Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Silver Apples - Oscillations

Silver Apples. If it weren't for them the Krautrock scene of the 1970's might not have existed. The band formed in 1967 in NYC, one of those lucky few who managed to hear The Velvet Underground & Nico. The band contains only two members, Danny Taylor on drums and Simeon who played a homemade synthesizer (referred to as "The Simeon.") Now get these details:

"The Simeon consisted 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."

How impressive is that? The band released their first single "Oscillations" in 1968, and while it didn't do too well commercially, it was critically acclaimed and the band gained a cult following. Later that year the band released their first album Silver Apples which peaked at #193 on the Billboard top 200. The next year the follow-up Contact was released, and soon after the band broke up. There was a reunion in 1996 with a few new records, but things were put on a damper in 1999 after Simeon broke his neck in a tour bus accident. Then in 2005 Danny passed away after a heart attack. However currently Simeon has recovered but as a result of the injury has lessened movement in his hands. He now lives in Alabama where he still records music and works on his art.

Now here's Oscillations, still the best known Silver Apples song. Pitchfork recently listed their song in their Top 200 songs of the 1960's list at #120, sandwitched between "I Fought the Law" and "96 Tears." Nice.

Silver Apples - Oscillations

"Oscillations, Oscillations
Electronic evocations of sound's reality

Spinning, magnetic fluctuations, waves of wave configurations
That dance between the poles off sound and bind my world to soul

I walk the streets of moment. Head down to the ground.
Cars are stars remotely far. My only world is sound.
Passersby are worlds that fly. Far from the dance of time.
Time whirls round from pole to pole and swirls within the sound."

Silver Apples/Contact @ Amazon.com


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