FAO#34: Thank You and Silver Apples

In the rapidly revolving and reinventing world of physical formats, the seven inch vinyl record still sustains an unrivalled affection amongst music hoarders.  Although it’s arguably no longer one of the most efficient, affordable or audiophile methods of releasing recordings, the humble 45 can still be great for capturing and compacting nuggets of an artistic essence into a neatly-packaged artefact.  It works particularly well when the pressed-in contents stand aside from an overbearing album, like these two blink-and-miss-em releases…

Thank You – Mother’s Nose b/w The Whale (Thrill Jockey, 7”)

Thank You – Mother’s Nose b/w The Whale 7″

Although released in a ridiculously limited 300-only run, with bespoke artwork applied by friends and alumni (see examples left), this one-off seven incher from Baltimore’s Thank You could in fact be the band’s most definitive statement to date.  With the trio recently expanded to a quartet, the sides of this enthralling 7” very much distil the twin impulses of the group’s muse into two distinct and cohesive pieces that genuinely warrant repeated flips and spins on the deck.

Hence, ostensible A-side “Mother’s Nose” extends upon and refines the romping post-voodoo art-punk of last year’s Golden Worry LP with a rabidly infectious three and half minutes, through a mixture of tribalistic drum clattering, coruscating guitar twining, buzzing space-rock keyboards and non-intelligible boisterous chanting.  On the flipside comes the more abstract yet still absorbing instrumental strains of “The Whale,” which revisits the soundscapes of 2008’s Terrible Two album, albeit with a greater focus on embedding memorable hooks through a searing Moon Duo-flavoured keyboard motif, a dub-like rhythm bed and fuzzy textured guitar layers.  Whilst it might not do wonders for more financially rewarding album sales to say it, this slice of plastic really could be all you need from this foursome, so snap it up and savour without delay.

Silver Apples – The Edge Of Wonder (live) b/w Fractal Flow (live) (Enraptured, 7”)

Silver Apples – The Edge Of Wonder b/w Fractal Flow – Live 7″

Cut to limited red vinyl, this latest addition to the slender but somewhat convoluted Silver Apples canon, has been put out to coincide with a lengthy European tour from the one man incarnation of the highly influential late-‘60s art-pop electronica outfit.  Yet as with last year’s live-in-Beijing single, on the same label, this is by no means a lazy tour merch table cash-in, even though both tracks are on-stage recordings.

In fact, as Simeon Coxe has largely sustained the Silver Apples as a live enterprise since reappearing in the late-‘90s, it’s perhaps more representative of latter-day operations than a studio visit might have been.  Moreover, so effective is this single that the taping location is immaterial.

The previously unrecorded A-Side, “The Edge Of Wonder,” taps into a gorgeously wide-eyed pocket of sci-fi melodicism with Simeone’s still remarkably un-haggard gentile tones unpeeling a meditative dreamy lyric over warming antique oscillators and pattering motorik percussion.  The track achieves the rare feat of feeling both vintage and futuristic without any jarring contrivance.  For the AA-Side comes a new interpretation of “Fractal Flow” (one-half of 1996’s comeback studio seven inch, also on Enraptured), that is altogether far spookier and more downcast than the A-side, with its deeper throbbing bass sounds, eerie atmospheric layers and distant vocals.  This new elegiac take on “Fractal Flow” might even top the original and slightly more wobbly studio version.  In short, for fans of Stereolab, Cluster, Suicide, Kraftwerk, ad infinitum this is an essential purchase to keep honouring a living godfather of electronica.