THE APPLES IN STEREO: ELECTRONIC PROJECTS FOR MUSICIANS (1995-2008; 2008)
1) Shine (In Your Mind); 2) Thank You Very Much; 3) Onto Something; 4) Man You Gotta Get Up; 5) The Golden Flower; 6) Avril En Mai; 7) Hold On To This Day; 8) The Oasis; 9) On Your Own; 10) Other; 11) So Far Away; 12) The Apples Theme Song; 13) Stephen Stephen; 14) Dreams.
This, however, is an entirely different matter. Even more than Science Faire, this is a typical collection of «odds and sods» — bonus tracks from Japanese editions, promos, B-sides, soundtracks, etc. — but the major advantage is that all of these songs were recorded already after The Apples In Stereo started to «click» as a real band with a voice of its own, and so, Electronic Projects For Musicians (a name that, out of all cheerful pop outfit leaders, only Schneider could have come up with) is a credible addition to any fan collection.
Frankly speaking, though, any fan would do better to take the album apart, throw out the 1/3 or so ridiculous filler, and distribute the rest of the tracks as bonuses to their respective LPs: any collection like this is an insult to the art of coherence. The first two tracks are sufficient proof. 'Shine (In Your Mind)' is a gorgeous psycho-rocker that has a better chance of making you see the stars than almost anything on Fun Trick Noisemaker — polyphonic harmonies, chimes, acid slide guitar, the works. So what can be more awesome than following it up with one minute of thanking their Japanese fans for buying their records, backed by a piano lesson for a three-year old?
Additional embarrassments include 'The Apples Theme Song', said to be the introductory song for the band's official website — sufficient pretext, I believe, to justify a strict boycott. At least 'The Monkees Theme' was, like, a real song; this particular jingle is not even funny. And if 'Stephen Stephen', an ode to Stephen Colbert of The Colbert Report, is to be understood as an attempt on Schneider's part to one-up Brian Wilson and his 'Johnny Carson'... well, the attempt is botched, to say the least. A big part of the problem is that The Apples In Stereo are sort of... unfunny. There are many things to like about Schneider — but not his sense of humor. (That's what you get, probably, for spending the first six years of your life in Cape Town).
As for the actual songs, well, for the most part, they agree in quality with the time periods in which they were recorded. Tone Soul Evolution add-ons are trippy-pretty, but forgettable; Discovery Of A World outtakes are a couple of attractive ballads, particularly the freak-folkish ' Oasis'; the Velocity Of Sound outtake is predictably overloud and ugly; and 'So Far Away' is an attempt at an anthemic psycho-drone that is interesting — some will inarguably find the marriage of its guitar jangle with a cute pastoral phrase played over and over on a recorder (I think?) trance inducing, although I just go for «atmospheric».
There may be no great shakes on here, but the same could, with occasional reservations, be said about the Apples' career in general. No problem issuing a thumbs up here — beware, though, lest you actually mistake this for a serious LP of new material or something, particularly since the title is so utterly misleading.
Check "Electronic Projects For Musicians" (CD) on Amazon
Check "Electronic Projects For Musicians" (MP3) on Amazon