Psychedelic-Rock'n'roll: The Silver Apples - The Silver Apples / Contact (HEAVY PSYCHEDELIA US 1968 1969)

30 March 2009

The Silver Apples - The Silver Apples / Contact (HEAVY PSYCHEDELIA US 1968 1969)


"The Silver Apples" started around 1967 in New York City.
The were a five-piece Psychedelic Blues band who working regularly in the East Village at The Cafe Wha?.
Originally they were called "The Overland Stage Electric Band" and they had three guitarists.
"Simeon Coxe III" was the singer, but began to incorporate a 1940s vintage audio oscillator into the show.
One by one all the guitarists left, leaving just "Simeon Coxe" on "The Simeon" (according to their first LP liner notes, 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 Coxe" 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 and vocals and "Dan Taylor", was (a drummer whose previous experience included playing with "Jimi Hendrix") playing percussion and vocals.

SILVER_APPLES,OSCILLATION,PSYCHEDELIC-ROCKNROLL,SIMEON,THEREMINAt which point they renamed themselves the "Silver Apples", after the "William Butler Yeats" poem "The Song of the Wandering Aengus".
"Silver Apples" 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 the experimental electronic music and Krautrock of the 1970s.
"Simeon Coxe" layered his oscillators to create a collage of sounds that seemed to be recorded in outer space and then transmitted back to earth for your listening pleasure.
The lead oscillator produced a tone akin to a Theremin, contributing not only to the out-of-this-world quality, but its shaky, hyper-quiver added an air of tension.

A hypnotic one- or two-chord rhythm pattern of bass notes held the tunes together, while "Simeon Coxe" played counter and counter-counter-rhythms.
"Danny Taylor" proved to be an innovative drummer, producing an array of interesting beats and fills.
He also tuned his drums so he could change chords with "The Simeon".

SILVER_APPLES,OSCILLATION,PSYCHEDELIC-ROCKNROLL,SIMEON,THEREMIN,CONTACT,nycSilver Apples: "Whirly Bird" / "Oscillations", Kapp Records KV533, France 1968

"Silver Apples" were signed to "Kapp Records" and released their first record, "Silver Apples" (Kapp Records KS-3562, 1968), and from that released a single, "Oscillations".
The following year, they released their second LP, "Contact" (Kapp Records KS-3584, 1969) and toured the United States.
Even among the cutting edge early Electronic Rock acts of the late 60's, "Silver Apples" were an anomaly.
Bands like "The United States Of America", "The White Noise", and "Fifty Foot Hose" tended to perform more traditional songs, albeit with electronic instrumentation, juxtaposed with wild electronic weirdness.
"Silver Apples" had a more consistent, unified, and droning sound.
They're always at their strangest.

SILVER_APPLES,OSCILLATION,PSYCHEDELIC-ROCKNROLL,SIMEON,THEREMIN,CONTACt,OVERHEADOn the debut album "Silver Apples", seven of the nine songs had lyrics by "Stanley Warren", including the group's signature song, "Oscillations".
"Stanley Warren", who subsequently became a published poet, met "Simeon Coxe" and "Dan Taylor" at the "Third Annual Avant Garde Arts Festival" in 1968 in New York City, organized by "Charlotte Moorman", who was famous as the 'topless cellist'.
Soon after, "Simeon Coxe" became acquainted with "Stanley Warren"'s early work, and set a poem, "MJ", to music as "Seagreen Serenades".
Inspired by "Simeon Coxe"'s interest, in the next few months "Stanley Warren" wrote the remaining six songs used on the "Silver Apples" album.
Another song, "Gypsy Love" was used in the second album, "Contact".

"Oscillations" is a fine introduction to the band with it's pulsing beat and echoing, alienated tones.
This band's ace in the hole was the ability to actually write catchy songs, even if they were dresses in interstellar clothing, and "Oscillations" will stick in your head like glue.

SILVER_APPLES,OSCILLATION,PSYCHEDELIC-ROCKNROLL,SIMEON,THEREMIN,CONTACT,TAYLORA song like "Lovefingers" would build with a drum and bass pattern, before bursting with waves of sound from the oscillators.
Many of the tracks on "Silver Apples" have a subtle catchiness to them, possessing a Pop mentality that isn't immediate.
The self titled album rode the "Billboard Magazine Top 100" list for 10 weeks.

SILVER_APPLES,OSCILLATION,PSYCHEDELIC-ROCKNROLL,SIMEON,THEREMIN,CONTACT,front"Contact" album offered a more diverse range of songs, but still relied heavily on the electronic whizz-bang generated from "Simeon Coxe" and his instrument.
There were a few hook-laden, near-pop tunes, but also some slightly menacing, decidedly un-Woodstockian sentiments.
"Silver Apples" went into hiding after releasing "Contact".
The cover art featured "Simeon Coxe" and "Dan Taylor" in the pilot seats of a "Pan Am" passenger jet with drug paraphernalia; the inner sleeve pictured the duo playing banjos amid superimposed plane wreckage.
"Pan Am" didn't find the stunt funny, and sued the band for $100,000.
In support of "Contact", they embarked upon an extensive tour and took the stage of some legendary music venues, including the "Fillmore Auditorium" in San Francisco and "Max's Kansas City" in New York City but other shows were less than well received.
In some cases, they were booked as openers for "Southern Rock" bands and their decidedly arty music incited the threat of violence from some audiences.
"Simeon Coxe" and "Dan Taylor" did go back into the studio to make a third album, but then "Kapp Records" went under, and the tapes rotted away in storage, never to be released.
In between that and "Kapp Records"' financial doom, the band was forced to dissolve near the end of 1969.


Anonymous said...

the link is dead...