Silver Apples was a psychedelic, electronic music band from New York City. There were only two members in the band, Simeon(Simeon Oliver Coxe III) and Danny Taylor. Simeon played on a synthesizer that he named, oddly enough, The Simeon. Danny Taylor played drums.
Silver Apples are credited with influencing experimental electronic music, as well as a genre referred to as krautrock. They also influenced underground dance music and indie rock that were popular in the 1990’s.
Their music was considered minimalistic due to the fact that used a very limited amount of musical instruments and materials. There sound was highly experimental for the time, consisting of basically Danny Taylor playing drum parts, and Simeon playing synthesizer. The sound was that of a pulsing, hypnotic synthesizer and drum beat and lyrics.
As with many albums, it took me some time to get used to, and I wasn’t exactly impressed on first listen. But after subsequent listen throughs, I came to appreciate it’s pulsating beats and great drumwork. The singing I’d rate rather low, but the musicality makes up for it.
The self titled debut was released in 1968, and didn’t cause much of a stir or attention. It was a highly innovative and influential record, but in 1968, because of it’s obscure sound and experimentation, it was basically overlooked. To listen to it today, it sounds ahead of it’s time for the era in which it was released.
The first song on the record is titled Oscillations, and it is an obscure, but highly interesting start. Either it is shut down and thought of as junk to be shunned, or, if stuck with and continued to be listened too, can become mesmerizing. The choice is up to the listener. I’m glad I gave it a chance.
The next song on the record is Seagreen Serenades, a piece that is opened with a groovy drum track that is repeated over and over again throughout. There is a nice middle which seems to be a flute, however I am pretty sure it is Simeon doing his thing on his homemade synthesizer. As with much of the material, it has a driving mesmerizing beat, which I can imagine would be enhanced with a bit of alcohol, are LSD. It was the sixties, after all.
Lovefingers is the next song, with the drum intro again, and synthesized bleeps and drones, and lyrics that you have to really listen intently to to get the jist. Vocals were not the strong point on the record. It is one of the best songs on the record in my opinion.
Dancing Gods is especially interesting to me, because first and foremost, the drumming in the song sounds like a native american rain dance, or maybe a war dance. This hard driving, continuous beat is a sound that I’ve always been drawn to.
Although it is not always easy to understand, the lyrics are beautiful, and can be looked up if interested as to exactly what they are. To me, the lyrics are obviously about a native american ritual of some kind. Actually, despite the vocals not always being completely coherent, much of the lyrical content on the record is very well written, and in some cases, poetic.
Silver Apples is an acquired taste, but they sound timeless, and the music is as fresh sounding today as it did fifty years ago. If you heard it and knew nothing at all about it, it would seem like it could have been recorded recently, and hold up to modern standards.