Silver Apples jammed with Jimi Hendrix, counted John Lennon as a fan, and produced extraordinary electronic music — with nothing but a drum kit and a pile of electrical junk.
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The band, electronics wizard Simeon Coxe and ace drummer Danny Taylor, deserve to be remembered as one of the handful of generally groundbreaking acts in late 1960s American rock. The New York-based duo’s June 1968 debut was perhaps the earliest album to incorporate breakbeats, found sounds and atonal noise into (more-or-less) conventional song structures, and at its best their beat-heavy electronic music still sounds dazzling and other-worldly.
Their achievement is all the more impressive when one considers the sheer logistical complications (and frequent electric shocks) involved in mobilizing their battery of oscillators, generators and synthesizers. Their two albums—Silver Apples (1968) and Contact (1969)— are uneven, but both contain astounding music, with flourishes that may be mainstream now, but must have sounded completely out-there at the time. As with most visionaries, they were little appreciated while in business, and not much original press concerning them exists.
These amazing photos of electronic duo Silver Apples, taken by Syeus Mottel, come from two performances in New York City in the spring of 1968: a rooftop music industry gathering, and a public performance in Washington Square.