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Mndsgn, DJ Niña Mendoza at Alexander Gastown

Wednesday 30th, November 2016 / 13:31
By Coralie Kourany
Mndsgn at Alexander Gastown. Photo: Justin Uitto

Mndsgn at Alexander Gastown.
Photo: Justin Uitto

November 22, 2016

VANCOUVER — The sapphire blue glow of the Alexander, and the melting of lush chandeliers welcomed a variety of viewers to the show on early Tuesday night. Bobbing her head to her sultry evening beats, Vancouver’s own DJ Niña Mendoza grooved along with the assembling audience. Her set was made up of a various genres, harmoniously dancing between older boogie, to funk to more recent R&B. Almost every person danced their way into the serene dim room where shuffle, hustle, and hip-hop dancers got together explicitly savouring their down time before the start of the show as Mendoza created the perfect vibe to prepare us to board onto Mndsgn’s velvet magic carpet of experimental funk.

Mndsgn, pronounced mind design, was born Ringgo Ancheta in San Diego. His parents moved from the Philippines before Ancheta was born to escape poverty and to establish a life in America. He was raised in New Jersey’s Washington Township with a supportive mother who worked different jobs and a father constantly picking up machinist positions. Which meant he spent most of his time alone in his own suburban imagination. He was influenced at a young age by Gospel music and grew interested in B-Boy culture towards the end of middle school where his curiosity led him to start making beats. Ancheta’s style has a unique quality to its sound and discernibly manifests into his live performances.

An anomaly of a beat-making producer, Mndsgn is not bound by genre in any way. Gifted creatively in connecting a diversity of styles through his own experimental practice, he brings out everything between old soul, post-disco, psychedelic influence and hip hop. Naturally keeping the open-minded audience absorbed into his performance, as his soft-spoken voice almost murmurs into the mic expressing his mystical lyricism. His recurring Zen philosophical themes include the fulfillment of every individual’s potential at fulfillment as well as human connection. Travelling with him on his West Coast tour was Swarvy on bass that succeeded at persuading the viewers to sway their hips along his heavy bass line on the track “Lather.” With Kiefer jamming on the keyboard, they made the perfect juxtaposition of a modern disco and a dreamy underground jazz bar.

His art developed much more after moving to Los Angeles. He currently works with Stones Throw Records, an LA-based label that released EPs by NxWorries, J Dilla and Madvillain. Mndsgn’s modern hip hop definitely aligned fully with their values and released his past two albums, both Yawn (2014) and Body Wash (2016) with Stones Throw Records.

A suggested listen to Mndsgn’s underground (and avant-garde) hip hop would be over vinyl, when you might need to find yourself within a “Cosmic Perspective” in the land of music whether you’re a beat-maker or not…

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