Silver Apples :: S/T 1968

Of all the records that are considered “ahead of their time,” this may be the most en vogue contender. There are thousands of albums from the sixties that didn’t jive with the times, and many that are still too ahead of their time (what happens in the evolution of music since then ultimately ends up determining what we consider to be the most influential). In terms of popular electronic music, nothing really touches what the Silver Apples started up in ’68.

To best understand what the Apples are all about, you have to check the diagram in the liner notes. They are only a duo, comprising equally complicated setups: Danny Taylors’ expansive drum kit and Simeon’s boggling assortment of electronic treats. Several custom oscillators drone over sequenced looping bass lines, while tape machines implement found sound recordings (predicting the method of sampling and adding even more their legendary status). Taylors’ drumming seals the deal with programmatic beats that would influence kit players from Can’s (Jaki Liebezeit) to hip hop drummers like ?uestlove. The Silver Apples were staggeringly prescient in their technical setup, but perhaps even more influential was their use of the drone. Hypnotic and trance inducing, I can’t imagine any modern day electronic pop that shouldn’t show some allegiance to this groundbreaking record.

Period vocal stylings sometimes distract modern day electro fiends, but they are surely missing out. The tunework and lyrics are the match of most good psych records from the time, and this record consistently continues to blow minds just as hard today as it must have back then, to the few who listened. The new Phoenix vinyl reissue carries a pretty high price tag, but looks like its worth the price, limited to 1,000 copies. For those looking to dive in at cost, check out the MCA twofer CD reissue, which also contains their next album, Contact. Positively essential for electronic and psych listeners. words/ b mcgrath

MP3: Silver Apples :: Oscillations
MP3: Silver Apples :: Lovefingers

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7 thoughts on “Silver Apples :: S/T 1968

  1. THere was a time these were common in cutout bins and went by my face at least 50 times between 1970-1985 when I was working my first record store jobs, especially when I started in used records in 1975. I had copies of all three eventually and would listen from time to time ( Iwqas a weirdo, no doubt)between bouts of Jimmy Reed. Merle Haggard, The Faces and The Band, who feuled my musical performances wioth new material/ But I also had a primitive drum machine and a couploe of synths and used to experiment whenever I could with hissy layered stereo recordings of late night radio dial sweeps and ‘manual’ (read “real time”) sequence-like riffs. These guys were the ones that made EVERYTHING i did legitimate, even if it sucked. Thank you Simon and Danny, for showing those who listened that anything was possible and that it all mattered, even if only 10 or 20 people listened.

  2. love when they release stuff like this on vinyl again… i have the original pressing on vinyl and it just doesn’t sound the same on cd or itunes… bottom line.

  3. Wow, those tracks are amazing. I had heard “of” this band but hadn’t actually experienced it before. I will be buying this right away. Thanks for sharing. Great write-up too.

  4. This album pretty much marks the genesis of electronic psych rock. Animal Collective, Caribou and so many others stem from the Silver Apples seed.

    We’re super f’ing excited to have Silver Apples at Austin Psych Fest 3. Come on out to Austin one more time this year and check it out.

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