Visionary record producer Joe Meek gifted with art installation
Late English record producer, songwriter and sound engineer Joe Meek will this week be given an art installation to celebrate his talent within the industry during the 1960's.
In 1967, at the age of 37, Meek tragically took his own life following a series of complications with drug abuse, a weighted work schedule, his financial situation, and - namely - his "controversial" sexual preference (Meek was gay when it was deemed "illegal" in the UK). Prior to his death, Meek's struggle for success and acceptance due to his personal troubles were rarely made apparent thanks to his emerging reputation as a visionary in his field.
He pushed boundaries in recording techniques, pioneering such methods as "overdubbing" and "sampling", "close miking" instruments, direct input of electric guitars, "echo" and "reverb" and "compression". Though he was not able to play or read it himself, his ingenuity and improvisation helped pave a new way to record and produce music.
Meek's most famous works include John Leyton's "Johnny Remember Me" (1961), Heinz Burt's "Just Like Eddie" (1963), "Have I the Right?" (1964) by The Honeycombs, "Tribute to Buddy Holly" (1961) by Mike Berry, and the breakaway instrumental number "Telstar" (1962) by The Tornados - which spent 5 weeks at number 1 in the UK Singles Chart, later becoming the first US number 1 hit by a British group.
The multimedia installation trail, titled 'Joe Meek - 304 Holloway Road', will be based on the Holloway Road area, ending outside Meek's former studio on 304 Holloway Road. The installation will be curated by London-based theatremaker Julie Rose Bower.
Speaking to Creative Review, Bower explained:
"Sometimes art is one of the only ways we have to speak about complex and controversial histories. It’s not a one-dimensional story, and the installations themselves are very poetic and gentle, they aren’t macabre or grisly or obscene."
Meek's legacy remains an inspirational one, and can resonate with those artists who are driven to succeed no matter the personal sacrifices or obstacles they may face.