PURE Guest.052 Bendik Giske
Music unfolds between nakedness and movement.
Now on the cusp of his third solo album, the Norwegian saxophonist Bendik Giske knows himself well. With his new, self-titled record, he is in his prime as an artist: confident in his voice and abilities, buoyed by critical acclaim from all corners – including two Norwegian Grammy nominations – and a surge in audiences everywhere. With the intriguing choice of Beatrice Dillon as the album producer – clearly, the British electronic musician is a fellow traveler in the practice of original aesthetic expression – her distinctly spare influence is immediate and keenly felt.
The genesis of the album originated in Dillon's challenge to Giske – to relinquish some of his defining traits as a producer and embrace the concept of the "studio as an instrument" along with recording techniques that involved strategically placing tiny microphones on horns and Giske's body. This meticulous approach aimed to capture every unique sound, from idle scratches to sudden gasps, creating a personal and intimate experience for the listener. Drawing from his experience playing wind instruments, Giske emphasized the tactile and breath-driven nature of this process, acknowledging the less glamorous but crucial aspects. While again working with single-take recordings, no overdubs, only saxophone, and his body, gone is the reverberant space and mellifluous glamor. Giske finds the result akin to musical full-frontal nudity – every detail, every huff and puff audible, no obscuring, no aestheticizing. People may look away when it's not as pretty, but what's left feels more present and potent. Confrontational, it demands greater attention, but through its physicality – you can hear and feel his body in the music – it takes you to a flow state, somewhere between ecstasy, elation, and spiritual awakening.
Giske expresses himself through dance, seamlessly incorporating movement and rhythm into his works. Utilizing saxophone-style vocals and piercing screams, he transcends the limitations of traditional instruments. Jack Halberstam's "The Queer Art of Failure" serves as the final piece of Giske's artistic puzzle, offering criticism of heterosexual norms and capitalism, challenging established distinctions between high and low culture. He embraces unexpected sounds that arise during performances, with "Flutter," entirely composed of these accidental noises, its melodic lines crafted from overtones, laying the foundation for an immersive improvisational approach that reflects years of musical exploration.
It's the sound of social emancipation through the meditative pulse and velocity of circular breathing and the dance of the body, especially fingers, tongue, and lips. Giske knows that music can be a powerful tool in bringing people together to find ideas, and the longevity of his project is at its utmost a call for care, togetherness, storytelling, and the ability to gather for a shared cause. In all earnestness, Bendik Giske is a proposal for truthfulness and existence, a space for one to express their most profound self.
Photography by Luke Abby, Pedro S. Küster
John McGuire – Vanishing Points
Surya Botofasina, Nate Mercereau & Carlos Niño – So Much Love (Live)
Arnold Dreyblatt – Auditoria
Climate of Fear – Negative Space (Eartheater Remix)
Paul St. Hilaire – Three and a Half
Jake Muir – Bathhouse Blues
Marta De Pascalis – Glider
Bryozone – Ghost Tribe
Klein – DJ Drop
John Hassell – Toucan Oceans
Bendik Giske – Hole