field report no.110216

SUBJECT: Silver Apples

I first came across the Silver Apples, like so many other things, from the now legendary list, 100 Records that Set the World on Fire (While No One Was Listening), published in 1998. It's hard to imagine that this was before the wholesale digital takeover of the music industry, and it took me years before I had heard everything from this list. That same effort lent each album outsize importance, though. As I scroll through it now, it's unbelievable how much this one list has helped shape my aesthetic.

Nearly all the Silver Apples' music is built upon the tripod of gurgling abstract electronics, metronomic drumming and simple melodies delivered in a near sing-speak. If you replaced many of the songs bizarre arrangements with some simple banjo picking, it would sound more like a bluesy back porch hippy jam.

As they've have returned to sporadic action (after originally disbanding in 1970), they were welcomed by their musical next-of-kin, and a sported detailed narrative hook to sell their story. Their music—and that a small handful of likeminded pioneers—has exerted a slow but steady influence on the rock and electronic underground. That analogue and handmade electronics are all the rage again has set a perfect stage for a Silver Apples legacy tour. Their outsider-art backstory too, has secured them a ready way to both be celebrated as trailblazers and gleefully refuse to overtly modernize their sound or approach. For someone who nearly disappeared into obscurity before, it must be a real treat to play to sold-out, attentive audiences now. 

NOTES: Silver Apples; Forma