“Rare Pleasure” is Mndsgn’s third album to be released on Stones Throw Records. Following 2016’s “Body Wash”, this album truly shows the 32 years old artist’s evolution from his roots as a heralded beatmaker to vocalist, songwriter and arranger.
Though he began writing for the album in 2018, the final recordings took just a week in studio with the help of trusted collaborators: Swarvy on bass, guitar and as Musical Director for the sessions, Stones Throw label mate Kiefer Shackelford on keys, drum work by Will Logan, the blessed percussion of Carlos Niño, Miguel Atwood-Ferguson on strings, and accompanying vocals from Fousheé and Anna Wise.
Mndsgn (spoken “mind design”) aka Ringgo Ancheta describes the concept of “Rare Pleasure” as an appreciation of life, inner reflection and as catharsis “an echo of the recurring moments we experience, and sometimes we are caught up again by the same challenges in different shapes and forms.”
Experiences in Ancheta’s life have significantly influenced his lyrics: ‘Hope You’re Doin’ Better’ was written while he was processing a loved one’s struggle with mental illness. “Even though there was a break in communication between us, it gave me the opportunity to get comfortable with the concept of love from afar.” ‘Medium Rare’ and ‘Colours of the Sunset’ seek transcendence through the act of self-love and introspection. ‘Abundance’ is about “the inner richness that is always accessible whether we recognise it or not”, and ‘Slowdance’ is dedicated to vulnerability in new relationships.
Although Rare Pleasure’s message feels particularly relevant to the present moment, it’s a thread that runs through Mndsgn’s entire life: “Life only happens once and every moment is imbued with a magical impermanence, a rarity.”
Ancheta was born in San Diego, grew up in New Jersey and currently lives in Los Angeles. The youngest of four children in a family of Filipino descent, Ringgo grew up in a household filled with a love and appreciation for music. He was a b-boy from a young age and drew a lot, later learning about rap and beat production through his older brother.
In 2008, platforms like Myspace and AIM Messenger brought Mndsgn together with beatmakers Knxwledge, Suzi Analogue and Devonwho. The collective, known as Klipmode, played and released tapes via the then burgeoning platform Bandcamp. As the music gained a larger following, Ancheta moved to Los Angeles in 2011, where he released tapes and projects distributed by the Leaving and Fresh Selects labels, and performed regularly at local clubs like Low End Theory.
From the beginning, Ancheta’s goal was to explore the human condition in his music. Taken as a whole, his work describes the evolution of the self and asks throughout: how can we live in a way that is true to ourselves? How can we find beauty in the everyday?
Mndsgn began exploring these questions on his Stones Throw debut Yawn Zen (2014), which he followed up with Body Wash (2016). The mixtape-like records Snax and Snaxx followed in 2018 and 2019. Over the years, he has become an in-demand producer for hip-hop greats like Danny Brown and Tyler, the Creator.