Electronic pioneers Silver Apples bring their oscillators back to The Kazimier to head a December line-up that will warm the wintry cockles, Getintothis’ Paul Higham has all the details.
As modern music remains in thrall to the pervading influences of psychedelia, electronica and krautrock, it seems appropriate that Liverpool should welcome to The Kazimier on 2 December a group, in Silver Apples, who had a pioneering influence on all three art forms.
Founded in New York in the mid-1960s by Simeon and drummer Danny Taylor, the group were one of the first to incorporate electronica within the framework of traditional rock song structures.
Formed around the use of a primitive synthesiser designed and built by Simeon himself, the duo became renowned for their discordant musical style, pulsating beats and minimalist approach.
Their eponymous debut album, featuring songs written alongside the future poet Stanley Warren, defined their sound and musical approach. After the incorporation of a 1940s vintage oscillator into performances led to the demise of the duo’s previous band, the sound of their debut album was based around ‘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 elbow’. Simeon reportedly never learned to play traditional keyboard or synthesiser and instead devised his own pedal controls to modulate tone and change chords.
Not only did Silver Apples predate the experimental electronica and krautrock movements of the 1970s, the group also held a strong influence over the fusion of indie and dance music that emerged in the 1990s.
The extent of the group’s influential reach was highlighted at the Portishead-curated I’ll Be Your Mirror festival in New York in 2011. Simeon performed as Silver-Cluster alongside Hans-Joachim Roedelius before joining Portishead onstage to perform We Carry On, Portishead’s homage to Silver Apples.
Although the group disbanded in 1970, there was a mid-90s reunion which, coupled with new material, saw the eventual release of the group’s hitherto unreleased ‘third’ album The Garden.
Disaster struck in 1998 when Simeon suffered career-threatening neck injury following a road traffic accident while in the tour bus. This curtailed the promising reunion and left Simeon unable to play in quite the same way. With his movement remaining somewhat restricted, his style is simpler and more direct.
Danny Taylor died in 2005 and Simeon now performs solo under the Silver Apples moniker.
We can certainly expect the wobble and wail of archaic oscillators mixed with throbbing bass and hard pummelling beats. If reports of his last tour are anything to go by it should be a loud shamanic blend of sixties psych, atonal cacophony and pulsating techno. It will certainly be quite a thrill to see such a genuine pioneer in such close quarters once again.
If all the above is not enough to tempt you out on a bleak December evening then just cast your eye over the superlative support acts on offer.
A recent Getintothis discovery, Whyte Horses offer up sun-baked and blissful psychedelic melodies. With a debut single proving a sure-fire Soundcloud hit this might be one of those rare opportunities to see the next big thing at first hand. You heard it hear first.
We were really impressed by Sankofa’s new single, Grasp, an intoxicating blend of sprightly 60s psych-pop with a dark and menacing subject matter. They are full of promise and we’re delighted to see them on such a high profile bill.
Opening will be Strange Collective, one of the best of the new wave of bands on the Liverpool block. With riffs galore and bombast aplenty, they’re sure to get the party started with a ferocious and reverb-drenched. If ever there was a reason to head inside early…