An enjoyable, expressive return from the San Diego beatmaker...

Fifth albums are tricky things to get right. By that time in an artist’s career they should have worked out the fundamentals of songwriting and honed their craft so they know what they’re doing musically. However, if you play it too safe or go on autopilot the results are a let-down. Luckily Mndsgn’s fifth album, ‘Snaxx’, is everything we’ve come to expect, and more, from the San Diego beat maker. It’s his most enjoyable and expressive album to date.

To call Mndsgn, AKA Ringgo Ancheta, prolific is a slight understatement, but the origins of ’Snaxx’ stems from Ancheta having a glut of music on his hard drive that he didn’t want to go unheard. In true Ancheta style he wanted to put out two albums instead of one. The first, ‘Snax,’ was a self- released tape of remixes and its follow up ‘Snaxx’ is more of a beat-heavy laidback monster. There are also some featured spots on ‘Snaxx’, as Jon Bapp, Asal Hazel and Pink Siffu all make appearances. These guest spots work incredibly well and break up Ancheta’s gentle maelstroms of choppy beats and wonky basslines.

‘Snaxx’ feels like an instant classic. Everything about it works, from the lo-fi artwork, to the lingering samples, measured basslines and sedate beats, but there is a feeling of urgency and gravity to these tracks. During the bouts of creativity Ancheta was imparting a specific message or vibe into his music, instead of messing about with beats and samples. This is evident on ‘Deviled Eggs’ and the albums closer ‘Ggardenn’. On ‘Deviled Eggs’ cascading keyboards spill and tumble over tight breakbeats, creating an urgency to keep moving forward. It’s this juxtaposition of taut beats and laconic and crisp synths that is the album’s calling card. As the almost-ambient atmospherics gently sway above the grounding basslines and beats, that album takes on a lurid and dreamlike quality, and everything around us slows down.

Ancheta has created an album that shows he’s living up to it hard working reputation and if this is the quality of the music in the vault then we are in for a treat when he decides to release more of it. It fits in perfectly with Stones Throw’s glorious back catalogue and shows that Ancheta has lost none of his creative vigour. This is the kind of album that should be sound tracking every BBQ and park hangout this year. Its laidback grooves and blissed out beats are the perfect accompaniment serene catch ups, ad-hoc kick abouts, burgers, crisps, dips and, well, snaxx.

8/10

Words: Nick Roseblade

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