When the Silver Apples were formed in the mid-60’s, Simeon Coxe and Danny Taylor had no way of knowing that they were forging the prototype of experimental electronic music. Connecting over a dozen oscillators, Coxe created a homemade synthesizer which produced a world of futuristic bleeps, sweeps, distortions, and repetitious basslines. With the addition of Taylor’s drums, they sounded like The Velvet Underground fronted by Nikola Tesla.
In 1968 they released their eponymous album. Where their sound wasn’t met simply with perplexity, it was met with perplexity and success—the single, Oscillations, even cracked Philadelphia’s top ten. The success of that allowed the band to use a 24 track studio to record their second album, Contact. That consists of the same mix of bass-line grooves, synthesized tweaking and quirky lyrics, but is better produced. Unfortunately, the back-cover photo of Danny and Simeon in a Pan-Am jet cockpit surrounded by marijuana paraphernalia prompted a lawsuit from the airline.
To make matters worse, the band’s manager confiscated their equipment in a financial dispute. They disbanded in 1970, leaving a legacy of two of the most innovative and influential albums ever created. Indeed, it’s difficult to imagine today’s electronica without them.