Ken Rangkuty has long been one of the most interesting, and talented artists working in Dreamwave/Nu-Disco. In fact, he’s been a favourite of ours for so long it’s hard to believe that Four Dreams, released this week, is only his second album. As Keenhouse, ken has been a pioneer in the melodic retro synth field, first coming to our attention back when he was championed by the Valerie Collective and was very much part of putting Dreamwave together, both as a musician and as a part of the Binary stable. His music keeps evolving, more so than many of his contemporaries, and this new album, inspired by Keenhouse’s worldwide travels, encompasses all his myriad influences.
Kicking off with the stabbing chill HousePop of Lost In the Night the album, you immediately notice the wild variety of musical cultures present on this record. East Asian instrumentation, in particular, get’s readily worked into Keenhouse’s jazzy synth dreams. Most evident on Echoplants and Taura. As we predicted in July, the album flows from one track to the other and on the whole is really a concept album, a music journey to represent Keenhouse’s travels and listening to the album as a whole (the only way it should be heard) you really feel the mood shift as if moving from place to place. Where I Belong, the albums preview track is one of the records highlights, an upbeat, spacey tune that is just one part of the whole experience. Ken’s gentle, hushed vocals are the prefect compliment for many of the tracks on this album, such as Twilight Bridge, an energetic Synth Funk workout which seems to serve as a bridge, hurrying the listener from one section of the record to the next. In fact, it does feel like this album is broken into chapters, each part of the story featuring quieter moments and moments of grandeur. Diary 11 is one of those majestic moments, powerfully combining ominous chords with uplifting piano and and a soaring synth lead. There’s also time, such as the experimental Lounge Jazz of Patchworld, where Ken indulges himself and just had fun with things. Things get a little more frantic toward the end of the record, culminating in the hypnotic synth House groove of Wet Earth, before Ken signs off with The Lullaby Of Keenhouse, a soothing piano track that is a final testament to Kens musicianship. While all this may sound a little ambient, don’t get us wrong there are many club tunes on Four Dreams, such as the pumping Emergence and the tense I Can’t Sleep Since, they just happen to be slightly more musical, and intelligent that your standard ‘banger’. Four Dreams is a masterpiece that invites the listener to enjoy the wealth of Keenhouse’s diverse cultural experiences and multi-instrumental musical talent, whilst pleasing with familiar synth jams. Very, very recommended.
♫ Keenhouse – Diary 11
♫ Keenhouse – Wet Earth
♫ Keenhouse – Twilight Bridge
Keenhouse’s Four Dreams album was released yesterday on Binary.
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