I Hear a New World

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"Blue Men" redirects here. For the water spirits, see Hebridean mythology and folklore. For the performance group from New York City, see Blue Man Group.
I Hear a New World
Studio album by Joe Meek / The Blue Men
Released May 1960 (EP)
1991 (album)
Recorded Lansdowne Studios
1959
Genre Pop, Rock, Electronic, Avant-garde
Length 32:56
Label Triumph TRX-ST9000 (1960)
RPM Records (1991)
Producer Joe Meek
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 3/5 stars[1]

I Hear a New World: an outer space music fantasy is a concept album devised and composed by Joe Meek and recorded by the Blue Men in 1959. It was released in part in 1960 and in full in 1991 by RPM Records. It was later analyzed by Barry Cleveland in his book, Creative Music Production: Joe Meek's Bold Techniques.

In its September 1998 issue (number 175), music magazine The Wire listed the album in the lead article "100 Records that Set the World on Fire (When No One Was Listening)".[2] It was described as having a "profound influence on artists as diverse as Steven Stapleton and Saint Etienne".[3] The title song was covered by the Television Personalities, Mark Sultan and They Might Be Giants in 2004.[4]

Production[edit]

The Blue Men[5] were originally the West Five, a skiffle group from Ealing in London. In addition to I Hear a New World, they also recorded under the name of Rodd, Ken and the Cavaliers for Meek. The tracks were recorded at his Holland Park flat and at Lansdowne Studios.

The album was Meek's pet project. He was fascinated by the space programme, and believed that life existed elsewhere in the solar system. This album was his attempt "to create a picture in music of what could be up there in outer space", he explained. "At first I was going to record it with music that was completely out of this world but realized that it would have very little entertainment value so I kept the construction of the music down to earth". He achieved this as a sound engineer by blending the Blue Men's skiffle/rock-and-roll style with a range of sound effects created by such kitchen-sink methods as blowing bubbles in water with a straw, draining water out of a sink, shorting out an electrical circuit and banging partly filled milk bottles with spoons; however, one must listen carefully to detect these prosaic origins in the finished product. Another feature of the recordings is the early use of stereophonic sound.

The first, eponymous track on the album is the only one to feature conventional vocals. Most of the others are instrumentals; however, some feature high-frequency vocals in the style of The Chipmunks, Pinky and Perky and The Nutty Squirrels. Meek also wrote liner notes for each track to set the scene for each piece; for instance, the notes for "Magnetic Field" read, "This is a stretch of the Moon where there is a strange lack of gravity forcing everything to float three feet above the crust, which with a different magnetic field from the surface sets any article in some sections in vigorous motion, and at times everything is in rhythm".

Release history[edit]

The LP was scheduled to be released by Joe Meek's Triumph Records label in May 1960, but only a 4-track 7-inch EP (part 1) was released. Only a few demo/preview copies of the LP are known to exist. The re-releases are dubbed from these discs.

A second EP was planned, but never appeared; only the sleeve was printed. This (and the cancellation of the album) was due to financial problems at the label, which resulted in Meek's leaving Triumph. The band, too, drifted away and returned to the live circuit.

Personnel[edit]

The Blue Men[edit]

  • Rod Freeman (group leader): guitar, vocals
  • Ken Harvey: tenor sax, vocals
  • Roger Fiola: Hawaiian guitar
  • Chris White: guitar
  • Doug Collins: bass
  • Dave Golding: drums

Track listing[edit]

(Running order from original 1960 LP)

Side 1

  1. "I Hear a New World" 2:44
  2. "Globb Waterfall" 3:15
  3. "Entry Of The Globbots" 3:09
  4. "Valley Of The Saroos" 2:50
  5. "Magnetic Field" 3:10
  6. "Orbit Around The Moon" 2:49

Side 2

  1. "The Bublight" 2:43
  2. "March of the Dribcots" 2:07
  3. "Love Dance Of The Saroos" 2:33
  4. "The Dribcots' Space Boat" 2:16
  5. "Disc Dance of the Globbots" 2:15
  6. "Valley of No Return" 3:07

(Track lengths from CD reissue)

Releases[edit]

  • The Blue Men, directed by Rod Freeman: I Hear A New World - Part 1 (EP, Triumph Records RGX-ST5000, March 1960)

"Entry of the Globbots", "Valley of the Saroos", "Orbit Around the Moon", "Magnetic Field"

  • The Blue Men, directed by Rod Freeman: I Hear A New World - Part 2 (EP, Triumph Records RGX-ST5001, unreleased)

"Globb Waterfall", "The Dribcots' Space Boat", "Love Dance Of the Saroos", "The Bublight"

  • LP, Triumph Records TRX-ST9000 scheduled for May 1960)
  • CD (RPM Records RPM502) Joe Meek - "I Hear a New World" (the front cover credits Meek, and the back credits Rod Freeman and the Blue Men; also includes audio and film clips of interviews with Meek)

Dream of the West[edit]

Four compositions from I Hear a New World were also used on the 1961 album Dream of the West by The Outlaws. The songs were retitled to fit to the theme of the album: "Orbit Around the Moon" became "Husky Team"; "Entry of the Globbots" became "Tune for Short Cowboys"; "The Bublight" became "The Outlaws" and "Valley of the Saroos" became "Spring is Near".

Further reading[edit]

  • Barry Cleveland, Creative Music Production: Joe Meek's Bold Techniques (Vallejo, California: MixBooks, 2001) ISBN 1-931140-08-1
  • R. W. Dopson and A. D. Blackburn, sleeve notes for I Hear a New World (RPM reissue)

References[edit]

  1. ^ Allmusic review
  2. ^ The Wire, issue 175
  3. ^ discogs.com/lists 100 Records That Set The World On Fire (When No One Was Listening)
  4. ^ I Hear a New World, covered by They Might Be Giants (2004)
  5. ^ The Blue Men discography at Discogs

External links[edit]