Starlet: a tribute to Joe Meek

From the press release:

A composer from West Yorkshire has released a single, ‘Starlet’, which is intended as a tribute to the legendary producer Joe Meek and his most famous production, ‘Telstar’. The track, which was composed, arranged and produced entirely in software, features authentic instrument samples from the era, including the clavioline, the Vox ‘Continental’ and the Hofner bass, and uses vintage emulations of 1960s hardware to capture the unique production characteristics of Meek’s records.

Meek’s productions have a highly distinctive sonic fingerprint which is largely a result of the way he employed technology in recording and producing his artists – for example, his use of heavy compression,  persistently driving the needle ‘into the red’, was unorthodox for the period, as was his propensity to swamp his tracks in echo. His approach to making records betrays certain similarities to that of his contemporary Phil Spector in its prioritisation of the ‘sound’ of the record over the individual personalities of the musicians involved in making the recordings.

The track has been composed, arranged and produced by Mark Marrington, and released via MadeinMIDI, a production label he set up in 2009.  Marrington, who lives in Hebden Bridge and is currently a Senior Lecturer in Popular Music at Leeds College of Music, describes the record as “my attempt to capture the spirit of Meek in the era of the software studio”.

“Meek was way ahead of his time in anticipating the era of the bedroom producer”, says Marrington, “and he exhibited a certain doggedness in his determination to prove to the major recording studios of the period that record production was a creative process rather than simply a means of documenting the music that was in fashion at the time”.

The single has been released under the pseudonym ‘(The) Rattles’ (an anagram of ‘Telstar’) a band which Marrington describes as “the missing musical link between Manchester and Halifax”.