Live Review: Kiasmos + Rachel Claudio + Basic Mind + More – The Rosemount Hotel, Perth (26.09.15)

Perth was a hive of activity this weekend past. There were two football finals; two festivals, Wave Rock Weekender and Listen Out Festival, plus the usual selection of weekend gigs. Saturday night also saw Icelandic techno duo Kiasmos play their first West Australian show at The Rosemount Hotel.

Thanks in part perhaps to the late kick off of Saturdays final between the West Coast Eagles and North Melbourne, it took a little while for things to get busy at the Rosemount, with the crowd slowly trickling in throughout the night – though disappointingly the crowd never really threatened to reach capacity. Those in attendance were treated to an at time interesting and varied selection of music, mostly of the electronic persuasion, from local supports Feakes/Gioia/Myburgh/Reid, Basic Mind and Rachel Claudio before the evening was brought to a triumphant window and air con rattling conclusion by Kiasmos.

Opening proceedings were Feakes/Gioia/Myburgh/Reid, a four-piece ensemble whose brand of music is perhaps best described as an acquired taste. The group seemed to take their cues from the jazz world; and their set seemed to incorporate that genres element of improvisation and I guess playfulness. It was all rather discordant; but definitely atmospheric – I’m still not sure if it was just one long piece, or smaller pieces merged together, but it certainly made of interesting viewing (and listening) whilst I perhaps wouldn’t go out of my way to listen to or buy their work; they certainly got peoples attention; however small the early crowd was.

Basic Mind launched into his set without any sort of fanfare (or a hello to the audience); and proceeded to keep his head down for the majority set, preferring I guess to let his mix do the talking. And for me it was certainly an enjoyable performance, it was vibrant, upbeat and had some really beautiful moments. There were a few technical issues at times during the set, but Tim Loughman (the man behind the moniker) seemed to take it all in good humor, and just knuckled down and got on with it. I don’t consider myself in any way to be an aficionado of electronic music in any of its guises but I’d definitely like to catch Loughman live again in the future.

Rachel Claudio was the final support act of the night; and saw her surrounded and perhaps very nearly overwhelmed by a whole host of equipment. By all accounts Claudio was trying out a new set up, though you wouldn’t have known that if she hadn’t pointed it out straight out. Claudio wowed the audience; mixing sublime vocals with loops, live samples and other technical wizardry. She definitely got the audience warmed up; and it was nice to get a bit of vocals for the first time that evening. It was an impressive performance, and one that has firmly placed Claudio on mine, and no doubt a lot of other audience members, radar.

Kiasmos is made up of the combined forces of award winning composer Ólafur Arnalds and Faroese musician Janus Rasmussen, the mastermind behind electro pop outfit Bloodgroup. Whilst this may have been Kiasmos’ first visit to Australia and Perth; Arnalds has visited before albeit in very different circumstances and found himself playing in very different venues. Touring in support of their debut self titled album; the duo made their way onto the stage with little fanfare; doing their own last minute checks before launching into their set; a set which was as much about the accompanying stunning visuals and light show as it was about the music.

For those familiar with Arnalds solo work, there is plenty that is recognisable within the Kiasmos project, albeit magnified tenfold. It’s at times relentless upbeat and engaging; but there is still something quite atmospheric about it too. Arnalds and Rasmussen create these sumptuous soundscapes, which have so many beautiful moments; yes it is up-tempo and it’s utterly danceable but at the same time it packs this emotional hit as well – to sound a little corny I found their set to be just so uplifting and euphoric.

The set was not without it’s technical difficulties; their was a ‘power spike’ during one of those songs, which left them with no projection, a bit of sound, but all the strobes at one point. They took the incident in their stride and in good humour and if anything it was a momentary distraction from what was a very polished and completely entertaining set. The duo eschewed the traditional encore, choosing instead to play through until the end, and eventually slipped through the crowd after just over an hour or so. With both Arnalds and Rasmussen having busy careers outside of Kiasmos who knows when the next time we’ll see them play here again; but hopefully it won’t be too long at all.

You can check out Kiasmos’ Facebook pages here:


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Simon Clark

Books Editor. An admirer of songs and reader of books. Simon has a PhD in English and Comparative Literature. All errant apostrophes are his own.