Ringgo Ancheta has quite an unusual experience in comparison to the average hip-hop producer. Ancheta’s parents were members of the Philippine arm of the Aum Supreme Truth Cult, and raised in the forests – until the group’s venture into terrorist activity caused his family to flee the group in the late 80s. They were granted political asylum here in the US and eventually settled in rural New Jersey, where Ancheta was raised on the outskirts of a commune without electricity, while his father worked as a researcher at Princeton Neuroscience Institute. Certainly, most uncommon, eh?
One of Ancheta’s earliest excursions into the “modern” world was a trip when he hitchhiked to Philadelphia, and as he described it, the first guy he met on the street introduced him to beat making. And within about a day, he was making his own beats on his newfound friends sampler. As his trips to Philadelphia became more frequent, he began using the name Mndsgn (pronounced “mind design”), inspired by the Nas lyric, “my mind is seeing through your design like blind fury,” and nod to his father’s work in neuroscience.
Ancheta eventually headed west to Los Angeles and was signed by Stone Throw Records, who have recently released his debut effort, Yawn Zen. And with the release of the album, Ancheta as Mndsgn has developed a reputation for an unusually placid sound among beatmakers. TXT (MSGS) the first single and video off the album is comprised of morning dew glistening-like synths and manages to sound as though it owes a subtle debt to Weather Channel jazz – but with an icy veneer. In some way, the track evokes the peacefulness that comes from meditation.