Singles and rarities compilations are generally pretty niche – it’s hard to imagine anyone apart from superfans and strict completists really caring about them.
However, a talented cult act such as The Apples In Stereo can always be relied on to have a few tricks up their sleeves, and with Electronic Projects For Musicians they showcase a wealth of glorious indie pop nuggets.
Following the release of popular compilations Science Faire in 1996 and Sound Effects in 2001, this ninth record spans over ten years of bonus tracks, b-sides, rarities and even the odd exclusive from the Colorado quintet.
Far from the big bucks-driven trickery of most modern musicians it was produced by frontman Robert Schneider himself and recorded on four-track, eight-track and sixteen-track tape machines, utilizing the mainframe computer at Pet Sounds Recording Studio and Lexington, Kentucky between 1993 and 2006.
There are admittedly a few throwaway one minute efforts dotted around the tracklist such as the piano and melodica-tinkle-tinged Thank You Very Much and The Oasis, but luckily the highlights far outweigh them – from the breezy harmonies of Shine (In Your Mind), to dreamy ditty Man You Gotta Get Up, On Your Own’s woozy fuzz, the ridiculously catchy The Apples Theme Song and Stephen Stephen and Other’s searing guitar solos.
The album closes with the spine-tingling Dreams which sees Schneider’s trademark sweet vocals combine with warm swirling strings and playful electronics; it’s a previously unreleased outtake from Tone Soul Evolution in 1997 and goes some way to proving just how special this band are if they’re able to leave music of this standard off their official full-lengths.
An absolute must for fans of The Shins, Neutral Milk Hotel, The Decemberists and Of Montreal, newcomers and connoisseurs alike deserve to hear the gorgeous and cleverly constructed efforts on display here.
Named after a book by Craig Anderton, Electronic Projects For Musicians points to more bright, classic indie works to come from the fivesome, as they put together the next instalment in The Apples In Stereo story. While it is by no means an essential part of their back catalogue, especially when compared to offerings such as Velocity Of Sound and the heavily praised New Magnetic Wonder, the album is firm proof that despite their staunch underground status, the act can knock out countless hits just as effectively as the big guns – if not better.