Janus Rasmussen is Faroese synth-pop producer, a member of the Icelandic electro-quartet Bloodgroup and the more recent creative project, BYRTA. Ólafur Arnalds is an award-winning Icelandic pianist and composer, with a musical range that spans previous contributions to two hardcore metal bands as well as the Dyad 1909 ballet score composition. Together the dynamic duo make up an experimental project called Kiasmos.
While their backgrounds could not be any more erratic, Ólafur and Janus converge on the fundamentals minimal music: the stripped-down, raw sound kept only to what is essential to make the listener pulse through stasis and transformation of the piece. This is mirrored in their latest self-titled LP, Kiasmos (Erased Tapes, 2014).
Starting with the first track, “Lit”, there is an immediate understanding that unlike the rest of the music of this genre, often ambitious to resonate with the audience on the dance floor, this compilation is a bit more introspective and perhaps even therapeutic. Your heart synchronizes to the the baseline and your mind is taken on a beautiful journey accented by subtle piano and string motifs. At times ominous (“Looped”) and at others, invigorating (“Burnt”), the result is a beautiful and organic build-up to a vestibular orgasm. Kiasmos seeps through you on a subconscious level – in some tracks the bass is so deep that the duo presume 90% of people will not actually hear it.
Enjoy the full LP live on KEXP and in the words of Ólafur himself, “You can feel free to turn it up… in general… in, in life.”
In our Staff Picks series, each NU staffer will be showcasing their favourite album or song and tagging it with their #Naked hashtag. Be sure to follow your favourite writers through their hashtags on Twitter & Instagram at @NUndergroundTO.