Meek's 1959 concept album I Hear a New World is regarded as a watershed in modern music for its innovative use of electronic sounds.
These poignant phrases of exploratory thought became eerie prophecies of a life headed strange-ward into the void. As David Toop once noted, Joe Meek — like Brian Wilson, Lee “Scratch” Perry, and Phil Spector — is one of those rare sound scientists that wrestled on the fringes of sanity in order to conjure music from some “not-yet-existent” other place. The risk of course, in attempting to tap into such depths, is total disillusionment — a sudden detachment from reality. Wilson’s LSD-addled mind was lost somewhere in his sandbox, Perry flooded, then burned his cherished Black Ark studio to the ground, and in 1967, Meek murdered his landlady before turning the shotgun on himself.
Meek is now rightly regarded as one of the most influential engineers of all time, a pioneer of the studio-as-instrument (and producer-as-artist) recording approach. In 1959, Joe Meek, alongside Rod Freeman and The West Five, fleshed out the spectacular, space-themed visions ghosting his brain. The result was I Hear a New World, a collection of dreamy pop vignettes, adorned with dubby echoes and tape-warped sonic tendrils. These pop experiments, originally released in abbreviated form, were all but ignored at the time. It seems that music made for and about the future must wait for the future to arrive before it can be sufficiently understood and appreciated.