2014 was the year that electronica’s cognoscenti fell for Be Svendsen. Following the success of live performances at Fusion and BOOM, the Danish musician has become a treat on the global festival scene and proponent of a uniquely organic, genre-bending sound that could best be described as ‘Tarantino Techno’.
Rather like Tarantino, Svendsen’s art has the distinction of being rooted in both the familiar and the obscure. The playful and the ironic. His is an alluring fusion of syncopated beats, rendered vocals, world-music, a-typical sampling and live instrumentals, synthesised by the mediative qualities of repetition.
A borrower, an inventor and an art-chemist. He plays first from the soul. He is a warm outsider in a psychedelic bowler-hat. His music, an audial rendition of the memories of his own shamanic vision quest. Your ears are to be led by a naive melody up some curious audio-ornamental highway. Your expectations as listener, deliberately, mindfully overthrown.
After starting his solo project in 2011, Be Svendsen – a namesake of his native Danish peninsula- released a series of EPs and remixes which spun across the international scene. Inspired by acclaimed live festival performances at Portugal’s BOOM, Fusion, Burning Man, AfrikaBurn Symbiosis and and tours through Europe, USA, Canada, Australia and Africa, an increasingly intoxicated fanbase followed.
Surprisingly then, he’s a man who rarely listens to electronic music. As an artist, you’ll find him aloof from of the conventional electronic music world altogether.
Deliberately distant, so as to quieten any easy influences and create something entirely new.
Vehemently defiant of both trends and hype, it is a sound that deliberately skirts the digital and plays on the low-fi. This is musician over machine. A musician who can breathe fresh life into sounds that recall old nomadic stories, making them resolutely modern.
Perhaps explaining why the Burning Man crew get turned on by for his music, it straddles the melodic, the euphoric and evocatively sombre. Sounds that can be playful one Nevada sunrise and obscure, on a starry BOOM midnight.
It mobilises everything from Tribal-tech, field-teased vibes, woozy Arabic melodies, via the rusty spaghetti-western soundtrack, into an almost mythical manifestation of the deserts and planes of the old American West.
It is through these playful interchanges of style that Be Svendsen expresses a profound and ever self-interrogating talent for innovation and alchemy. This talent takes him out of the tired end of techno, away from any easy neat and tidy genre classifications and firmly into the avant-garde.
He explains: ”The music should ultimately connect you to a bigger picture”. The goal is to express and convey a feeling, and to behold the moment – the essence of oscillating between a smile and a tear. “I like to bring tragedy and humour together, and invite them up for a dance.” This is in some way, a a celebration of what he calls chiaroscuro – the light and dark – of existence. His sets are transporting, providing a cinematic swagger to the listener submersed in his soundscape.
Never failing to provoke a sense of shared intensity, his sets induce broad, knowing smiles and the acknowledgement and gratification that can only accompany the truly unique. You’ll find a collection of world-wise, wide-open hearts, made whole by a hypnotic, electronic vigour on this particular desert-circus-shaman-cowboy’s, dance-floor. You’ll find it somewhere between the ornamental East and on a barely trodden path called Be Svendsen, way out, in the untamed West.