2016 has been an exceptionally strong year regarding albumgasms.
- David Bowie: Dark Star
- ANOHNI: Hopelessness
- Anoushka Shankar: Land Of Gold
- Brian Eno: The Ship
- Paul Kelly: Seven Sonnets & A Song
Plus some awesome mind blowing leftovers from 2015 that landed in my sonic universe with great, almost embarrassing latency:
- Thighpaulsandra: Golden Communion
- Kamasi Washington: The Epic
- Kendrick Lamar: To Pimp A Butterfly
Plus as of now 2016 is far from over. Another Yello album is about to land within a few weeks, but even though this is highly anticipated good news, I am still not sure whether I am really going to like it. Got to wait and hear. And who knows what is yet to come? The traditionally dense christmas season has just begun, yesterday I bought my first Speculaas cookies 2016. ;)
But all this mindboggling awesomeness might very well be topped by an album I did not expect at all, and if I had, my hopes would not have been too high. Be careful what you hope for, especially with old heroes.
Silver Apples are a legendary electronic pop avant-garde band that started in 1967 with the a self made jumble of oscillators, knobs, tapes, radio receiver and the likes. Originally a duo consisted of Simeon who created this strange instrument and Danny Taylor, drums. Today Simeon is the only surviving member, and after his 90s comeback was tragically cut short by a heavy tour van accident it took him until 2007 to really relaunch Silver Apples to much acclaim. It was a bit strange. Up until that tour many of us Silver Apple fans felt a bit lonely and isolated, as they seemed to be nearly forgotten after never really making it. But that tour caused quite a frenzy among many music lovers and it was beautiful to witness Simeon finally getting the recognition and adoration he deserves for being a founding father and pioneer of electronic music. Musicians have long been fans. John Lennon is said to have been a fan and Simeon jammed with Hendrix on his legendary studio recording of "Star Sprankled Banner" that was made before the legendary Woodstock performance. Even though Simeon says that he remains uncredited he does cherish the memory, and rightly so. He released his own version on a limited edition vinyl only album that you could buy only directly from him. There it is called "Anthem". He says that there he has not been mixed as much into the background as on the official Hendricks release. My own copy is still unplayed.
And on a more contemporary note, Portishead even created a very loving homage to their heroes by crafting their song "We Carry On" after Silver Apples' grooves and style. Fan video footage of a joint performance can be found on the web.
And now we have got the surprise of an unexpected brand new album which even does live up to the cult status success of the Silver Apples debut. Silver Apples: Clinging To A Dream
I have just finished the very first listen via Spotify, where it has already dropped, the CD is expected to land inside my letterbox on Tuesday. And ... yes, this album is a Silverapplegasm. Unique and challenging in an awesome way.
I am totally biased with this one. This band has been highly influential for me, their erotic "Love Fingers" did play a role during the most important time of my life: Falling in love with my now wife, during the time of chatting, showing each other music we love and quite some playlist flirting. ;)
And now the new album. "Clinging To A Dream", which is a line from the song "The Edge Of Wonder" which Simeon already played life here in Leipzig, 2012. Just imagine my astonishment when I discovered it in my Spotify Release Radar playlist. Instantly I pre-ordered the upcoming CD and decided not to worry as I would surely / hopefully learn to love the album.
To be absolutely blunt: My expectations have been very much surpassed. This is a worthy new incarnation, 48 years after the debut Silver Apples still sound fresh, strange and avant-garde. Still fully themselves. No compromises.
Compared to today's electronic music it sounds rather minimalist, which is due to the fact that Simeon is still using the old self made jumble of oscillators, strange knobs and circuits along with some found sounds, just as he did in the early days. They say he had to adjust his playing after the accident, but he surely is a master. Incomparable.
The songs are again admirably strange, with "The Edge Of Wonder" being the most accessible. But the stranger he gets, the more I love it. Once again he has found a wonderful flow of strangely minimalist groovy pop songs intermixed with very experimental tracks, partially merely soundscapes, very atmospheric like some very strange soundtrack music.
Very clearly Simeon still has a whole lot of fun creating and is curious enough to take another risk. He has already collaborated with young techno musicians, this again is truly himself.
What an experience. I love it. Put it on repeat. These sounds and grooves are so awesome they literally make me horny. Edgy, unique, archaic yet fully and unashamed itself. An album with character. Very much a candidate for album of the year, and 2016 has seen quite a few strong and very strong releases.
And now I am off to another Silvergasm.