Release Date: Oct 28, 2014
Record label: Erased Tapes Records
Genre(s): Electronic, Club/Dance
Kiasmos is the name given to the musical project featuring Icelandic composer and multi-instrumentalist Ólafur Arnalds and Faroes-based electronic musician Janus Rasmussen. It feels apt to draw attention to their nationality on their debut release – the cool sleekness and polished purity that runs through the album initially seems to be drawn directly from their geographical background. Arnalds may be the better known of the two, already having a number of acclaimed albums and EPs under his belt, but it is the electronic, synth-and-beat-led sounds brought to the collaboration by Rasmussen that arguably define the album and stand boldest.
Head here to submit your own review of this album. It's well-documented that neo-classical experimentalist Ólafur Arnalds and Bloodgroup's Janus Rasmussen form Kiasmos, an ambient techno project. The two are renowned musicians in their own rights, and Kiasmos doesn't stray far from what the pair do for their day jobs - it's all very atmospheric, structured and verging on the avante-garde.
In Kiasmos, BAFTA-winning composer Ólafur Arnalds and electro-pop producer Janus Rasmussen (Bloodgroup) combined their distinctive talents and common taste for minimal experimental electronic music to create a work that embodies the stunning mystical magnitude of the Nordic landscape. Made in Reykjavík, Iceland at Arnalds’ own studio, there are eight tracks on the eponymous Kiasmos debut that average over six minutes in length, tied together through their form: their delicately layered ambience, pulsing flourishes of 4/4 and broken beats, and minimalist progressions and repetitions of stately piano and violin in a Satie or Glass style. These driving beats combine with neo-classical craftsmanship to send the mind soaring through the clouds amidst snow-capped mountain peaks jutting into the misty twilight, as if the claws of our mother beast were testing the integrity of a great egg before breaking free into a new plane of existence.
London-based Erased Tapes are as consistently strong a record label as they come these days. The independent outfit handles more talented classically-trained musicians than you could shake a stick at, releases music in a range of avant-garde genres (from neo-classical and electronica to drone), and acts as a fertile breeding ground for some of the most exciting collaborative projects around (see Sisteray and A Winged Victory for the Sullen in particular). Their artists, by and large, are exempted from populist demands such as accessibility and catchiness, allowing experimental projects like Kiasmos – who take the straight-and-true trajectory of traditional minimal techno, and embellish it with strings, piano and a classical sense of grandeur – a whole lot more freedom than they’d find elsewhere.