Being a fan of Olafur Arnalds I was really looking forward to his album. According to the promotion campaign by Erased Tapes this album would combine the best of modern classical with the best of electronics. For this album Olafur Arnalds, an award winning composer (and former death metal drummer) teamed up with Janus Rasmussen from the Faroe Islands who is known for the electro-pop act Bloodgroup. Their love for minimal music eventually brought them together and this album is
the result. Erased Tapes promoted the hell out of this untitled debut which is pretty understandable because this album can make a real difference for the label. So I couldn’t wait to slide it into my cd-player and start to eulogize this thing.
But then something happened. All I heard was analog beats and Arnalds’s ambient-like soundscapes. Same with the second track and same with most of the following tracks. Swayed and Bent even reminded me of the music played at the bumper cars on fairs and I’ve always hated that music. So what was wrong? Did I expect too much of this very promising album?
I decided to give it another shot. After all, Erased Tapes has a solid reputation in releasing decent music and Kiasmos is a cooperation between two very talented musicians. On the second listen I started to perceive the layers and I started to realize that there’s a lot of quality in the sounds I didn’t hear. I still had a little problem with
the album but it was getting better. I played it a third time, and a fourth, leaving other releases on the shelf for now.
Suddenly it dawned on me. This is one of those releases that need time to grow. On the fourth listen I catched myself wagging my head to the music. At this moment, Kiasmos was no longer an album. It had become a soundtrack for whatever I was doing, fading in and out of conversations, making its presence known in a gentle and lenient way. A few listens further, the word ‘masterpiece’ started to appear in my head and I was finally sold. By now the minimal electronics found their way into my everyday life, making me execute every task with a smile on my face. Burnt and Thrown became
my favorites but even as a concept this album proved to be very strong. I decided to leave the slight feelings of disappointment that I had the first time behind me and just relax and enjoy this beautiful Arctic atmosphere.
So, after a few listens I’m finally able to eulogize this album and start looking forward to more. It took me a while to get used to this CD but when the virtuosity started to shine through, I absolutely loved it. Kiasmos is an outstanding blend of Arnalds’ modest piano play and vivacious orchestration and Rasmussen’s uplifting electronics. It’s a completely instrumental journey through the amazing landscapes of Iceland and the Faroe Islands, created by two of the most versatile composers today. By now, while the CD is on a continuous replay I can only recommend it. Believe me, your life will improve with this album in your collection...