Hailing from Reykjavik, Iceland, Apparat Organ Quartet is, despite the name, a 5 piece band: 4 keyboardists and 1 drummer.
Formed by Jóhann Jóhannsson in September of 1999, the band was initially motivated by a desire to play early minimalist works in concert, but instead they started to compose their own music which slowly evolved from experimental improvisations to their current sound.
They 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. Every note in Apparat Organ Quartet is hand-played, with is not a sequencer or computer in sight. In concert and on record, the band plays keyboards from their extensive collection of Jurassic analog machinery, including Russian synths and customized home organs, ARP’s, Farfisas, malfunctioning Hammonds, vocoders and various circuit-bent Casios and Portasounds.
Apparat Organ Quartet released their first album in 2002. Although it enjoyed only a limited release, the album received enthusiastic praise from critics and has since built up a sizable cult following. It took the band 8 whole years to record the follow-up, Pólýfónía, but the wait seems to have paid off, as the release 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.