Kiasmos is made up of Icelandic BAFTA-winning composer Ólafur Arnalds, known for his unique blend of minimal piano and string compositions with electronic sounds, and Janus Rasmussen from the Faroe Islands, known as the mastermind of the electro-pop outfit Bloodgroup.
By focusing solely on their self-titled debut album, Ólafur and Janus have been able to combine and further develop their unique sound aesthetics to complete an album driven by their mutual love for electronic music. Made in Ólafur’s newly build studio in Reykjavík, Iceland, a majority of the album was recorded using acoustic instruments next to a variety of synthesisers, drum machines and tape delays. It features a live drummer, string quartet and Ólafur performing on the grand piano, producing an ambient, textured sound, which makes it a perfect home listen and equally danceable record. If you listen closely, you can spot them record the thumb piano, finger snapping and even the sound of the metal grinder of a lighter slowly to replace the usual electronic hi-hat sounds, giving the album a far more intimate and unique atmosphere.
Some might be surprised that London based electronic producer Ryan Lee West, the man behind Rival Consoles, shares a home with contemporary classical composers such as Nils Frahm, Ólafur Arnalds and Peter Broderick. And yet they have a lot more in common than expected. Fascinated by sound from an early age, Ryan chose to dedicate his time to studying, experimenting with and producing sound graduating from De Montfort University in Leicester. West often composes early ideas on piano, violin and guitar, although the end result is much more electronic-laden. 2009 saw a split release between West and Ólafur's techno project Kiasmos, which revealed their mutual appreciation for dance music. Ryan has also produced remixes for New York based composer Nico Muhly and UK producer Jon Hopkins.