The cold night greeted me as I made my way to Electric Brixton, to see Icelandic duo and tonight’s headline act, Kiasmos.
Entering the venue I was met with vivid beams of yellow, blue and white lights and infrared hues, which scanned the circumference of the space as the stage lights reacted to the music; a technicolour set ready for some techno tunes.
Support act, Rachel Lyn, played as the venue filled to capacity. Deep techno sounds boomed across the crowd, making waves and providing a full spectrum of colour and texture throughout her set. Artists Nina Kraviz, Charlotte de Witte (aka Raving George) and Xosar provide a taste of what palette to expect from her work. Techno progressed further into trance, cans and cups raised as groups began to revel and cheer.
1.30AM, strobe lights intensified as the music seamlessly blended into the gloomy but euphoric sounds of artist Christian Löffler, as he took over the stage. Taking the volume up a notch, snare and bass drums kicked in and metallic synths fizzled into droning as the progression continued with an abundance of reversed synth effects and distorted vocals. Eyes fixed on the centred DJ desk, time flew by with a steady stream of chilled tracks phasing in to signal that we were nearing the end of Löffler’s set.
Then Kiasmos appear, intensifying the already buzzing crowd as they jumped straight into the music. The Icelandic duo is made up of Ólafur Arnalds and Janus Rasmussen, whose talent and passion combine to produce powerful experimental electronic music, laced with hints of chilled ambience.
Each new song opened against an effective yet slightly repetitive backdrop of stormy weather visuals that diehard fans longed to see on an infinite loop. The song ‘Thrown’, taken from their 2014 self titled album, Kiasmos, is a sheer progressive hit. From the electronic build up to the multi-drum parts layered so beautifully throughout the piece, this track proves that Arnalds’ signature composition remains core to the success of their work. Quick pitch changes and soft piano that worked seamlessly against a background of wind instruments made way for a sudden drum beat to arrive.
Weaving a plethora of instruments into their set, cymbals and kicks permeated song ‘Lit’, whilst echoes of faint xylophones and violin were laced throughout ‘Thrown’ and ‘Dragged’. And yet, the focus did not remain on their eponymous album, with their brand new EP ‘Swept’, released last week, also taken to the stage.
The sounds encapsulated within ‘Swept’ offer a real spectacle; blending contemporary classical music with today's increasingly electronic landscape. Songs ‘Gaunt’ and title track ‘Swept’ are breathtaking, leaving listeners longing for a full album, praying for Part II and Part III to be released at some point early next year.
Kiasmos’ fresh offerings are aggressive, exciting and innovative. Heavily looped, with diverse modulation, their music is impossible to not react to. Young and full of emotion, it's exciting to think where their music will take them next.
Finally, listen to the playlist below which holds onto the overall theme and feel of the night. Have an even deeper glimpse into the atmosphere.
Words: Luke Cole
Image source: www.nickydigital.com