If Apparat Organ Quartet had plugged their Moogs in to Marshall amps instead of guitars, one might easily have confused them for a danceable Motörhead. Effortlessly switching between dance floor-fillers and headbanging anthems, Iceland’s Apparat Organ Quartet is sometimes described as “Machine Rock and Roll.”
AOQ started work on their latest ablum, Pólýfónía, immediately after the release of their 2002 self-titled first album, and finally completed it 8 whole years later. But the wait seems to have paid off, as the release was greeted with rave reviews in the Icelandic press and was featured on many end-of-year lists, including “album of the year” by Fréttabladid, Iceland’s largest newspaper.
Every note on Pólýfónía is hand-played, there is not a sequencer or computer in sight. In concert and on the record, the band plays keyboards from their extensive collection of Jurassic analog machinery, including Russian synths, malfunctioning Hammonds, and cicuit-bent Casios. The band even has an on-going agreement with the sanitation authorities in Reykjavik according to which the band is to be notified each time they receive an organ or keyboard to be recycled.
After finding success in Europe, AOQ have signed to Head in the Sand Records and are releasing Pólýfónía in Canada. No longer strangers to North America, AOQ were the featured guest of KEXP for Reykjavik Calling 2012 in Seattle, their annual celebration of Icelandic music.
AOQ were a part of the first ATP (All Tomorrow’s Parties) in Iceland in 2013, and they made a big splash at CMW in Toronto in 2013.
Apparat Organ Quartet is:
Musikvatur – formerly a member of the group Bag of Joys, he has collaborated with Múm and has released several solo singles. He works as a news cameraman and editor when he is not riding his vintage Suzuki moped.
Hordur Bragason – a former associate of the Austrian artist Hermann Nitsch and an organist in Reykjavik´s largest church congregation for 10 years, he was a member of the legendary experimental group Bruni BB as well as the groups Oxsmá and Júpíters. He currently conducts the Icelandic Sound Poetry Choir.
Ulfur Eldjarn – a former member of the groups Trabant and Kanada, he recently released the solo album Field Recordings: Music from the Ether, and currently studies composition at The Iceland Academy of the Arts.
Arnar Geir Omarsson – one of Iceland’s most sought-after drummers, he runs a small graphic studio when he’s not pounding out metronomic rhythms with numerous bands, including HAM, Funkstrasse, and Rass.