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Live Review: Kiasmos, Hans Berg

13 October 2015 | 12:51 pm | Benjamin Meyer

"The duo bring their musical strengths together to create a mix of acoustic and electro sounds and driving beats."

Visuals heavily inspired by the opening sequence of ABC's after-school hit The Trap Door accompany Hans Berg's opening set. The Swedish producer is unassuming and modest which is reflected in the music. Citing influences such as Jeff Mills and Carl Craig, his tracks constantly introduce, build upon and cycle through new ideas. Berg plays the subtle house that is perfect to stumble across at 4am in the morning. The icecream visuals that come on the board later in the set are amazing too. It's almost a shame that he plays at 9pm as most of the crowd take the chance to chat, drink or utilise the very insta-friendly artwork that adorns the walls of the venue for endless selfies and photobombs.

Kiasmos comprises Ólafur Arnalds and Janus Rasmussen. The two are both based in Reykjavík and personify minimalist Icelandic dance music — even their song titles, like Swept, Held, Thrown and other monosyllabic verbs in the past tense. The gig is Arnalds' return to Melbourne Festival; he performed in the same space in 2013. Onstage Arnalds and Rasmussen are open, personable and engaging performers, constantly interacting with crowd, imploring them to clap, dance, jump and just have as good a time as they are having. The gig, needless to say, is great. Selling out two shows, Kiasmos do not disappoint the excited crowd. The duo bring their musical strengths together to create a mix of acoustic and electro sounds and driving beats. Each song showcases Arnalds' brooding neo-classical chic typified by overarching and repetitive violin or piano melodies. These are overlayed on top of Rasmussen's crunchy drum and bass beats. Visuals of vast landscape features accompany the sounds — the clouds and lightning strikes are particularly noteworthy — and feed into the uplifting and epic aesthetic of the music. The light show is also suitably frantic when the we-need-to-blow-the-lid-off-the-dancehall moments inevitably arrive. The band thanks the crowd and leaves but are quickly bought back onstage for the mandatory encore, where they play Bent from their self-titled album. The track is easily the best of the set, taking the audience through multiple cathartic crescendos that ensures even the most ardent of chin-strokers are at least bopping their head. The audience show their appreciation for the gig by throwing their hands up and doing the Kiasmos/illuminati symbol while Arnalds takes a selfie on his (beloved) iPad.