After allowing eight years to pass since the release of their debut album, Apparat Organ Quartet have finally put out a second album, ‘Pólýfónía.’ While reassuringly belonging to the same family of sound as their first album, ‘Pólýfónía’ claims some peculiar inspirations and influences, such as Alfred Wegener (1880–1930), who pioneered the theory of continental drift and Charles Babbage (1791-1871) who invented what is now considered a forerunner to the modern computer. But perhaps these references make sense insofar as Apparat have pioneered a unique genre of electronic music through their reverence of analogue synthesizers, an antiquated technology in a digital world.
To celebrate the release of ‘Pólýfónía,’ Apparat threw a concert at Nasa on the 9th of December. Fortunately for their fans, Apparat’s live performances have proven more frequent than the rate at which they release records. They often perform at Iceland Airwaves in addition to holding concerts from time to time. So the crowd was not entirely unprepared when five (Organ Quartet plus drummer) middle-aged men took to the stage after a stunning performance by the Japanese organist Junichi Matsumoto.
Despite their mature and unashamedly nerdy demeanour, Apparat do not give sit down performances. They stand up and play and interact with the crowd to generate an energy that should get everybody involved in the act. The triangle, formed by one’s thumbs and index fingers, is their signature but they also put the hip in square.
Apparat pulled out all the stops at their Nasa release concert, busting out conceptual art moves, rocking the vocoder, firing up the the soap bubble machine, and flashing slick video clips on a screen above the stage. The show went off without a hitch, and Apparat balanced their new stuff with some old favourites like ‘Romantika’ and ‘Stereo Rock and Roll.’
My only concern was that it may have been just a little too clean cut. But this may have been more the fault of the audience than the band. It was a Thursday night in early December, and with neither the debauchery of Airwaves nor the weekend binge on which to rest their inhibitions, the locals hardly seemed to allow themselves the pleasure of letting loose. Not even the repeated flashing of the national flag on the lit screen moved them beyond a stiff head bobbing accompanied by the occasional triangle signing, which now took on an unnerving zombie quality. Or perhaps, as one of the bartenders suggested, there was lacking a Christmas tree to dance around. As it stands, the best Apparat concerts I’ve attended remain those under the influence of foreign booty shakers.
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