An “analog OR” or “maximum” circuit looks at one or more incoming control voltages, and outputs just the highest value. This is a particularly good way to combine two envelopes, such as one with a fast attack and decay, and one with a slow attack. The result would be a quick spike followed by a slow swell.
A normal utility mixer adds or sums signals together. If the incoming voltages are already full range – such as 0-10v – the sum at any given moment may be higher than the maximum range of one signal, clipping the input of the module they are patched to. The output of an analog OR can never be higher than the highest of value of any incoming voltage.