Song of the Day: Apparat Organ Quartet – 123 Forever

Every Monday through Friday, we deliver a different song as part our Song of the Day podcast subscription. This podcast features exclusive KEXP in-studio performances, unreleased songs, and recordings from independent artists that our DJs think you should hear. Finally, KEXP has been invited to broadcast live from Iceland, so this week we are featuring songs from bands performing during our first international broadcast from KEX Hostel in Reykjavik during the 2011 Iceland Airwaves festival (more info here). Today’s featured song is “123 Forever” from Icelandic band Apparat Organ Quartet from the 2010 album Pólýfónía on 12 Tónar.

Apparat Organ Quartet – 123 Forever (MP3)

Despite the name, Reykjavik band Apparat Organ Quartet consists of not four, but five members and was formed in 1999 by famed Icelandic musician and producer Jóhann Jóhannsson. They released their self-titled debut album in 2002, but waited eight years to release the follow-up, Pólýfónía, in 2010. Like their 2002 debut, Pólýfónía has been highly lauded locally, and in addition to the album’s nine Kraftwerk-inspired tracks, it’s packaging and cover art, designed by Icelandic artist Siggi Eggertsson, won the Icelandic Music Award for best design.


Pólýfónía was originally released on small Icelandic label 12 Tónar, but the band signed to Crunchy Frog so that the album could see a more widespread European release. The album’s standout track is “123 Forever,” an upbeat story of a band’s formation that features countless layers of keyboards to go along with robotic vocals. Despite the song’s animatronic feel, “123 Forever” is played entirely live by the band’s four keyboardists and drummer, as are all of Apparet Organ Quartet’s songs.

I wouldn’t hold your breath waiting for Appart Organ Quartet to come through Seattle, but on Thursday, October 13 you can hear founder Jóhann Jóhannsson play live from the KEX Hostel in Reykjavik on KEXP. Thursday, October 13. The only catch is that you’ll have to set an alarm to wake up for his 6:00 AM set (or you can listen comfortably at 1:00 PM if you happen to be in Iceland). Here’s the video for “123 Forever”:

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