Release Date: Sep 2, 2016
Record label: Chicken Coop
In terms of homemade instruments, Silver Apples’ oscillator-synth contraption, known as “the Simeon,” remains undersung. It has never gotten as much attention as the theremin, Harry Partch’s ensembles, Os Mutantes’ fuzz pedal, or Glenn Branca’s third bridge guitars. Operated by telegraph keys and foot pedals, the Simeon was more an ad hoc construction of weirdly humming parts than a functioning instrument.
When Silver Apples first appeared in 1967 it’s fair to say that their sound was like almost nothing else in existence. Combining the rudimentary synth oscillations of The Simeon with the inventive drumming of Dan Taylor they somehow anticipated Krautrock, laid the groundwork for modern electronic music and still managed to sound like a hippy commune had made its way into space. Their first two albums, Silver Apples (1968) and Contact (1969), remain some of the most inventive and influential albums of all time, even though by today’s standards they might well sound a little dated.
Having latterly manoeuvred in a somewhat non-linear fashion, many might have thought that pioneering analogue electronics veteran Simeon Coxe had given-up on cutting another Silver Apples LP. Coxe had seemed content to continue as a live trouper since the back-to-back release of 1997’s Steve Albini-recorded songs-based Beacon and 1998’s abstract Decatur, with only a sporadic string of largely live-recorded 7? singles to keep the discography expanding. Now finally, Coxe has finished – with production help from Graham Sutton of Bark Psychosis – a new very-long-in-the-works Silver Apples album, to keep his presence felt alongside mesmeric one-man-and-his-oscillators stage shows.