Live Review: Kiasmos at Dublin’s Opium Rooms

21 Apr 2015 — Andrew Darley

Ólafur Arnalds has made a quick turnaround in returning to Dublin. After his theatre show with his band in March, he has returned a month later for an entirely contrasting performance. Kiasmos is the music collaboration of the Icelandic composer and fellow musician Janus Rasmussen best known for his work in the electronic outfit, Bloodgroup. The pair released their self-titled debut album in 2014, which became one of the most compelling records of the year. They took reference points of each of their work to date and concentrated on pushing them further – interweaving dancebeats, string arrangements and sparse piano motifs – to make an album of vivid imagination and wistful memories. The swirling sound of the album’s opener, "Lit", blanketed the crowd in the Opium Rooms before the duo reached the stage. Behind the decks of two laptops and other digital equipment, they radiated a great bond between each other. Their midnight hour-long set featured songs which did not stray far from the album recordings amongst plateaus which saw the two jump around behind the decks like mad scientists finding the newest discovery. "Thrown" twinkled with its xylophone melody and propulsive bassline, while they closed out the set with the rumbling basslines and abrasive takes on "Bent" and "Burnt". They also featured new songs which were up-tempo and more techno-driven. Overall, it was an enjoyable set and fascinating to watch Arnalds perform outside of his contemporary classical context. With the strength of their chemistry together, it may prove rewarding if they incorporated other musicians on stage to play strings and piano, which could potentially give new life to their songs in a live setting.