Boomkat Product Review:
Oslo/Berlin’s Bendik Giske uses extended technique and unique microphone placement to capture a visceral showcase of his virtuoso saxophone talents. Imagine Colin Stetson having an epiphany after a transformative time at Berghain…
“Born in Oslo and splitting much of his adolescence between his home city and Bali, Giske grew up in an artistic household and took up the saxophone at the age of 12. As the years progressed, so did his comfort with the instrument, which inspired him to push the boundaries of what he could accomplish creatively with it.
After spending much of the previous decade racking up contributions to others’ works, including several albums from Norwegian performance artist Nils Bech, Giske was inspired to conceive Surrender after a fateful trip to notorious Berlin club Berghain in 2012. “I resisted—I felt like everyone was an idiot,” he admits regarding the experience, which he now regards as transformative. “At some point, I started embracing this culture, and I realized that this is where I wanted to be and how I wanted to create in this universe. The space really creates a parallel universe that takes a while to get into—but once you surrender yourself to it, you experience yourself in a way that feels more true.”
Surrender as a verb is a key concept to Giske’s debut. “I consider myself a queer performance artist—the queer perspective is always there,” he states. “In gay culture, we have the terms ‘top’ and ‘bottom,’ with ‘bottom’ referencing an act of surrender and trust. This act of surrender gives you a different perspective on how you relate to the world—how you apply yourself and experience things.”
Recorded at Oslo’s Emanuel Vigeland Mausoleum, Giske and producer Amund Ulvestad conceived of the method in which they placed tiny microphones over the saxophonist’s instrument and body, right down to being able to capture his breathing between notes.
Instrumental music is often at its best when telling a story within the notes it contains, and by that measure Surrender is an extremely relatable work of art for anyone who’s ever had a moment in a crowded room and felt themselves changing amidst the chaos of the world surrounding them.”