Icelandic ambient / trance / techno duo KIASMOS have just released a new EP offering, Blurred, and beautiful doesn’t even begin to describe it.
Icelandic ambient / trance / techno duo KIASMOS has just released a new EP offering, Blurred, and beautiful doesn’t even begin to describe it. This latest release features remixes by BONOBO and STIMMING, and while Kiasmos are still pretty unknown on the Australian scene, they have been captivating the European and international scenes since their debut LP blew up back in 2014.
Kiasmos produce unparalleled elegance in this unique fusion of ambient electronic fusion, and with a little background perception, it’s pretty fathomable how they do it. The duo is comprised of Faroese synth-pop producer Janus Rasmussen and BAFTA Award Winning Icelandic multi-instrumentalist Ólafur Arnalds, with the latter being well-known for his contemporary renditions of classical music, featuring archetypal mixes of strings and piano with loops and placid beats. Naturally, the pair have a predisposition in their virtuosity for creating other-worldly compositions, stemming from their highly influential Nordic environments.
What started as initial pet-project in 2009 increasingly grew into a much larger venture, as their highly acclaimed self-titled 2014 LP billowed them into an extensive period of international touring. Ensuing their return Iceland to focus on new material, Kiasmos have now released their first new material collective in nearly two years.
The Blurred EP features four tracks and two remix tracks from Bonobo and Stimming, all with single-word adjective or verb titles – a hallmark of all their releases to date. These tracks (sans remixes) mesmerisingly segue into one another to create one continuous composition, but also yield their own distinctive characters that can be appreciated individually.
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‘Shed’ opens with a downpour of lo-fi textures and fluttering piano riffs before quickly transitioning into heavier club beats and celestial synth tones, quite literally shedding you of an emotional negativity and encouraging an embrace of joyous sentiments. ‘Blurred’ is a more slow-burning chilled out number, lingering on spacious piano chords that are layered with organic string samples, tender percussive beats and more synth aurora.
‘Jarred’ is a stark juxtaposition of the uplifting openers, presenting oscillating perturbed tones and eerie timbres in a jarring assimilation of more baron sonic elements. ‘Paused’ brings this short collective offering to a close, sustaining more ominous spectral nuances that increasingly dilate without assuming a resolve into the formerly cheerful reprises.
Bonobo’s and Stimming’s remix of ‘Blurred’ and ‘Paused’ (respectively) are really just an added bonus to the already spellbinding auditory masterpiece laid out by Kiasmos, but also denote the two artists’ appreciation for the project. Bonobo adds his glistening signature sonic palette, further highlighting the euphoric hues already assembled in the original track. Stimming exacerbates the unsettling gradations presented in ‘Paused’, while also infusing sprightlier temperaments to tenderly resolve some of the song’s dissonance.
The Blurred EP is out now via Erased Tapes.
Words by FREYA DINESEN