ONE of the founding fathers of electronica, Simeon Coxe of legendary synth-drone primitivists Silver Apples died yesterday, aged 82, it has been reported.
The following statement was issued:
“Simeon Coxe of Silver Apples peacefully passed away at 4am on Tuesday, September 8th. He was 82 years old.
“He had been battling with a progressive lung condition, pulmonary fibrosis, which made it difficult for him to breath without oxygen.
“Simeon is survived by his long-term companion and creative collaborator, Lydia Winn Levert; brother David Coxe (and wife Foster) and his nephew Aaron Coxe and family.
“Silver Apples leaves a lasting legacy and contribution to electronic music with their groundbreaking sound that has influenced many artists over the years, right up to the present day.
“Rest in peace, Simeon.”
Silver Apples split away from a more traditional rock outfit working in New York City, the Overland Stage Electric Band. Simeone built a massive composite synthesiser of his own devising, including more than a dozen oscillators, wah-wah pedals, &c; along with drummer Danny Taylor (who predeceased Simeone in 2005), the Silver Apples brought a weird new sound to the NYC underground: electronic rock, with eerie swoops and a pulsing beat.
Their self-titled first album from 1968 still sounds incredibly fresh and vibrant, with the reawakening of interest in their work and the continuing interest in the sound of early synths from acts such as The Galaxy Electric and Plone. Take a listen to “Oscillations” from that album, below.
Their second album, 1969’s Contact, would break the band on the wheel of litigation; they had struck a deal with the airline Pan Am to include a shot of the band in a cockpit of a Pan Am jet with, in an early example of product placement, the airline’s logo featuring prominently; however, in what proved to be an ill-advised design choice, the back cover featured a photograph of a plane crash. The ensuing lawsuit would finish both the band and their record label, Kapp. A third album sat unreleased.
Various low-key bootleg reissues would appear on CD in the 90s, with bands such as Stereolab and Broadcast embracing the retrotronic aesthetic. A 1995 British tribute compilation, Electronic Evocations – A Tribute To The Silver Apples, featuring acts such as Kranky’s drone-bliss duo Windy & Carl and Third Eye Foundation really sparked a wave of interest in Silver Apples and Simeone reformed the band with a new three-piece line-up. Danny Taylor was eventually located for a series of shows.
The third album, The Garden, was located in the attic and finally released in 1998. There were three albums of entirely new material in the same intensely busy period: Beacon, Beacon Remixed, and Decatur.
After a period of recess following a tour bus crash, Simeone again emerged in the 21st century, touring solo to acclaim. A final album, Clinging To A Dream, appeared in 2016.
Geoff Barrow of BEAK> said on Twitter: “RIP Simeon Cox. What an amazing guy he was an inspiration not just musically But in life as we hung out many times over the years.
“Hopefully now him and Danny can play as silver apples in the sky as they were supposed very sad x”
Brooklyn’s The Galaxy Electric told us: “We are heartbroken to lose such a pioneering genius.
“Silver Apples were way ahead of their time and influenced so many of us.
“Simeon’s creative spirit will always be echoing throughout the galaxy.”