Kiasmos / Rival Consoles – “65 / Milo” (2009)

This is the very first material released by Kiasmos, all the way back from 2009 and a good three years before their seminal Thrown EP.  I’ve know about this split release with Rival Consoles for a while, but I’d never found a reasonably priced copy from a US seller (international shipping ain’t cheap), so it sort of jus stayed in the back of my mind for a while.  Turns out it was one of the first used records I came across during my digging at Reykjavik’s Lucky Records during Airwaves, though, and thus became the first item in what was eventually a fairly large pile of vinyl.

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Kiasmos contributes two songs to the A side of this album, “65” and “Walled”.  And man, this isn’t the Kiasmos I know at all, a far cry from the ambient dance music the duo are known for.  The BPMs are higher, and so is the low end – these tracks don’t have the deep, rich low end I associate with Kiasmos’ more contemporary tracks.  The songs have sort of an insistent quality to them, not quite frenetic but more that feeling you have when you are in the zone, doing a lot of things at once really fast, knowing full well that you’re killing it right now but that any second it could go off the rails if things don’t continue to fall perfectly into place.  It’s intriguing to hear this and think about how differently Kiasmos sound today.

Rival Consoles is London producer Ryan Lee West, and his opening track “Milo” kind of takes things in a chiptune-y direction, with lots of bleeps and bloops.  It’s not totally Nintendo though, as there are some nice sonic shifts and the low end is a bit deeper than Kiasmos gave us on side A.  I actually like it a bit better than the Kiasmos side, though the two compliment one another quite well.

It’s always interesting to hear a band’s earliest works, and getting a chance to spin some OG Kiasmos was a lot of fun and more than a bit intriguing.  In this case I’m a bigger fan of their later works, but the frostiness of 65 / Milo definitely has a time and a place.