I’m not entirely sure that Ken Rangkuty’s Keenhouse is actually from Los Angeles–or even from this time period. As he says in the song “Twilight Bridge” from his anticipated new album Four Dreams, his sound feels like it is “from another place, another space.” Keenhouse’s stamp on house is a warm, fuzzy, nostalgic branding that falls somewhere in between Euro disco and airy French house of the past ten years, all of which he lays his soft vocals over. It’s an interesting combination.
Four Dreams is a fairly ambitious effort. The twelve track album is broken into four movements, four dreams, all of which are his musical fantasies. For Dream 2, it’s a semi-ambient and light coasting through galaxies far away. Dream 3 is a bit more dire, a Tron role playing through the angle of jazzy electronic programming. The songs are contained in these little mood groupings of three songs and can be read into as much as you like: “Can’t Sleep Since” is a pulsing, post-nightmare, alarm clock hating worry anthem while “Lost In The Night” places you in that in between space of awake and asleep. “Echoplants” is a Moog meditation on the moon and “Taura” follows a similar meditation but replaces the Moog with a Koto. Does their sequence really matter? Not sure. They each hold up on their own fine enough without the movements.
The album is curious. It’s not a dance album, no, but instead a lot of cosmic influences used as the foundation for a big dreamscape. There’s a lot of jazz and pop-ambient and Italo disco, which Keenhouse points to in order to weave the album together. It’s inspired, a little weird, yet easy to understand and enjoy. His music and this album are unplaceable, an irony as his 2008 Civic Transit is a response to living in Los Angeles.
Four Dreams is a nice late Summer release that will have you equally longing for past house as it will have you looking into the future. It positions itself in between musical eras perhaps highlighting that electronic music at its current state is in a bit of a cloud itself. Maybe these Four Dreams are allusions to what they can or will become? We’ll have to wait and see.