Silver Apples – Clinging To A Dream

Silver Apples - Clinging To A Dream

Silver Apples – Clinging To A Dream

Having latterly manoeuvred in a somewhat non-linear fashion, many might have thought that pioneering analogue electronics veteran Simeon Coxe had given-up on cutting another Silver Apples LP.  Coxe had seemed content to continue as a live trouper since the back-to-back release of 1997’s Steve Albini-recorded songs-based Beacon and 1998’s abstract Decatur, with only a sporadic string of largely live-recorded 7″ singles to keep the discography expanding.  Now finally, Coxe has finished – with production help from Graham Sutton of Bark Psychosis – a new very-long-in-the-works Silver Apples album, to keep his presence felt alongside mesmeric one-man-and-his-oscillators stage shows.

For those that have kept the faith by following the recent-ish breadcrumb trail of aforementioned singles, Clinging To A Dream holds some already familiar songs, albeit in mainly freshly-recorded incarnations.  In fact, it’s these revisited rigorously road-tested cuts that string together the looser and more elemental strands of the album.  Hence, the previously-heard celestial romanticism of “The Edge Of Wonder” appears twice, in two comforting book-end takes (the first drifting dreamily through foggily-manipulated layers, the second extra-intimate yet more propulsive); the sci-fi love-letter-writing of “Missin You” is given a pulsing almost-dub-like treatment akin to Clinic’s more pensive moments; and “Fractal Flow” re-emerges under a foreboding sky-darkening cloud of atmospheric early-‘80s electro-noire.

Aside from these re-crafted reappearing compositions, Clinging To A Dream is, like its title, harder to grasp but not with memorable strong moments.  Thus, the murky likes of “The Mist” and “Colors” meander a tad aimlessly through haunted-house sonics and Coxe’s cryptic spoken-word narratives; the more nimble and engaging “Nothing Matters” brings in squelchy synth grooves and mutant-techno beats; the swirling “Susie” revisits the wackier lyrical terrain of the late-‘60s Silver Apples wares with added hypnotic percussiveness; “Drifting” dives into whipped-up waves of noise skronk and vocal samples but doesn’t really come up for enough air; “Charred Fragments” is contrastingly calmer and enigmatically builds-up with the same dreamy gravitas as “Missin You”; “Concerto For Monkey And Oscillator” provides a wordless dancefloor-friendly micro-synth-pop passage; and “The Rain” radiates and burbles with a warm-hearted glow of a utopian nature-meets-technology fusion.

Evidently, the introverted and perplexing Clinging To A Dream is not in the same seminal league as the duo-driven 1968’s Silver Apples and 1969’s Contact or as lean as Beacon, but nor does it profess to be.  Instead, it is the product of a septuagenarian survivor ceaselessly exploring a self-made world without conceding to compromise; which is sometimes frustrating yet frequently still compelling in execution.

Chicken Coop Recordings