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Mndsgn’s Psychedelic Bubble Bath R&B

In Music
SOAK IT UP: Mndsgn stitches together odds and ends into a bubbly, psychedelic slurry of sound.

SOAK IT UP: Mndsgn stitches together odds and ends into a bubbly, psychedelic slurry of sound.

Music is typically a pursuit for the ears, but some songs occupy a time and place. Just as the olfactory sense can bring back vivid memories of things past, music has the power to transports listeners to new places. Los Angeles producer Mndsgn (pronounced “Mind Design”) conjures smoke-filled rooms and dimly lit house parties with his spacey R&B and jazz-influenced compositions. His latest LP, Body Wash, is a magenta-tinged, 16-track journey into a psychedelic bubble-bath.

The Stones Throw-signee, whose real name is Ringgo Ancheta, is a one-man band—building his own beats, playing the keys and singing. On “Alluptoyou,” the fourth track off of Body Wash, twinkling keys accompany Ancheta’s heavily effected vocals as the plodding drum track stutters and seems poised to buckle under its own weight.

“Sometimes you’re thinking, what planet am I really on” Ancheta repeatedly sings in his reserved croon. The producer goes on to deliver a series of couplets fueled by self-doubt and fear before arriving at the answer found in the song’s title.

It’s clear that all of this was assembled on a computer, but the work feels decidedly organic compared to Ancheta’s contemporaries. By contrast, fellow L.A. beatmaker and Klipmode collective member Knxwledge uses some of the same production tricks to lend his music a signature otherworldliness. However while Knxwledge is content to just spin knotted webs of sample-based interstellar boom bap, Ancheta looks to spin a yarn as well.

The star of Body Wash isn’t any one song or element, but the overarching story Ancheta weaves in the process.

As he describes it on his Bandcamp page, “In the narrative, a homeless man encounters a mysterious woman who gives him shelter. She instructs him to bathe with a very peculiar body wash. As he soaks and sinks deeper in a thick lather of this unknown solution, the man finds himself transported to an alternate dimension.” Anchetta never quite tips his hand about how the story relates to his own life, but bathing being a metaphor for the creative process doesn’t sound too far off.

The story truly comes into focus in the last handful of songs. A trio of alternately subtitled instrumental tracks called “Searchin” bring the story to its climax. The lack of vocals implies the point at which our hero finally loses himself in that other world.

San Jose will get a chance to get lost in the sauce with Mndsgn when he comes to play a set at The Continental. He will appear alongside the resident Changing Same DJ crew of Chale Brown, The CME, Shea Butter and Mark PISTK. 

Mndsgn
Aug 10, 9pm, $10+
The Continental, San Jose
thecontinentalbar.com

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