Decades after their brief yet influential career first ground to a sudden and mysterious halt, the Silver Apples remain one of pop music’s true enigmas: a surreal, almost unprecedented duo, their music explored interstellar drones and hums, pulsing rhythms, and electronically generated melodies years before similar ideas were adopted in the work of acolytes ranging from Suicide to Spacemen 3 to Laika. The Silver Apples formed in New York in 1967 and comprised percussionist Danny Taylor and lead vocalist Simeon, a bizarre figure who played an instrument also dubbed the Simeon, which (according to notes on the duo’s self-titled 1968 debut LP) consisted of “nine audio oscillators and eighty-six manual controls…The lead and rhythm oscillators are played with the hands, elbows and knees and the bass oscillators are played with the feet.” Although the utterly uncommercial record — an ingenious cacophony of beeps, buzzes, and beats — sold poorly, the Silver Apples resurfaced a year later with their sophomore effort, Contact, another far-flung outing which fared no better than its predecessor. After the record’s release, the duo seemingly vanished into thin air, perhaps returning to the alien world from whence they purportedly came; however, in 1996 the Silver Apples mysteriously resurfaced, as Simeon and new partner Xian Hawkins released the single “Fractal Flow.” American and European tours followed, and a year later, a new LP, Beacon, was released to wide acclaim. The follow-up, Decatur, appeared in 1998, and was soon joined by A Lake of Teardrops (a collaboration with avowed fans Spectrum) as well as The Garden, the long-unreleased third and final effort from the original Simeon/Taylor partnership. However, on November 1, 1998, the Silver Apples’ van crashed while returning from a New York gig; the accident left Simeon with a broken neck and spinal injuries, from which he recovered, performing under the band name well into the 2000s. ~ Jason Ankeny
On l’oublie souvent mais sans Silver Apples, pas d’Animal Collective, pas de Zombie Zombie ou même de Portishead (qui invite le groupe de temps en temps à ouvrir pour eux), pas de techno analogique ni certainement de kraut rock. Le duo devenu par la force des choses un projet solo, actif depuis 1967 est une pierre angulaire de la musique électronique à tête chercheuse. Ce qui frappe malgré cette carrière monumentale, c’est le côté intemporel de ces morceaux au charme pas si nostalgique que ça. A (re)découvrir.