It isn’t often, in my experience, that a conversation about advanced geometry leads to one of the most earthshaking underground shows of the year. But, you know, that's me. It’s all in a day’s work for the guys behind Beijing analog label Rose Mansion, who [on May 14](http://www.cityweekend.com.cn/beijing/events/87320/) bring legendary ‘60s underground experimentalists Silver Apples to [Yugong Yishan](http://www.cityweekend.com.cn/beijing/listings/nightlife/live_music/has/yugong-yishan/).
“The idea came about late last year when Li Weisi (Snapline) and I were talking about the death of mathematician Benoît Mandelbrot, who explored fractal geometry and how mathematics relates to music,” says Rose Mansion’s Vince Li, also a member of the Offset: Spectacles. “So one thing led to another, and we decided to find out if it’s possible to bring Silver Apples over.”
If you haven’t heard of Silver Apples, don’t feel bad. Despite their influence, Silver Apples never achieved the fame of other innovators of that era. The psychedelic-electronic duo (made up of oscillator-manipulator Simeon and drummer Danny Taylor) were active for just two years, between ‘67 and ‘69, before closing up shop for two decades. In that time, the weird, minimalistic electronic music that they’d pioneered evolved into a genre all its own. Then, in 1994, when bootlegs of their records were released in Germany, Silver Apples exploded.
It was around this time that Silver Apples reached the ears of music nerds like Li, who admits he was at first repelled and later fascinated by the music. “It’s so groundbreaking and weird you can’t help but keep going back into it to figure out what’s the magic in the music.”
Meanwhile, Simeon—vindicated at last—reunited with his old drummer and got back to making music, in the process becoming both the patron saint and the prodigal son of persecuted experimental musicians. Though these days, Simeon seems less bitter about the years of obscurity as he is excited about his latest creations.
“Maybe it was a good thing to take that long break because when I did finally come back I was like a dam ready to burst with new material and new energy,” he says.
According to Li, this was one of the major reasons for bringing Silver Apples to Beijing. “It’s a chance for [the younger generation] to seize the opportunity to talk to a living legend directly. How did he face all the obstacles that Silver Apples experienced? ... The type of questions that I’m sure a lot of Chinese left-field musicians ask themselves every day.”
Simeon may not have all the answers, but for Beijing’s No Jiji and Zooming Nights experimental music communities, his performance is an important reminder that it can take decades—in Simeon’s case, a quarter century—before experimental music wins its rightful place in the underground canon.
What: [Silver Apples](http://www.cityweekend.com.cn/beijing/events/87320/)
Where: [Yugong Yishan](http://www.cityweekend.com.cn/beijing/listings/nightlife/live_music/has/yugong-yishan/)