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July 5, 2024

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At the intersection of nature and techno, Ólafur Arnalds and Janus Rasmussen came to our ears in 2014 with their debut selftitled album as Kiasmos, containing some of the most textural and refreshing dance music of the decade. It's been a long ten years since then, but the duo have officially returned with their second album II, reminding us of the niche they carved out with neoclassical flourishes and vigorous percussion evoking sticks and stones, cracking ice and crunching leaves.

As we breathe in the whispers of ‘Grown’, we're met with a warm welcome. Sharp yet gooey bass, gentle piano chords, the crackle of organic rhythms underfoot and the catharsis of crystal clear strings and ambience lifting you into the air: all the staples of Kiasmos are here, but rejuvenated and reanimated, their fusions of techno and modern classical, UK garage and electronica in their most sincere forms.

To call II cinematic would be an understatement; it's a grand trek through a mountainside dancefloor trail. Two step rhythms skitter and scramble across twinkling streams, and orchestral gestures sweep joyfully across mossy plains. The plush exhalation of felted piano and clinking bits of gamelan-inspired percussion form crisp atmospheres, while the chunky garage beat and acid-tinted synths of ‘Laced’ pack a punch squared solidly in the club. From coursing four to the floors with snappy ornamentation to scattered droplets of melody with spectral murmurs of strings, ‘Bound’ contains one of the most heartfelt and heartbeating moments on the album, its swaying house rhythm and brazen bass scrubs and growls combining with the dewy morning twilight of strings in magnificent, beauteous swells.

For as much music that can be described as a “soundscape”, Kiasmos embody the word in its truest sense on II, physically terraforming the land with sonic catharsis and rhythmic ferocity.

  1. 1 Burst 4:31


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