Whereas Four Dreams sells itself on a bedrock of ’80s electro-pop and keyboard-kissing ambience, Ken Rangkuty is more advanced than just that. Were you to label the Indonesian/German/L.A. producer as complex, that wouldn’t make him an awkward, retro-fixated diva either. The opening exchanges of Keenhouse’s sophomore record are lighter than air, with a vocal sounding like a chauffeur for neon-togged magic carpet rides (keeping it cross-legged on “Taura”) setting up shop on the fluffiest of kitsch-sprinkled clouds, and making pop smoothies (“Twilight Bridge”) minus any unattractive, self-serving gloop. Easy to typecast then, and easy to ruin the vibe should one slippered foot step out of place.
“Diary 11” is arguably the most 80s sounding and yet begins the album’s most contemporary run, teasing with a resolute march hopping down from the skies before it re-saddles upwards. “Emergence” is well named and “Can’t Sleep Since” takes the hint, Keenhouse now aiming for housier dance floors as the electro is now fully dialled into modern thinking, and more’s the point showing how close the gap is between old and new. At no point does Rangkuty abandon the gleam – “Median of a Moment” reverts back to a meditative nook – and that little bit of flexibility added to retro fandom never going out of style, holds him in good stead.
File under: Housse de Racket, Human Woman, Amirali