Kiasmos is the exciting, dark and trippy electronic project from Ólafur Arnalds and Janus Rasmussen.
Iceland's Ólafur Arnalds continues to gain renown with his diverse solo and collaborative projects. His For Now I am Winter was well-reviewed, he's done the soundtrack for the detective drama Broadchurch, and his neo-classical project with Alice Sara Ott, The Chopin Project is one of the most intriguing albums I've come across in 2015. Kiasmos, a collaboration with Janus Rasmussen, a member of electro-pop Bloodgroup, is a project that began in 2009. But the duo only released their first full-length album last year. Though I didn't discover it till this year, I was fortunate enough to catch Kiasmos in New York on a rare tour -- one that will wrap up soon with a couple California shows before a few European dates (listed below).
Save for the bursts from strobes, minimal light in the room kept the band mostly hidden. Their dark and trippy music was exciting to experience in that setting. And there was room for people to dance. While the dancable elements were always at the forefront, I often found myself considering the colder musical undercurrents. At times, I felt like I was in an abandoned castle or that the music hall had transformed into a subterranean cavern and could hear occasional water drops falling from stalactites and was an indication of how carefully constructed their music is. They played most of the album during their set including my favorite "Bent" as well a new track that was released online that day called "Swept" (stream at Self-Titled). A cross-pollination between a minimal composer and a synth-driven musician, Kiasmos, may not appeal to all audiences, but it is distinct, deep and exciting in a way that most contemporary electronic or techno music is not.
A clip and a song from Rough Trade:
A full performance from the KEX Hostel during Iceland Airwaves:
2nd Jun 2015 The Independent (Kiasmos) San Francisco, United States
3rd Jun 2015 Masonic Lodge at Hollywood (Kiasmos) Los Angeles, CA, United States
19th Jun 2015 Sónar Festival (Kiasmos) Barcelona, Spain
20th Jun 2015 Best Kept Secret Festival (Kiasmos) Hilvarenbeek, Netherlands
21st Jun 2015 Body & Soul Festival (Kiasmos) County Westmeath, Ireland
28th Jun 2015 Piknik I Parken (Kiasmos) Oslo, Norway
4th Jul 2015 ATP Festival (Kiasmos) Keflavík, Iceland
16th Jul 2015 G! Festival (Kiasmos) Syðrugøta, Faroe Islands
18th Jul 2015 Latitude Festival (Kiasmos) Southwold, United Kingdom
19th Jul 2015 Dour Festival (Kiasmos) Dour, Belgium