Sunday, February 25, 2007

Vacuum-Packed Percolation

For a duo, the Silver Apples sure generated a lot of sound – all pulsing, percolating and oscillating, music concrete, fun-house echoes, tuned vacuum tones, spooky harmonies, and super crisp proto-rave drumming. When writing a piece on Gary Higgins -- the freak-folk cult discovery of 2005, whose 1973 record Red Hash was re-issued on Drag City after years of going as an eBay rarity – I learned that Simeon, the man behind the oscillators and keyboards in the Silver Apples, had also played with Higgins in a band called Wagon Wheel in New York.

The Silver Apples really managed to capture the potentially horrifying and alienating quality of the psychedelic experience (see Left’s Al Jarreau post), unlike many of the flower-power bands from the West Coast.

It’s said that there’s a fine line between idiocy and genius. I was struck by the boneheaded brilliance of Iggy Pop’s quote in the NYT today: "You’ve got to tone down to fit into the beauty of the percolation. This is all part of finding the stupidity." And it made me think of the Silver Apples.

Few bands mastered the beauty of the percolation quite like the Silver Apples. They may not have ever toned it down, but they definitely found the sublime stupidity.

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