I’m not sure how I missed Kiasmos. OK, it’s not like they’ve been super prolific, only putting out a split 12″ prior to 2013’s Thrown, but given that the group is comprised of Janus Rasmussen from Bloodgroup and Icelandic composer Ólafur Arnalds, they seem like the kind of group I should know about. I mean, these are both performers I’ve actually met! Ironically both encounters took place in Seattle, not Iceland where they are based. We got to spend some time with Janus and Bloodgroup before their show here at the High Dive a while back and I met Arnalds earlier this year when he did his live in-studio at KEXP. Both were great guys. Man I hope we didn’t miss them performing together live at Airwaves this year…
So now that I had “discovered” Kiasmos, I went online to look for a copy of their four song EP Thrown. I could only find copies for sale in Europe (i.e. high shipping costs), so despite my preference for vinyl I relented and purchased it on iTunes instead, where it is a true bargain at $3.97. I’ll still keep my eyes open for the record, though; maybe I’ll get lucky and find a copy in Reykjavik at Airwaves 2014.
Thrown is an entirely electronic album – no vocals here at all. There are two original tracks, “Thrown” and “Wrecked,” along with remixes of each – FaltyDL doing the honors on “Thrown” and 65daysofstatic on “Wrecked.” The soundscapes on the two standard tracks are certainly influenced by both performers’ other projects – there are elements of Bloodgroup beats here, particularly in “Wrecked,” while Arnalds’ presence is felt in the quieter and slower undercurrents. That’s not to say that Kaismos is just some kind of blend, because it certainly isn’t; if I’d heard this “cold” without knowing who the members were I doubt I would be able to connect Thrown to either, at least not in any obvious way. Both songs are quite good, though I’m personally partial to the more up tempo sound of “Wrecked.” The 65daysofstatic remix of it is killer as well, a shorter more danceable version that really kicks into gear just before the 3:30 mark with some deep electronic beats.
With over 24 minutes of music you’re getting your money’s worth here, and then some. Don’t let the fact that two of the four tracks are remixes make you hesitate – the remix versions are departures from the originals and more resemble unique tracks of their own than just mixes. Kiasmos also contribute a track to a new limited edition box set (5 X 7″) called Erased Tapes Collection V (as does Arnalds as a solo artist) that is also available by digital download or vinyl at the Erased Tapes Records website. I will definitely be following these guys on Facebook to stay up to date on future releases. And I’ll keep looking for that vinyl.