All eyes were on Janus Rasmussen when he announced the big news that he was going solo last year. The Faroese had, after all, made a name for himself in celebrated collaborative endeavours, from the electronic pop quartet Bloodgroup to his output as one-half of the duo KIASMOS, alongside Ólafur Arnalds. Particularly as part of Kiasmos, Rasmussen gained worldwide esteem enchanting listeners with one-of-a-kind fusions of acoustic instrumentations and electronic textures. The duo’s sonic experimentations definitely paid off, with Kiasmos headlining some of the world’s most respected festivals, such as INASOUND, Lowlands, Paraíso, BIME, Mad Cool, and Lovebox.
Notwithstanding the pressure, Rasmussen’s solo debut, Vín lived up to the high expectations. Released via Christian Löffler’s Ki Records, the album proved to audiences just how much Rasmussen is a composer in his own right as well as revealing the full scope of the musician’s talents. Vín luminously explored new sound-worlds within the realm of experimental minimal techno with a range that peaked and lulled in all the right places.
Setting out on his own was clearly an empowering experience as one year on, Rasmussen gifts us with more solo releases. Single Neyð marks both a homecoming and a turning point for the musician who had put off singing in his tracks since his Bloodgroup days seven years ago.
“I’ve missed singing. It’s freeing to have relieved myself from the restraint of only doing instrumental work.”
Neyð starts off as a sensitive vocal and piano-led track, building up slowly towards a dancefloor-ready tune. The track’s title translates as emergency or distress in Faroese, Jasmussen’s mother language, but while the electronic beats convey this urgency, the vocals and lyrics drift and float in an altogether different pace, “I wanted the lyrics to convey a desperate, romantic fever dream,” says Rasmussen.
Produced in Rasmussen’s current hometown, Reykjavík, Neyð draws on the musician’s surroundings with the percussive elements of the track recorded in a former fish factory just outside his studio, “I brought my drum sticks with me and star-ted drumming on anything that I could find there.” The mix of field recordings, vocals and, of course, Rasmussen’s masterful electronic arrangements resulted in a track that feels above all very personal.
“This might end up being a bit of a turning point in the music I’ll make from here on out.”
While it’s not the first time the musician has experimented with his voice, coming back to it after many years of developing his own instrumental sound feels like the start of something truly special and exciting.