Benj Hartwig’s pop electronica EP ‘Emanuel’

Today, the goal is to unlearn everything you've learned so far and figure out how to be free again
24 November 2022

Benj Hartwig’s latest release, the 4-song EP titled Emanuel, puts a unique spin on pop electronica. Part singer-songwriter record (per proxy), part soundtrack, but, also, a meditation on the last 30 years in introspective synth-driven music, this is the perfect release for the coming winter months. If you are a fan of Radiohead or any of their side projects like Atoms for Peace, you will find a home here.

The EP features a host of amazing vocal talent: Fiona Daniel, Jonas Tran, Silent Neighbor and Amélie Junes. Despite the fact that all of these voices are special and rich, and they change from song to song – as does the entire soundscape – there is a textural and emotional quality to these compositions that sustains the illusion of continuity as well as the focalized point of view. This is why it could be argued that this EP is a riff on the singer-songwriter trope, albeit executed using a polyphony of voices and the studio as an instrument.

The musician mentions how he found a new life in the mountains by escaping the grueling road life. It’s unclear if this person is Benj Hartwig or if this is a character that was created for the sake of this EP, either way, this information is beautifully highlighting the types of values that this work is based on.

So nature is a major theme here and an escape from the clutches of society. Today, the goal is to unlearn everything you’ve learned so far and figure out how to be free again – in a sense, to do what makes you happy and not to worry too much about the obstacles in your way.

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Photo by Rene Mosele