“Silver Apples” by Silver Apples - album review

features in: Album Chart of 1968Album Chart of the Decade: 1960s

TJR says

New York, not for the first or last time, was at the artsy epi-centre of the musical universe in 1968 – giving the Velvet Underground a run for their money in the “blindingly brilliant, no commercial potential, ahead of their time” stakes were Silver Apples, a duo consisting of Dan Taylor (19, drums, percussion, vocals) and Simeon Coxe (30, oscillators, vocals). Together, they produced a minor masterpiece here with this discordant, minimalistic set, produced against all the odds in a studio with only the most basic of recording facilities. With an arsenal of oscillators, the experimental Coxe essentially built his own synthesizer from scratch, housing them all into one plywood base board. All of the components were disjointed, weighed approximately 10 kilograms each and required all four limbs to play, as he explains:

“At the same time as I'm moving the dials with my right hand on the lead oscillator, I'm working my elbow up and down across a bank of telegraph keys so that my forearm is keying in two or three of the other oscillators that have been pre‑tuned to different notes. So that way I'm creating a little rhythm section. At the same time I have some on/off switches underneath and so I'm playing a sort of repeating, rolling bass line with my feet. On top of that, I had to sing. In the meantime, Danny's wheeling away on the drums. That was basically our act. It was almost like a one‑man band with a drummer.”

This work was rejected and dissed by fellow musicians and critics, yet it was decades ahead of the lot of them in terms of adventure and spirit, and was fully realised with an end product which continues to impress generations in the 21st century. “To me, we were just limping along doing the best we could with our limitations in terms of the equipment we had and the abilities we had. I never thought of us as being ground‑breaking” commented Simeon. What a modest man. And what a truly extra-ordinary document to have left in 1968. If they never had physical evidence of the date you would never believe it.

The Jukebox Rebel

A1 [02:48] 8.5.png Silver Apples - Oscillations (Danny Taylor, Stanley Warren) Electronica
A2 [02:55] 6.9.png Silver Apples - Seagreen Serenades (Simeon Coxe III, Stanley Warren) New Wave
A3 [04:11] 6.8.png Silver Apples - Lovefingers (Simeon Coxe III, Stanley Warren) Electronica
A4 [04:07] 8.0.png Silver Apples - Program (Simeon Coxe III, Stanley Warren) Trance Rock
A5 [03:30] 8.1.png Silver Apples - Velvet Cave (Simeon Coxe III, Stanley Warren) Electronica
B1 [02:41] 7.5.png Silver Apples - Whirly-Bird (Simeon Coxe III, Stanley Warren) Psychedelia
B2 [03:40] 6.5.png Silver Apples - Dust (Simeon Coxe III, Stanley Warren) Avant-Garde
B3 [05:57] 7.0.png Silver Apples - Dancing Gods (Traditional) Avant-Garde
B4 [03:26] 9.0.png Silver Apples - Misty Mountain (Simeon Coxe III, Eileen Lewellen) Electronica

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