Mndsgn, aka Ringgo Ancheta, began building on dreams and sketches of songs that would later form the new record Rare Pleasure in 2018. The album brings together the music that has inspired Mndsgn over the years – R&B, soundtrack music, psychedelia and jazz – into a rich, expansive sound.
To bring his vision to life, Mndsgn assembled a cast of musicians: Kiefer Shackelford (piano), Swarvy (guitar, bass), Will Logan (drums), Carlos Niño (percussion), Fousheé, Devin Morrison and Anna Wise (vocals), Miguel Atwood Ferguson (strings) and other contemporaries. It took only a week to lay everyone’s parts down: “The process was quite natural and aligned with my approach to capture the illusiveness of a moment in time.”
Ringgo describes the concept of ‘Rare Pleasure’ as an appreciation of sharing life, inward reflection, and the gift of joyful catharsis. Threaded throughout the album is a ‘Rare Pleasure’ theme inspired by soundtrack music; its repetitions and variations “echo the recurring motifs we experience in life, sometimes being revisited by the same lessons in different shapes and forms.”
Experiences in Ringgo’s life informed his lyrics: ‘Hope You’re Doin’ Better’ was written while processing a loved one’s struggle with mental illness. “Although communication between each other was severed, it allowed the opportunity to truly acquaint myself with the concept of loving from afar.” ‘Medium Rare’ and ‘Colours of the Sunset’ seek transcendence through simple acts of self-love and introspection. ‘Abundance’ is about “the inner abundance that’s always accessible whether we realize it or not”, and ‘Slowdance’ is dedicated to the vulnerability of growth in new relationships.
Though the message of Rare Pleasure feels especially relevant to the present moment, it has been a guiding principle throughout Mndsgn’s life: “We are beings living this human life that’s only going to happen once and only once, every moment infused with a magical impermanence, a rarity.”
Ringgo was born in San Diego, raised in New Jersey, and is currently based in Los Angeles. The youngest of four in a family of Filipino descent, Ringgo grew up in a household filled with love and appreciation for music, b-boying and drawing from a young age, and later being introduced to rap and beat production by his older brother.
In 2008, platforms like Myspace and AIM messenger brought Mndsgn together with beatmakers Knxwledge, Suzi Analogue and Devonwho to form a Voltron of kindred musicality and sensibility. The collective, known as Klipmode, played and released beat tapes through the then-budding platform Bandcamp. As the music gained a cult following, Ringgo relocated to Los Angeles in 2011, where he self-released beat tapes and projects distributed by labels Leaving and Fresh Selects, and regularly performed at local hubs such as Low End Theory.
From early on, Ringgo has aimed to explore the human condition in his music. Taken as a whole, his body of work chronicles the evolution of self, asking throughout: how can we live in a way that is true to ourselves? How can we find beauty in the everyday and unfamiliar?