RINI makes listeners see stars in debut project, ‘Constellations’

Angela Lim, Life & Arts General Reporter

In the saturated R&B industry with its signature smooth sound, it’s difficult to identify artists who successfully set themselves apart from other musicians in the genre.

However, RINI loves to love. His soulful lyrics speak volumes and he has a killer falsetto. The moment he opens his mouth, it’s obvious he makes R&B unique to him.

The promising singer-songwriter released “Constellations,” his debut project, Oct. 8. From yearning to intimacy, the album mimics a quiet night capturing every possible facet of love.

The Melbourne-raised Filipino artist began posting Frank Ocean and Daniel Caesar covers on YouTube in 2016. Soon, he accumulated over two million monthly listeners on Spotify and 200 million streams across all music platforms.

RINI writes his lyrics based on personal experiences, which deliver honest perspectives to his listeners. He tests the boundaries of R&B by trying new sounds, incorporating his identity into the genre.

The 12 tracks in “Constellations” come together to tell a cohesive story and to understand it properly, listen to it in order starting with “Red Lights.” This slow jam features rapper Wale who provides much-needed texture changes to the otherwise generic sounding song. This opener foreshadows the more experimental songs in the album.

“Out of the Blue” remains the most streamed track on the album and rightly so. RINI’s voice tangles with the steady percussion, creating a syncopated tune. The swanky song also has numerous bass and piano embellishments that complement the forefront. “Out of the Blue”  ends with a shift towards a wistful stringed instrumentation, possibly representing two lovers taking a leap of faith.

More songs show RINI and his producers’ attention to detail. “Mimosa,” a track with a dreamy guitar solo and satisfying percussion, has a word-painting melody that literally descends when he sings, “She’s the gravity that keeps my feet here on the ground.” Another standout, “Destination You,” has a groovy bounce to make an audience dance and sway.

RINI ends the collection with the ambient “A Starry Night in Apollo Bay,” contrasting his typical R&B color. Applying a noticeable reverb on his voice, the artist fills up the space with his acoustic guitar, as well as the sound of the sea. The piece still sounds complete despite the minimal instruments. A sense of comfort and security looms over his listeners as he sings, “I think I might stay for a while,” conveying the most tender moments of affection. For RINI, as a guitarist raised in Australia, it especially hits home.

“Constellations” connects 12 songs that present love as it is. Much like other works in the genre, the album has its occasional drawn-out sections, but RINI successfully displays his artistic direction and proves himself capable of releasing music in various styles while maintaining his R&B roots.

4 stars out of 5