Saturday, December 5, 2015

Kiasmos' new EP "Swept" & West Coast Tour: Dec 8 - 12

The 2007 launch of Robert Raths label Erased Tapes began auspiciously enough with several incendiary debuts by the likes of Rival Consoles and Codes In The Clouds. Within a year the imprint had become home to the growing electronic neoclassical and contemporary chamber music culture shepherded by Ólafur Arnalds and Nils Frahm. The two artists supplying the label's breakout albums, "And They Have Escaped the Weight of Darkness" and "Felt", bringing a new global audience to their grandiose, unabashedly sentimental evocations of life in a temporal world, the beauty of nature and mortality's inevitability, themes touched on in "Escaping the Darkness: An Ólafur Arnalds Interview". More than just the strength of it's releases, the label became known for it's attention to acoustic and production process, as detailed in The Quietus, "The Listener is the Key: The Nils Frahm Interview". Further distinguished by a defined visual aesthetic with a special focus on psychical packaging and design, realized in collaborations with FELD, Supermundane and Gregory Euclide. It's been a year of collaborations for the label's Ólafur Arnalds. 2015 saw the release of his rendition of Chopin sonatas and etudes with Alice Sara Ott herself an established pianist of the repertoire of Liszt, Beethoven and Mussorgsky for Deutsche Grammophon. In their realization of the material, Ott and Arnalds' "The Chopin Project" sourced vintage instruments from various locations around Reykjavik, and selected spaces with distinguished acoustic character as the venues of performance. With the placement of mics accentuating these characteristics, lending the recordings their natural ambiance. Nils Frahm returned again as a regular sounding board and fellow improviser, their deeply intuitive dialog heard on the Decibel Festival night at the Nordstrom Recital Hall from their shared tour in 2013. "Trance Friends" describes a meeting at Frahm's Durton Studio in Berlin, wherein the two improvise throughout the night, documented over the course of 8 hours with no overdubs and no edits, as part of the assembled "Collaborative Works". Next week sees the first Seattle performance of Arnalds' project that strays the farthest from his neoclassical center. Over the course of a full length album "Kiasmos" and two EPs, "Swept" and "Looped" the year and a half of activity from his Kiasmos project with Byrta's Janus Rasmussen, has produced a sweeping, cinematic body of ambient techno that's as much spacial as it is propulsive. Their methodology taking on an equal dualistic quality. Divided between two studios, the two musicians describe a back-and-forth between hardware and software, the precision of digital and the slippery alignmnets of analog, detailed in Headphone Commute's "In the Studio with Kiasmos".