In this series, Selections, we invite DJs, producers and label heads to dig into their digital crates and share the contents of their Bandcamp collections. This week, as he releases his new album ‘Rare Pleasure’ on Stones Throw, Mndsgn spotlights 10 laid back gems, from fuzzy hip-hop to sunbaked funk, soul and jazz
In this series, Selections, we invite DJs, producers and label heads to dig into their digital crates and share the contents of their Bandcamp collections. While hearing new music played out by your favourite selectors remains largely on hold as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, it’s never been easier, or more important, to support the artists and imprints releasing tracks, albums, EPs and comps in the midst of all the madness. In lieu of opportunities to discover new records on the dancefloor, Selections will give you the chance to nab sounds from the crates of tastemakers, and support the people behind them while you’re at it. Win-win, right?
This week, as he releases his new album ‘Rare Pleasure’ on Stones Throw, Mndsgn spotlights 10 laid-back gems, from fuzzy hip-hop to sunbaked funk, soul and jazz. Originally part of the Klipmode collective alongside Suzi Analogue, Knxwledge and Devonwho, Los Angeles-based Mndsgn has become a highly respected solo producer over the past decade, and a staple of the Stones Throw roster. Since the beatific hip-hop of his first album for the label, 2014’s brilliant ‘Yawn Zen’, his sound has developed.
2016’s ‘Body Wash’ brought glossy funk laced with soft vocals, while 2019’s ‘Snaxx’ presented a heap of R&B and hip-hop jams as bite-size snippets. Mndsgn’s ‘Rare Pleasure’ LP drops via the label this month, bringing with it a cinematic jazz sound that retains the daydream aesthetic of his earlier work, but feels altogether more grown-up. Having assembled a band of accomplished musicians for the project, vocals and strings swirl together, as neat guitar riffs and chunky percussion gently usher tracks forward. An introspective work inspired by love, relationships and themes of impermanence, it’s out now on Stones Throw.
“Been a fan of 10.4ROG for some time now, ever since I heard his work with Liv.e. He produced this entire record with JUICEBOX on the vocals and various instruments, released by Fresh Selects. I’ve been bumpin’ this one all the way through a lot lately. The sounds are a tasteful crosspollination of psych and r&b. 10.4ROG did a great job mixing it, too. A sonic pleasure to say the least.”
“Melvin Knight, a singer/songwriter from Chicago, self-released this gem from 2016. Consisting of mid-tempo love ballads, this five-track free EP feels like a cool breeze. Not overly polished, it’s just timeless and raw. It’s always inspiring to hear songwriters magically align with their production or composition. I’ve only recently dived into Melvin’s work, and I’m quickly learning how prolific this cat is.”
“Liv.e truly created a masterpiece with her debut full length album. It’s really not often you hear vocalists crushing it like this on these kinds of sounds. The music is timeless, and her vocal brilliance really shines through on mejiwahn’s production. I personally enjoy and appreciate the process of how sampled/looped records were completely replayed with live instrumentation. Stellar mix and master by Zeroh, another one of my favourite artists.”
“This is another incredible collaborative project. Revolving around the concept of a fictional record store, ‘FlySiifu’s’ covers all the bases for me, as far as a solid hip-hop record goes. Madlib, Ohbliv, Ahwlee, Jay Versace and Budgie are just a few of the producers who masterfully soundtracked the album. The interludes feature guest cameos like Easter eggs. Fly Anakin and Pink Siifu are a tag team made in heaven.”
“‘VGMs’ is a beat tape series consisting of video game soundtrack sampled beats, all made live on his Twitch stream. This is the 10th instalment, and the whole series is heat. Never disappoints. The legacy and work ethic speak for themselves.”
“Refreshing sounds from Byron Crenshaw. If this is your first time hearing the name, go back and listen to ‘Bass Tone Paintings’, released on Leaving Records last year: brilliant vocoder and bass guitar work. These are further explorations that bring me to familiar, yet outer-dimensional destinations. Every little second of each song is interesting.”
“Twelve tracks of pure, raw emotion from Brooklyn native Amani, written and produced by the man himself. The compositions are grounded, planted in dusty, sampled loops and breaks like rich soil. The way he writes is expressed more like seasoned poetry than just raw raps or singing. Works like this feel very intentional, which makes for a special listening experience.”
“Based in Richmond, Virginia, Butcher Brown is definitely one of my personal favourite bands of our generation. I appreciate how they’ve always kept it true to their sound, preserving the DNA of Richmond. On ‘King Butch’, they deliver once again that signature crosspollination of funk and jazz sounds. Everything just sounds super dialled in on this record. It’s so consistent and tasteful.”
“I’ve always loved Demae’s voice in London-based trio Hawk House. Ever since then, I’ve been excited to hear more solo work of hers. She teamed up with the right ensemble of producers for this album. Her demeanour on these tracks just comes off so cool and collected, embodying and celebrating black joy and liberation. Shout out to London family Touching Bass for releasing this gem.”
“Executive produced by Danny Brown, this is one of the most exciting rap albums to come out as of late. Bruiser Wolf’s voice and cadence is truly one of one. He just sounds super OG. ‘DGS’ is 13 tracks of bar for bar brilliance. This is Detroit at its finest.”
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