend.

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Then my ears fell on “The Bublight”.  Wow!  I’m definitely not the first to think that there is something extremely special about the song, and from reading comments on YouTube, it is safe to say that I’m not the only one who thinks the song is absolutely 100% fantastic.  From the CD liner notes, “The Bublight”

This is a wonderful sight – a great patch of the sky becomes filled with different coloured lights, almost I should imagine like the end of a rainbow, except that each light takes on a shape.  People travel from great distances to dance in the coloured rays, and about every five minutes the different lights all mix up, take on different shapes, and settle down to shimmer for another five minutes; then the shuffle takes place again.  This last in our time for about 10 hours.  This strange sight only happens once about every six months, and to dance in its coloured rays gives the people the belief that it casts a magic spell over them for the next six months, and safeguards them from evil.

Lights in the sky?  Poly-morphing shaped objects?  Distortions in the time continuum?  Magic? (and lots of numbers)…If I were to be so bold, I would say Meek was an experiencer of Fortean phenomenon.  And what better way to express than with a song called “The Bublight.”

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The first couple of seconds sounds like a Deerhunter intro; or better yet, a Of Montreal dreamy song.  Then kicks in the echo/out of tune piano strain.  The beat begins to build and then suddenly, it’s an all out sonic distorted electronica 10 second clip starting at about min 1:04 that is absolutely, fantastically, magically brilliant.  That sound put to tape in 1959?  That sound predates the shoegazers, the Kraut rockers, Wire, Daft Punk, and countless other bands over the past 60 years of pop rock.  As one commentator on Youtube mentioned, that is maybe the most important recorded noise in the history of rock n’ roll.  I would have to say I am inclined to agree with the comment.

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Check it out for yourself below. Put the headphones on, turn up the volume and head to the moon courtesy of Meek.  And definitely pick up the album.  You will not be let down from this obscure gem of an album from long ago.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HGAX8tijRSU

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