Mndsgn (pronounced: Mind Design) is a relatively new Hip-Hop producer who creates dreamy tracks that speak to the child within us. Recently he played at the Jazz Café in Camden to a dedicated audience who smiled as he sung softly through the microphone. His aim seemed to be to take us back to a time that we all collectively felt… but maybe never actually experienced. The tracks gave off a scent of familiarity. As his lo-fi hip-hop instrumentals pumped slowly through the club, the dancers found themselves moving as if they were underwater. This was because the tracks had the tempo of a slow-jam but without the sexual element. Instead of love, we were more inclined to think about some old childhood memory that we thought we had forgotten.
The familiarity becomes understandable when you realise that much of the tracks use samples that you may have heard in Soul, Funk and R&B. Mndsgn might strip a 70’s funk baseline and then combine it with the slowed-down chords of an 80’s disco track. Because of this, my friend and I found ourselves continually debating about the period of the samples. At one moment you might be reminded of the 80’s cop show, ‘Miami Vice’, at another point you could imagine a young Bootsy Collins’ playing his guitar in the 70’s. Mndsgn’s innovative combinations illustrated the common history between the genres. To go along with these samples, Mndsgn used his own keyboard skills to add colourful melodies to the mix.
After dancing for a while my friend said that she wanted to hear more of Mndsgn’s input. Although she liked the mixes, they were too much like what she had already heard. A few tracks later, almost in answer to her request, we heard a soft voice come over the speakers. It took us a moment to realise that it was Mndsgn himself singing from beneath his conical hat. Although he was slightly shy in his delivery, his voice was likable and sweet. His voice doesn’t blow you away with its depth but warms you with its simplicity. His concepts are what you’d expect from someone called, ‘Mind Design’. He talks about confusion, peace and misunderstandings. For example, in one of his songs he says, ‘you’re dreaming of the day you quit losing your mind, it might be sooner than you think, it’s all up to you’.
Through his performance, Mndsgn created an environment that was so comfortable that it made you feel like you were listening to the music in a lounge. There was something about him that gave off the impression that we knew him somehow. I closed my eyes as he transported us back to a time when things were simpler.
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