From the Stacks

From The Stacks: Morton Subotnick, ‘Silver Apples Of the Moon’

This might be the most important album you’ve never heard.

Even among music nerds, if you ask “Where does electronic music begin?” chances are you’ll get answers ranging from “With Switched-On Bach” or “the theremin,”  maybe even 1972’s “Popcorn” by Hot Butter. Each of those has a legitimate claim, as do krautrock classics from Kraftwerk or Tangerine Dream. These things aren’t linear is my point, but that doesn’t mean that the historical record bears no firsts. Switched-On Bach was the first electronic album to crack the top 10, and “Popcorn” is likely the first international synth pop hit.

What makes Silver Apples of the Moon such an important album is that it’s the first electronic record specifically commissioned by a record company. Morton Subotnik’s 1967 album beat Wendy Carlos’s Switched-On Bach to market by a year, and while it’s bleeps and bloops may not be as accessible as Carlos’s work, it’s unquestionably influential. One can hear everything from Pink Floyd to krautrock to sound design for every sci-film of the ’70s in Silver Apples:

So what will a piece of history cost you? Only 10-20 dollars. Happy hunting.

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