Featured Song: MY H☢T WIRES [MY HOT WIRES]
Thoughts: People change, people grow and evolve, but they never leave behind their past self. That’s what I took away from ♞ [Knight], Ren Queenston’s newest album. After a period of self-rediscovery, Ren’s evolved into a more open, more confident being and they’re music is a product of that.
Ren’s out to strut their stuff. The sonic landscape of Knight is all over the place. From pop-punk to hardcore, big beat, bossa, synthpop, juke, and numerous other styles. Each track is meticulously produced and don’t overstay their welcome, only being at the most three and a half minutes. The drums sound crisp, the synth stabs sound massive, the horns sound bright and bouncy. The craft in each track is well done. Ren maintains their mixing philosophy of clean masters with little EQ fidgeting and a clean soundscape. And unlike earlier works, Ren brings into the mix many interest hardware synths that gives the album a slightly different texture from previous works.
But what sets Knight, and Ren’s work as a whole, apart from many other producers out there is a defined soul in each track. In between the goofs about homosexual demons and Rockman-themed entendres, there’s strong emotions bursting from each lead, each vodocoder’d lyric, each drum pattern. Songs about being built up by the friends around you, about expressing yourself beyond the muffled crowds, about what it truly means to own your identity, are hidden as fun jams to dance to. It’s this sincerity in Ren’s music that keeps me coming back.
Knight feels like an accumulation to all of Ren’s work and experiences thus far. Bringing so many styles, so many themes, and some of their best production work so far, Rook stands as the best that Ren has to offer as an artist and human being. Everything has a great amount of care to this release from custom unicode titles, to a truly grandiose album artwork by Anjila to the most extensive liner notes in a Lapfox release to date, documenting every single software and hardware tool used to create this release. Ren is evidently proud of Knight and it properly represents their artistry and their personal identity; and the journey to refine it.