Silver Apples performing in Barcelona in 2008
|Origin||New York City, United States|
|Genres||Experimental rock, electronic, psychedelic rock|
|Years active||1967–1970, 1996–1999, 2006–present|
|Labels||Kapp, Rotorelief, MCA, Enraptured Records, Rocket Girl|
|Past members||Danny Taylor|
Silver Apples is an American psychedelic, electronic rock group from New York, active between 1967 and 1969, before reforming in the mid-1990s. It was composed of Simeon (born Simeon Oliver Coxe III, 4 June 1938, in Knoxville, Tennessee), who performs on a primitive synthesizer of his own devising (also named The Simeon); and, until his death in 2005, drummer Danny Taylor.
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 German krautrock of the 1970s but also underground dance music and indie rock of the 1990s.
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 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 on the Silver Apples' second album, Contact. In recent performances, Simeon still plays some of his and Warren's works from the early days of Silver Apples.
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. Simeon elaborates on the other reasons for Silver Apples disbanding and the record label's demise at his site.
In 1994 the German label TRC released a bootleg CD of both records. In 1996 the British label Enraptured released a tribute album called "Electronic Evocations - A Tribute To The Silver Apples", featuring bands like Windy & Carl, Flowchart, The Third Eye Foundation, Alpha Stone, Amp, among others. 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 (alias Sybarite) and Michael Lerner. In the ensuing years the Silver Apples released two albums of new material featuring this line-up: Decatur and Beacon. Eventually, "after much searching", Danny Taylor was located, and a handful of reunion shows of the original lineup were performed. 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.
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
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). Stereo Glasgow, 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.
- Studio albums
- Silver Apples (1968, Kapp Records), (2017, Rotorelief)
- Contact (1969, Kapp), (2017, Rotorelief)
- Beacon (1998, Whirlybird)
- The Garden (1998, Whirlybird)
- Decatur (1998, Whirlybird)
- Clinging To A Dream (2016, ChickenCoop Recordings)
- Extended plays
- Gremlins (2008, Gifted Children Records)
- Compilation albums
- Silver Apples (1997, MCA)
- Selections from the Early Sessions (2008, ChickenCoop Recordings)
- "Oscillations"/"Misty Mountain" (1968, KAPP Records, 7")
- "You & I"/"I Have Known Love" (1969, KAPP Records, 7")
- "Fractal Flow"/"Lovefingers" (1996, Enraptured 45's, 7")
- "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)
- Statton, Charles (2008). As a Tree Grows: A Genealogy of the Cox and Allied Families of Northwestern North Carolina. iUniverse. Retrieved March 2, 2013.
- Ankeny, Jason. "Silver Apples | Biography | AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 23 February 2015.
- Gómez, Edward M. "Topless but Far From Helpless: Charlotte Moorman's Avant-Garde Life". hyperallergic.com. Retrieved 28 November 2017.
- "Silver Apples Interview". Perfect Sound Forever. Retrieved 23 February 2015.
- Rosen, Jody (25 June 2019). "Here Are Hundreds More Artists Whose Tapes Were Destroyed in the UMG Fire". The New York Times. Retrieved 28 June 2019.
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