Boomkat Product Review:
On "Cracks", Norwegian sax virtuoso Bendik Giske expands his idiosyncratic fluttering technique with the assistance of producer André Bratten's studio wizardry to explore the concept of the man-machine. It's addictive, singular material that boils Giske's focused performance into an outward-looking soup of avant jazz, resonant electro acoustix and rhythmic body music.
The most startling element of "Cracks" is just how utterly specific it sounds. Throw any of the album's five extended pieces on, and they can't be confused for anyone else - it sounds completely like Bendik Giske from the opening 'Flutter' through to the final moments of 'Matter (part 3)' - a testament to Giske's hypnotic process, where he builds sax phrases that feel as if they're looping, even when they're not.
It's a technically demanding process, that on its own might harmonize with the circular breathing techniques of Colin Stetson or Arve Henriksen's instantly-recognizable muted trumpet stylings. But Giske augments his sounds with extraordinarily subtle electronic treatments, assisted by Bratten's armory of gadgets. It's rarely clear exactly what is being used or where, but there's always the feeling that this isn't completely dry horn playing - it's a humanist synthesis of the organic and digital worlds.
The effect is never more obvious than on the album's long centerpiece 'Cruising', losing phrases in escalating tanks of reverb and Giske's characteristic harmonic overblowing. Giske lets the sounds rise and fall so carefully that it reflects the careful mood curation of ambient music or the meditative loveliness of kosmische, but renders it in a way that feels simultaneously fresh and inviting.