Muthas of invention: five genre-defining artists you may never have heard of
2. Silver Apples – You And I (1969)
Silver Apples was an experimental psychedelic duo from New York that existed from 1967 to 1970. They were early pioneers in synthesiser music. In fact, band member Simeon Coxe III built his own synth, which is why it sounds so enigmatic. Danny Taylor played the drums, and the two created a strange new sound, one that essentially abandoned standard pop sounds completely and boldly entered into a strange new alien world.
Had they had a modicum of success, they’d clearly be cited as influences on everyone from Kraftwerk to Chrome, but unfortunately, their career was cut short by a lawsuit. The cover of their second album, Contact, featured the two men in the cockpit of a Pan Am airplane, surrounded by piles of drugs. Pan Am consequently sued them out of existence, at least until their late-90s reunion.
What’s particularly notable about You And I – and the whole Contact album, really – is how it sounds contemporary in almost every decade, except for its own. The noodling synth, stripped-raw beat and disaffected vocals fit neatly into the minimal synth/coldwave movement of the 80s, the underground electronica of the 90s, and whatever lo-fi beachwave/witchouse scene that’s happening in Brooklyn right now. There’s a good chance that it will always sound 10 years ahead of its time.