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SILVER APPLES

Silver Apples

Proto-Prog


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Silver Apples Silver Apples  album cover
3.44 | 18 ratings | 5 reviews | 11% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 1968

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Oscillations (2:47)
2. Seagreen Serenades (2:53)
3. Lovefingers (4:10)
4. Program (4:05)
5. Velvet Cave (3:28)
6. Whirly-Bird (2:39)
7. Dust (3:42)
8. Dancing Gods (5:55)
9. Misty Mountain (2:38)

Lyrics

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Music tabs (tablatures)

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Line-up / Musicians

- Dan Taylor / Percussion, Vocals
- Simeon / Synth, Vocals

Releases information

Kapp Records
Design Records 2009 reissue

Thanks to philippe for the addition
Edit this entry

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Imports 1997
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SILVER APPLES Silver Apples ratings distribution


3.44
(18 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of rock music(11%)
11%
Excellent addition to any rock music collection(50%)
50%
Good, but non-essential (33%)
33%
Collectors/fans only (6%)
6%
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)
0%

SILVER APPLES Silver Apples reviews


Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Sean Trane
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog Folk
3 stars 3.5 styars really!!

First album of the NY duo that had begun as a quintet named Overland Stage Electric Band, but slowly disintegrated into the groundbreaking Silver Apple duet. The metamorphosis was mainly due to leader Simeon's increased interest in electronic sounds and gizmos, which scared the other members, except for drummer Taylor. Indeed, as the defections went on, Simeon acquired a bunch of oscillators (some played with hands, others with feet), some of which were used as bass guitar proxy, all of it mostly self-assembled. They received much attention for their first appearance at a Central Park all-day concert that featured Zappa, Fugs, Steve Miller Band, and this landed them a recording contract with Kapp Records.

Silver Apples were definitely one of the electronic music pioneers, along with United States Of America, Fifty Foot Hose, and White Noise & Tangerine Dream (across the Atlantic), and in some ways, the music on their debut album can resemble a bit the one that Neu!, Can or Kraftwerk would develop some five years later. The least we can say is that the drug- induced psychedelic electronic soundscapes developed on their s/t debut is completely un- commercial (at least back in those days), and was very repetitive and had a minimalist side to it. Some of these tracks even are a little hypnotic and even develop a certain Amerindian incantation feel (Dancing Gods). Right from the first electronic pulse of the opening Oscillations, you'd swear that you're somewhere in the mid-70's if not even in the early 80's, if it wasn't for the "poor" production and na´ve vocals. Lovefingers features the repetititititive electronic beats and melodies (often limited to binary) with plenty of tape extracts and effects from all sorts of source, including classical music. While few people remember SA's legacy though their two albums, I have little doubt that some musicians heard them and inspired their sounds from them. While I wouldn't call any of SA's two albums masterpieces of electronic music, if you're into the genesis of the style, then they both become essential and very groundbreaking albums, a bit like White Noise's Electric Storm or Tangerine Dream's Electronic Meditations. But as pure musical quality, this album is fairly average, most of its interest lies within the historical context and its avant-garde aura.

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Review by Eetu Pellonpaa
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars This synthetically shimmering rare metal duo was certainly ahead of their time, pioneering the droning beats for meditative space rock pulsars, trance techno electronics and monotonic psychedelic dronings. On the time of recording this album, Third Ear Band were searching their own path to autistic ecstasy from archaic primitivism and Fifty Foot Hose projected their electronic fields as evocative textures among their hippie compositions, but Danny Taylor's and Simeon's duo Silver Apples relied to foreign mechanical perspectives granted by self-constructed audio oscillator, counterbalanced with human touch of drums and singing voice.

As a Finnish listener a first association from the constructed audio generator monster "Simeon" is the electronic quartet machine built by Erkki Kureniemi, the tonal aesthetic shimmering the humanism equal to post-second world war computer's brutal processing of analogue tapes and information cards. The compositions on this first album of the duo implements the scale of sonic variations of quite limited possibilities quite well, overall feeling being stoned, distressing and alienating. The vocal lines follow the paths of meditative choruses and machine sounds fulfil vast array of pitch dimensions, creating a convincing but foreign sound realms. The union of mechanical and man played rhythm instruments unite as enchanting dreamy pulse sequences, and the contrast of tender vocals and brutal machines are quite powerful, certainly beating with pulse of an unique record artifact. Tracks like "Program" also introduce use of sampled loops of other records, from their own part predicting the birth of dj culture, mixing classical music and radio broadcasts to the hypnotic and relentless rhythmic drive of the song. Also quite impressionistic soundscapes are introduced along with reciting like "Dust", and "Dancing Gods" floating to hypnotic spheres of American Indian drumming rituals.

I believe the album has also quite much historical value, and those interested of the development of electronic music or cosmic causeways of Hawkwind related bands might be interested to hear this album. As a listening experience I found this innovative material interesting, but not enchanting, forcing me to preserve listening time for this stuff in notable measures.

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Review by DamoXt7942
FORUM & SITE ADMIN GROUP RIO/Avant/Zeuhl & Neo Teams
3 stars An enjoyable pioneer of Psychedelic / Progressive / Electronic call.

Basically their eponymous album was created with bluesy psychedelic / heavy pop songs, that were deeply veiled with weird old-fashioned electronic blows. Their electronic sounds were not so precise nor experimental but amazingly innovative for the end of 1960s ... in a different sense from other progressive prototypes.

Not all stuffs are interesting as honestly I say, but each track has definite eccentricity through electric mind waves. The very first shot of "Oscillation" is peculiar enough for icing our brain really, regardless of its basically "pop" feeling. In the third one "Program", just like the title, lots of dramatic / classic samples are featured here and there, that reminds me some touches like John Lennon's "Revolution No.9". "Dust" is another bulky experiment launched by them with horribly unstable synthesizer-oriented atmosphere and floating (and cheesy) voices. For me this track can be called as progressive indeed.

Progressive electronic really? No for me. But cannot be avoided as an innovator for this subgenre. Silver Apples would have been shining for progressive rock freaks I imagine?

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Review by LearsFool
COLLABORATOR Post/Math Rock Team
LearsFool avatar
4 stars It was 1968, and all the world knew of electronic music was Stockhausen, Delia Derbyshire's theme song for "Doctor Who", and that weird little instrument Brian Wilson played on "Good Vibrations" - that is, the Electro- Theremin, originally put down by Paul Tanner in the studio. Then an Armenian American calling himself simply Simeon put together a band through which he wished to explore electronic sounds in a psychedelic context. Forced by monetary concerns to thumb his nose at Moog's original modulator, he took a few '40's era oscillators and over time built an extensive set. This alienated all but talented and loyal drummer Dan Taylor, and they ended up cutting a couple of records. As a result, we can thank them for White Noise, Tangerine Dream, Kraftwerk, Throbbing Gristle, New Order, Aphex Twin, Massive Attack, Underworld, Nimh, and Com Truise. They managed to use Simeon's beloved electronic sounds to make some wonderful psychedelic music, especially as supported by Taylor's own vast drumset, played like Hephaestus at his forge. It's smooth, light, unique stuff that takes a listener on a relaxing yet alien journey. There is nothing else like this in all music, especially in light of the particular oscillators used to create it, with the unique sound they gave. This is also the font of electronic music in a more popular context, something even the masterful "United States of America" couldn't hope to achieve on its own. Of all of psychedelia's albums, this, "Sgt Pepper's", and "Electric Ladyland" had to be the three particularly forward thinking and influential albums. And, though not quite as good as Joe Byrd's and White Noise's work in proto-pop- electro, it is still great. A unique, wonderful, required listen.

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Review by siLLy puPPy
COLLABORATOR PSIKE Team
4 stars SILVER APPLES were one of those proto-electronic rock pioneer bands that emerged in the experimental and anything goes late 60s and despite not being a household name like many other acts of the era, still managed to sow its seeds in the fabric of the rock world only to find them sprouting several years later. The band was essentially a duo that composed of Simeon Oliver Coxe III, who simply went by The Simeon and Danny Taylor. Both members emerged out of the early rock band The Overland Stage Electric Band playing regularly in the East Village, NYC, but after Simeon's fascination with a 1940s audio oscillator that he was trying to incorporate into the band he soon found himself parting ways bringing drummer Danny Taylor along for the ride.

After some inventive tweaking of his beloved oscillator the duo set forth to record an extremely experimental album for the time following in the wake of the great year of 67 when The Beatles changed all the rules with "Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club." The band called themselves SILVER APPLES and followed the cue of perhaps the only other similar band that came before, namely Fifty Foot Hose. They released this eponymous debut release on Kapp Records a mere six months later and a mere few months after the other great American electronic pioneers The United States Of America.

Upon first listen, this one may sound somewhat familiar as the innovations on this album have been well integrated into the fabric of the rock world the ensuing decades. Where SILVER APPLES differentiated themselves from the other electronic pioneers of the era were in the fact that they didn't use electronic effects as mere atmospheric generators shrouded around the rock aspects of music. They actually melded it all into the rock music itself thus creating some of the first synthesized minimalism in a rock context, the likes of which would reverberate into the Krautrock world of Neu!, Can and most of all Kraftwerk and would in turn influence bands like Suicide and other so-called synth punk acts. The technique was far ahead of its time and found its way into tons of 70s dance music and even 90s indie rock.

The opening track "Oscillations" sets the tone for the entire album to follow. It starts the show with an oscillator changing pitch before a groovy 60s drumbeat joins in. While many experimental albums can literally transcend all time and the era in which they were created, SILVER APPLES is one of those bands like The United States Of America that is firmly rooted in the 1968 time continuum and employs both groovy percussion and period vocal styles as well. The juxtaposition of the familiar with the unorthodox is what makes this an interesting mix. While some may feel the connection to the time is what drags this down, i feel the exact opposite as i don't believe experimental music needs to divorce itself from its respective era of creation. In fact, i love being drawn into the subculture of an era i was not a part of. SILVER APPLES firmly places itself amongst the psychedelic pop of the tumultuous 60s and ups the ante by eschewing the ubiquitous aspects of period psychedelic music by removing guitars and bass and replacing it with unusual electronic embellishments.

Simeon was brilliant in that he managed to forego the traditional instruments by his ability to control tonality and chord changes with his own invented system of telegraph keys and pedals in which he could alter the pitches. While psychedelic rock with beatnik flower children vibes are the mainstay, there are many influences on board which were hitherto unincorporated into the rock arena as well, the most striking example being the Native American powwow drumming that pummels most boldly through tracks like "Dust" which slowly ratchets up the intensity to an energetic and satisfying finale.

While i don't always find highly influential albums to be the most interesting listens in their own right, i am pleasantly surprised how well SILVER APPLES pulls off their debut album with the constant pulsing drones, the monochromatic periods of sustained chords that evoke a mysterious sense of tension that milks a certain mood for all its worth while the percussion dances around energetically in stark contrast. While the vocals do evoke a 60s feel, they evoke an occult underground type of fringe music. This would have been the nerdy outsider's type of music of the day. Although SILVER APPLES didn't experience the greatest success at the time as this was probably just a little too far ahead of its time, this debut album has gone on to become very regarded and one that i find matches the hype surrounding it.

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