"A special night featuring a world-class live performance."
It was a big, long weekend in Perth, but the discerning disco punter knew it a good bet on Saturday to head to Rosemount Hotel for Kiasmos - an unusual setting for an Icelandic techno duo, but a gamble that paid off.
This acclaimed production duo comprises of Ólafur Arnalds and Janus Rasmussen, who have garnered a reputation for first-rate musical productions and energetic live shows.
Local producer Hugo Gerani is part of the Good Company Records’ roster and his new EP was the fledging local label’s debut release. He warmed up the room early on with a DJ set, getting the groove going before another local artist, synth savant Basic Mind performed a set. The quality of original music coming through the Perth underground techno and house scene is top notch.
Local techno luminary and RTRFM’s Tuesday Full Frequency presenter Craig Hollywood kept the vibes going with a more downtempo set of beats as Rachel Claudio set up her arsenal of equipment on the stage.
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Another live, local electronic artist, Claudio took things in a different direction. A chanteuse with a soulful voice, she was a one woman band, playing live keyboards and manipulating deep, trip-hoppy beats, as she sang passionately, looping and fiddling with her vocals.
As it passed 11, the room began to fill up and the buzz started to grow. While billed as minimal techno, Kiasmos have a more melodic, widescreen sound that strays into deep house territory, but with a soundscapey vibe – not surprising given Arnalds’ award-winning soundtrack work. Somewhat reminiscent of Hybrid, it’s lush, emotive music, fully realised with immaculate production.
The two young masters took to the stage and, shrouded in darkness, started slow before releasing the first big drop. It was a complete AV show, as beautiful, befitting visuals were projected behind them - dark, smoky, mysterious cosmic images of sky, ocean and space - juxtaposed with explosive, strobing lights for the soaring peaks.
Looped from their self-titled debut ignited the room. Deep, moody, atmospheric tunes. There’s just something about Icelandic music, irrespective of genre, it has a certain sound – a euphoric melancholy.
Arnalds fingered and tweaked his MiniBrute analogue synth, while using an iPad as a controller, as Rasmussen manipulated beats on a Kaoss pad. A tight tapestry of multi-layered melodies, moving effortlessly from string-soaked sounds and delicate piano loops, to snappy snares, deep grooves and that insistent bass drum.
A momentary power cut was quickly rectified much to the crowd’s delight and the boys themselves seemed to be having a great time, bouncing around, exchanging knowing smiles. The enthusiasm and obvious passion for what they do was infectious.
The night reached a climax with the massive Bent, as the packed dance floor moved as one. As the waves of music subsided, the pair waved and bowed humbly before making their exit through the crowd who applauded them wildly. A special night featuring a world-class live performance.
Originally published in X-Press Magazine