Mnd’s I

Thanks, Mndsgn! He and Devonwho just released an album together last week. Listen/buy here

Track 26 on that album, called “Ovrwhere”, is fearless. I’ve already listened to it way too many times, but it is such challenging listen that I can’t help but go back for more. The point I want to make today is about style, and boy is this album full of it.

The freedom throughout gives a sense of real innocence. These particular cats certainly know what they’re doing, but the heavily swung rhythms and bouncy synth lines are so playful and experimental that it really reminds me of a couple of kids getting down on their dad’s keyboards. You can tell they’re having a blast.

These tracks are like the perfect modern culmination of funk, rnb, hip hop, and jazz. Samples taken from all over, drums reminiscent of 90s hip hop (which were all either drum machines from the 80s or samples from 60s 70s and 80s records anyway!), and classic synthesizer patches. I think it’s marvelous that a dude with a laptop can bring so many of those styles together under his fingertips to create a new sound and inspire everyone else. The swang ain’t for everyone; once again my pops can’t hang, and some of my pals argue, “You can’t dance to that!” To which I reply, “no, YOU can’t dance to that. Face!” And while a lot of the chords and sounds might sound like lucky guesses or chances discoveries to a passive listener, I can tell that at least someone around them has really given jazz a lot of thought. The choppy sound comes from the fact that everything is sampled (just getting it into the computer is sampling!), but the majority of it, I’m guessing, is sampled from themselves.

This kind of shit influences me so profoundly. As I said before, the track “Ovrwhere” is fearless. It’s possible that he just knew it would be cool, but it seems that most of the public (the uneducated, hah!) is still some time away from accepting this as “hip.” (at least here in San Marcos. If yall’s buds are all bout it bout it then please, hit me up!)  It’s inspiring on many levels to hear music coming straight from the soul like that. It seems like it’s as much a process of discovery for the producer as it is for the listener, like a found objects collage or a non-objective Pollack-style painting. And in that sense, not only do Mndsgn and Devonwho take the listener on a journey, but they’re along for the ride, too.

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