Independent Spotlight is a continuing series on Stewart’s blog. The series revolves around independent artists and bands sending their music to Brett to review. No band is promised a positive review, and all music is reviewed honestly in an effort to better independent music.
In this edition of the Independent Spotlight, we shine our gaze on a Swedish house producer, Henrik Berntsson. The 26 year-old artist and producer has assumed the moniker of Henwall for his latest work, and he’s got a new tune out now. ‘Where R You’ is his eclectic single and follow-up to a compelling effort earlier this year, an EP called ‘The First Dance.’ (Berntsson has actually had a very active year, not just with that EP, but several singles before it as well.) Let’s dig into ‘Where R You.’
‘Where R You’ immediately won my heart for its ingenious sound design. I often get inundated with independent house and electronica producers. Their music begins to blend together, and to be blunt, if I was to mix twenty of them into a hat and pull out random tunes, I highly doubt I’d be able to differentiate many of the artists from one another. In a most fortunate turn of talent, Henwall defies all of those stereotypes and ‘Where R You’ is a remarkably refreshing experience that harnesses his production prowess in a subtle, but insanely satisfying manner.
‘Where R You’ isn’t a house tune; I should make that distinction immediately. At its core, it’s a pop tune. It’s a shame Berntsson is releasing this now, because it would have been a killer summer song. The track elegantly blends electronic house influence with acoustic singer songwriter pop. The defiant highlight of the song is the guest vocalist, a wonderfully pleasant female vocalist chock-full of personality. I particularly like the dichotomy between the acoustic, folksy atmosphere of half the track and the electronic tinged latter pieces. The two genres dance around one another in beautiful harmony, much better than anyone would likely anticipate.
I can always appreciate a fun, upbeat, enjoyable pop song. That’s exactly what ‘Where R You’ is. It’s not overly deep, but it will have you spinning it endlessly on your workout or morning playlists. It’ll get you up and moving and it’s very well produced, too. I suppose my only quip with the piece would be some of the modern tropes it embraces - the whistling harmonies, for example. That’s been done by everyone from Of Monsters and Men to Mumford and Sons. Hell, even Rod Stewart hopped on the pseudo-folk pop bandwagon last week with a release that sounds a lot like this. That’s not a problem, it’s an infectious tactic to employ. I’m just very happy Henwall pairs it with his superb electronic instrumentation. That’s the most redeemable piece of ‘Where R You.’ It’s a track very much worth your time, though. Check it out on Spotify below.