Over time, Silver Apples have been credited as pioneers in Electronic music and Psychedelic Rock. Once you’ve heard their 2 releases from 1967-69, you’ll only have to agree.
Silver Apples are an American duo, consisting of Simeon Coxe and Drummer Danny Taylor. Simeon creates oscillating synth tracks using his own synthesizer “The Simeon”; a mass of oscillators, pedals, switches and “electrical junk”. Using The Simeon, Taylor’s drums and both vocals, Silver Apples created two legendary electronic albums around the release as Beatles’ White album.
It was upon the release of their album “Contact” that the band were first to split due to lawsuits from Pan Am Airlines.
Their self-titled debut album is an incredible soundscape, especially considering the era during which it was released. However, Silver Apples barely came close to Top 100 in the charts and wouldn’t hit a wider audience until an unofficial release mid-nineties. Portishead’s Adrian Utley and Geoff Barrow named Silver Apples a “massive influence” and one of their top 13 albums with The Quietus. This album is incredibly ahead of its time and remains very relevant today; which is something that can’t be said for all aging electronic albums. This album should prove very interesting and enjoyable for both Electronic and psychedelic Rock fans.
The Opening track, Oscillations, is an eerie track that builds throughout. Portishead’s “We Carry On” has been noted as heavily influenced by Oscillations.
Dust is a bizarre track which could be considered a product of the art movements of the 1960s. With building cymbal trembles and a tense vocal reading, Dust is a stand-out track with a less musical approach.
Seagreen Serenades breaks-up the oscillation synths and drumming with other interesting instrumentation. Featuring a recorder to produce a more soothing track, Seagreen Serenades is an interesting track that switches from brooding to relaxingly fluent half-way through.
This album switches from relaxing synths to strong beats with groovy instrumentation. Making it a great listen for more than one mood or context.
Contact was Silver Apple’s second album, an incredible experimental album that, doubled with Silver Apples (1968), shows the full influence of the Duo. It was Contact’s album artwork that led to the untimely break up of Silver Apples at the hand of Pan Am Airlines. The artwork features a consensual use of Pan Am’s logo with the two sitting in the cockpit. However, on the rear side of album is a photo of an unmarked Plane crash with the two sat in the foreground; Banjo in hand. The association between Pan Am and the crash photograph angered the Airline. Pan Am then sued the band, the record label and the two Men as individuals.
Opening track You and I shows a further experimental side of Silver Apple’s electronic vision. Combining several electronic rhythms with a whining Theremin sound this track isn’t a strong first step.
3rd Track Ruby uses a new instrumentation similar to Seagreen Serenades, this time in form of Banjo strumming. This track broadens Silver Apples’ horizons even further; demonstrating how successfully experimental the duo were.
A Pox on You, is a phenomenal track and a sure example of Silver Apple’s capabilities. Stripping back to a clean drum beat, The Simeon’s oscillation and eerie vocals, this track is brooding. With a title of “a pox on you” one shouldn’t be too surprised by the darkness of this track. The beat flows perfectly with the hums and whines of The Simeon.
Confusion is stand-out track that also uses a Banjo to create a quirky, bouncy track. This song is strangely dissimilar to the rest of the work by the Silver Apple’s but can surely be appreciated by many.
Silver Apples were undoubtedly a band ahead of their time, however, since 1996 the Duo have re-established and performed. Due to drummer Taylor’s untimely death in 2005, Coxe now currently performs alone with recorded drum tracks. For further listening, Silver Apple’s have a third album previously unreleased. The Garden was recorded in 1970 and released in 1998