Hailing from Reykjavík, Iceland, Apparat Organ Quartet is a band that sometimes describe their music as "Machine Rock and Roll", and indeed the band's sound veers between pulsing floor-fillers and headbanging anthems, served with a mixture of Kraftwerk-inspired electronics, Daft Punk-like robot voices, and hard rock beats. The almost surreal melodies seem to be derived equally from medieval Gregorian chant, American cartoons and Russian Romantic music of the 19th century.
Founded in 1999, thr band originally included the musicians Hörður Bragason, Jóhann Jóhannsson, Músikvatur and Úlf
In the music of Apparat Organ Quartet every note is hand-played, with not a sequencer or computer in sight. The bandmembers play keyboards from their extensive collection of jurassicanalog machinery, including Russian synthesizers and customized home organs, Italian transistor organs from the 60's, malfunctioning Hammonds, old school vocoders and various circuit-bent Casios and Portasounds.
Their passion for out-moded musical machines and ancient communication technologies is also clearly reflected in their collaboration with TF3IRA, a trio of ham radio enthusiasts. This performance, documented on the Kitchen Motors CD "Motorlab 2", featured an enormous electric sound sculpture involving shortwave receivers and morse code transmissions mixed in with the organ quartet's ethereal soundscapes.
Apparat Organ Quartet's released their self-titled debut album in 2002 after 3 years in the making. According to the quartet's members the process was prolonged since they had to discover by themselves how to record an organ quartet. "We couldn't just go to the record-store and ask for an organ quartet album. We had to invent the genre." The album cover art features oil paintings of the band as Playmo characters by the artist Markús Þór Andrésson.
In March 2010, Apparat Organ Quartet announced that they had begun recording their second album, entitled Pólýfónía. The album was released on December 9th, 2010 a full eight years after their debut release. Pólýfónía was greeted with rave reviews in the Icelandic press, the album's elaborate packaging was widely acclaimed and designer Siggi Eggertson received the Icelandic Music Award for best design.
In 2011, the band signed a deal with Crunchy Frog to release the album worldwide.
Apparat Organ Quartet (2002).