Over the past decade or so, Mndsgn has established himself as one of the pioneers of this newer age of the LA beat scene. Ever since the 2013 classic breatharian, the talented musician has remained consistently incredible, with releases that feature some of the smoothest and grooviest music I’ve heard, and with a futuristic, forward-thinking aura that is just so crazy to me. To me, his 2016 masterpiece Body Wash was his true magnum opus – a riveting body of work that embodied some of the craziest funk I’ve heard in a long time. Since then, he’s continued to build his legacy with cohesive, concise albums on Stones Throw Records. His 2019 project Snaxx is still one of my favourite projects of that year, and his 2018 collaboration with Prophet on Wanna Be Your Man is another incredible body of work. Now, he’s come through with a new album titled Rare Pleasure, a stunning and awe-inspiring project that oozes soul, with intricate compositions and lavish guitar and synth leads that complement the funky and infectiously groovy basslines and drum patterns throughout the 37 minutes of this album.
After the atmospheric and angelic opener “Rare Pleasure I” and the funky “Truth Interlude”, the album shifts into pure bliss mode, with compositions that genuinely feel and sound like they could have been taken from any 70s or 80s funk record. “3Hands / Divine Hand I” features these thick drums and basslines, with Mndsgn’s vocal performance elevating the track to pure blissful energies, as it brings a colourful and playful melody that explodes into these elegant synth leads that complement the heavy bass and drumming throughout. “Hope You’re Doin’ Better”, one of the lead singles on this album features a soulful and palyful melody, with keys, synths, guitar leads and thick basslines that carry the groove of the track so perfectly. The guitar leads on “Rare Pleasure II” are phenomenal too, as we can hear the guitar arpeggios combine with the the dynamic drumming. The grandiosity of “Slowdance” is quite phenomenal – the space and atmosphere Mndsgn is able to create on this track is mesmeric, as his vocals take that space and dominate the soundscape. It’s another exceptional moment, while the more subdued and atmospheric “Abundance” and “Masque” have more of an emphasis on guitar leads creating the soothing and angelic tones. The latter of the two especially just feels so ethereal and gorgeous, it feels like I’m floating listening to it. The drumming on “Rare Pleasure III” is exceptional, while the slower, more ethereal “Medium Rare” features gorgeous strings, horns and basslines that complement Mndsgn’s soothing voice. The keys here are incredibly lush and potent, but it’s the strings that bring this sense of true grandiosity to the music. It’s one of the very best moments on the album, and a true reflection of Mndsgn’s artistry. “Rare Pleasure IV” is a much more dynamic change of pace, sounding almost Bossa Nova inspired with its rhythmic drumming and synth leads, with subtle vocals in the background too. “Colours Of The Sunset” is also such a great moment on the album, setting a sunset-like mood through sonic arrangements that are truly incredible. The dynamic and thumping drums of “Divine Hand II” at the start give way to another angelic and stunningly beautiful moment, with harp leads and grandiose synths that allow this spacious atmosphere to build this reflective tone that is just stunning, truly capturing the beauty and aura of this man’s music.
It’s safe to say, I’m immensely impressed by Rare Pleasure. It’s an album that combines ethereal, lush and atmospheric tones with bass-heavy grooves that infectiously funky and utterly soulful. Mndsgn’s ability to draw these worlds together is what makes it such an exceptional body of work, and I can only imagine what other music Mndsgn has in the works. But for now, and hopefully for a long time, I hope you all enjoy the gorgeously crafted compositions by one of the greatest producers of the last decade. Thank you Mndsgn.