Keenhouse: Civic Transit

Ken Rangkuty's Keenhouse collection Civic Transit (listed as an EP but really a mini-album at forty-two minutes) mixes the ‘80s sounds of Soft Cell, Human League, Giorgio Moroder, and The Buggles with the android funk of Daft Punk into a sugary milkshake of frothy electro-pop. The half-German and half-Indonesian Rangkuty (now an LA resident after leaving Germany) has no trouble maintaining that breathless energy throughout the release's eight euphoric set pieces—and set pieces they are, as Rangkuty works a panoramic mix of synthetic sounds, drum machines, and vocals into his candy-coloured confections.

The android pop of “Deep in the Forest ” explodes jubilantly, establishing the material's sunny tone from the first moment. A synthesizer solo squeals at the song's center, after which a piano part gets shredded into pieces and a burning bass throb takes charge. The tight electro strut of “Dame Yo” strongly suggests a Daft Punk influence while the lush stomp of “Treehouse” brings a more natural vibe to the set. Throughout the release, elements of disco, funk, electro, and house smoothly coalesce into five-minute anthems while vocal choruses spiritedly chirp and keyboard melodies wildly careen. Civic Transit's bright melodies surreptitiously insinuate themselves into your memory after repeated listens and the material's infectious exuberance gives the EP a charge that's also hard to deny (the wiry electro-acid shuffle of “Revolution” as good an example as any).

October 2008