Silver Apples

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Silver Apples
Origin New York City, United States
Genres Psychedelic rock
Electronic music
Proto-punk
Experimental music
Years active 1967–1970, 1996–1999, 2006–present
Labels Kapp, MCA, Enraptured Records, Rocket Girl
Associated acts Sybarite
Website www.silverapples.com
Members Simeon
Past members Danny Taylor
Xian Hawkins
Michael Lerner

Silver Apples is an American psychedelic electronic music group from New York, composed of Simeon (born Simeon Oliver Coxe III, 4 June 1938, in Knoxville, Tennessee),[1] who performs on a primitive synthesizer of his own devising (also named The Simeon); and, until his death in 2005, drummer Danny Taylor. The group was active between 1967 and 1969, before reforming in the mid-1990s.

They were one of the first groups to employ electronic music techniques extensively within a rock idiom, and their minimalistic style, with its pulsing, driving beat and frequently discordant modality, anticipated not only the experimental electronic music and krautrock of the 1970s, but also underground dance music and indie rock of the 1990s.[2]

Biography[edit]

The 1960s[edit]

The group formed out of a traditional rock band called The Overland Stage Electric Band, working regularly in the East Village. Simeon was the singer, but began to incorporate a 1940s vintage audio oscillator into the show, which alienated the other band members to the extent that the group was eventually reduced to the duo of Simeon and Taylor, at which point they renamed themselves The Silver Apples, after the William Butler Yeats poem The Song of the Wandering Aengus. The arsenal of oscillators eventually grew (according to their first LP liner notes) to include "nine audio oscillators piled on top of each other and eighty-six manual controls to control lead, rhythm and bass pulses with hands, feet and elbows". Simeon devised a system of telegraph keys and pedals to control tonality and chord changes, and reportedly never learned to play traditional piano-styled keyboards or synthesizers.

They were signed to Kapp Records and released their first record, Silver Apples, in 1968, and from that released a single, "Oscillations," a song that Simeon has cited as the first song he had written. On the debut album, seven of the nine songs had lyrics by Stanley Warren (not Warren Stanley as incorrectly credited on the re-release of the 1997 MCA CD), including the group's signature song, "Oscillations." Warren, who subsequently became a published poet, met Simeon and Taylor at the Fifth Annual Avant Garde Arts Festival in 1967 in New York City, organized by Charlotte Moorman, who was famous as the "topless cellist". Soon after, Simeon became acquainted with Warren's early work, and set a poem, "MJ", to music as "Seagreen Serenades." Inspired by Simeon's interest, in the next few months Warren wrote the remaining six songs used on the "Silver Apples" album. Another song, "Gypsy Love," was used in the second album, "Contact." In recent performances, Simeon still plays some of his and Warren's works from the early days of Silver Apples.[2]

The following year, they released their second LP, Contact and toured the United States. A third album was recorded in 1970, but Kapp was folded into MCA Records, leaving the album unreleased, and the group defunct.[2] Simeon elaborates on the other reasons for Silver Apples disbanding and the record label's demise at his site.

Nineties revival[edit]

In 1994, the German label TRC released a bootleg CD of both records, and the interest provoked by this release prompted Simeon to reform the Silver Apples in 1996. The first two records were re-released as official records from the master tapes, and Simeon began a tour of the United States with a new Silver Apples band, featuring Xian Hawkins and Michael Lerner. In the ensuing years the Silver Apples released two albums of new material featuring this line-up: Decatur and Beacon.[2] Eventually, "after much searching", Danny Taylor was located, and a handful of reunion shows of the original lineup were performed.[3] Taylor also had the tape of the unreleased third record, The Garden, in a box in his attic, and the record was finally released in 1998, featuring completed tracks from the original sessions plus tracks of Taylor's drumming from the time mixed with Simeon's new additions.

In 1998, their tour van was forced off the road by an unknown driver, breaking Simeon's neck. Plans for new recordings and further touring by the reunited duo was put on hold. As of 2004, Simeon was much recovered, but he was unable to play his instrument in the way he used to. He never fully recovered his hand movements, so his keyboard work is much more simple and direct now.[2]

Following the accident, Silver Apples' activity diminished. Simeon spent his time making new music, recuperating, and boating on the Gulf of Mexico. Xian Hawkins released four albums of solo material under the name Sybarite. Danny Taylor died on March 10, 2005 in Kingston, New York.

Recent concerts and festivals[edit]

In September 2007 Simeon went on tour for the first time in years, performing as a solo version of the Silver Apples. Silver Apples / Simeon performed at, among others, All Tomorrow's Parties (Minehead, UK, December 2007); Electric Picnic, Stradbally, Ireland (September 2008); All Tomorrow's Parties, Australia (January 2009), The Unit, Tokyo, (July 2009); Oscillations Music + Arts Festival, Belfast, Northern Ireland (September 2009); Austin Psych Fest 3, TX (April 2010); Albuquerque Experimental, Albuquerque, NM (October 2010), Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou (May 2011), London, England iTunes Festival (July 2011), RecBeat festival, in Recife, Brazil (February 2012) and Incubate, Netherlands (September, 2012), Mountain Oasis Electronic Music Summit, Asheville, NC (October, 2013), Audioscope 14 in Oxford, UK (November 2014)

In October 2011, Simeon performed as Silver-Qluster, a collaboration with Cluster frontman Hans-Joachim Roedelius, in ATP I'll Be Your Mirror Festival in Asbury Park, NJ. On the same festival the following day, Simeon was invited onstage by Portishead to perform "We Carry On", Portishead's homage to Silver Apples.

Discography[edit]

Studio albums[edit]

Singles and EPs[edit]

  • "Oscillations"/"Misty Mountain" (1968, KAPP Records, 7" single)
  • "You & I"/"I Have Known Love" (1969, KAPP Records, 7" Single)
  • "Fractal Flow"/"Lovefingers" (1996, Enraptured 45's, 7"Single)
  • "Fractal Flow"/"Lovefingers" (1997, Whirlybird Records, CD)
  • "A Lake of Teardrops" (1998, Space Age Recordings, CD (With Spectrum))
  • "I Don't Know" (2007, Gifted Children Records, 7" Split Single (with One Cut Kill))
  • "Gremlins" (2008, Gifted Children Records, CD-R EP)

Compilations[edit]

  • Silver Apples (1997, MCA, CD)
    • (re-release of first and second records)
  • Sunday Sept 14th,1997/Enraptured/CD
    • (8 tracks, 1 track Silver Apples)
  • ASYD VINYL/Krank Records (Norway)/2000/2xLP/
    • (Tribute to Syd Barrett, Simeon covers "Scarecrow")
  • Selections From The Early Sessions (2008, ChickenCoop Recordings)
    • (It features recorded versions (not from live shows) of eleven of the early songs that Simeon performs in live concert plus a bonus track recorded in 1969 of an impromptu session in NY with Jimi Hendrix.)
  • Silver Monk Time (2006, Play Loud! Productions, double CD)
    • (It features the title track to the Monks Tribute Album Silver Monk Time, a song written by Simeon Coxe/Alan Vega/Dietmar Post)

Collaborations[edit]

  • Tom Smith vs Silver Apples: Silver Apples/Betley Welcomes Careful Drivers(London)/1997/LP
  • Beacon Re-Mixed/Whirlybird/1998/CD
  • Silence/Whirlybird/1998/CD/Collaboration w/Rob Levit
  • Simeon & The Alchemysts/Woronzow(UK)/Rubric(US)/1999/CD/Collaboration w/ The Alchemysts
  • Remixes/3rd Stone Recordings (UK)/2000/2xCD/Simeon remixes by Reverberation, Colorsound, Darkroom & Bass Communion

References[edit]

  1. ^ Charles Statton, As a Tree Grows: A Genealogy of the Cox and Allied Families of Northwestern North Carolina, iUniverse, 2008. Retrieved 2 march 2013
  2. ^ a b c d e "Silver Apples Biography". Allmusic. Retrieved 2010-06-18. 
  3. ^ "Silver Apples interview". Perfect Sound Forever. Retrieved 2010-11-25. 
  4. ^ "Billboard". Allmusic. Retrieved 2010-06-18. 

External links[edit]