Tag Archives: Electronica


Album Review: MNDSGN – Body Wash

a3786040268_10In his newest release Body Wash, Mndsgn (née Ringgo Ancheta) brings us on an inter-dimensional electro-funk adventure through space and time, combining psychedelia and R&B in masterful and innovative ways. In his words, Body Wash is “a soul record that plays with nostalgic elements in a very dynamic & positive way. Think about it as a box of crayons for you to draw emotions with.”

In conjunction with this description, the album is loosely based on an illusory story that goes something like this: a homeless man meets an enigmatic woman who offers to take him in, and then has him bathe with a strange body wash that surrounds him as he soaks. Eventually, he is transported to an alternate dimension. The narrative is a subtle one; though looser themes of self-realization and human connection are easily identifiable from the tracks, it is only through the track titles (“Enter Her Abode,” “Prelude 2 Purification,” and “Lather” to name a few) along with album title that hint at the underlying story. 

So, we’ve established that Mndsgn is not your typical R&B producer. It may have something to do with his childhood history and his past collaborations: he was raised on a commune in rural New Jersey by Filipino immigrants, and in the early 2000’s befriended and then collaborated with Kendrick Lamar producer Knxwledge to form the Klipm0de crew. He moved to L.A to pursue his beat passion and was featured in various albums (notably, Blasphemous Jazz’s Bitches Brew) before releasing his debut album, Yawn Zen.

Body Wash provides a glimpse at Mndsgn’s growth and exploration as an artist since Yawn Zen, which was more of a sprawling, wandering experiment of an album. His sophomore release is tighter, more produced, and more focused; the frequent inclusion of his own vocals is a welcome addition as well. Ancheta’s voice serves as a quiet, unobtrusive addition to fluorescent and layered instrumentals, floating in and out of music as if from a dream. At times, it adds air of introspection; at others, it serves as an echo for the music, reflecting and deepening the message without driving it. 

There is a clear directional quality to Body Wave, marked physically with a beginning (“Overture”) and an ending (“Guess It’s All Over”). The album is awash in vintage 80’s and 90’s R&B themes, with fluctuating tones overlaid to set the mood of the track.  Some tracks have more of a jazz influence (“Release Ya Mind (Twentyfourseven)”), while others are straight funk (“Vague//Recalibrate”). All throughout Body Wash is the riff of psychedelic influences and modern synth; Mndsgn samples from retro sounds, but does not entirely channel the past, choosing instead to use it as a platform onto which he can build his soundscape.

Nota bene: It has been recommended (and I would echo this sentiment) to listen to the album all the way through. The tracks build on one another to establish a common thread, and while the listener may have to hone in on a few songs to realize their potential, it is best to let Body Wash soak in slowly over time.

Album released: September 16, 2016

review by Juliana Van Amsterdam



Album Review: The Serious EP – Bibio

WRP9385EP_1024x1024On his earlier 2016 release A Mineral Love, low-fi electronica artist Bibio (née Stephen Wilkinson) utilized Olivier St. Louis’s angelic croon on the playfully keen track “Why So Serious?.” The seed of a beautiful R&B psychedelia union having been planted, it came to many as no surprise when the duo reunited for a blossoming EP, assumedly titled after the song that started this partnership. While Bibio usually explores the electronic psychedelia realm with great success, he has expanded his territory for The Serious EP to add in bouncy ’80s synth and R&B effects that subtly weave in between shuffling beats and the aqueous electric guitar featured in many of his tracks. The combination provides a bright foil to St. Louis’s soft falsetto, sliding in and out of the layered instrumentals.

The pair had a mutual respect for each other before they started the collaboration, working almost exclusively on tracks over email and communicating through WhatsApp. Most of the instrumentals, provided by Wilkinson, were outtakes and leftover tracks from A Mineral Love, modified in part to mesh more effectively with St. Louis’s lyrics (all lyrics on The Serious EP were written by St. Louis, though Bibio is a songwriter as well). Interestingly, the vocals on the EP’s final track were written for an alternate version of “A Mineral Love.” While the original “A Mineral Love” provided the title track to A Mineral Love, the alternate version became “Night Falls.” The similarities in the instrumentals of the two tracks, while subtle, shine through upon a second listen.

The opening track is the familiar “Why So Serious?,” which was included in A Mineral Love; it continues to be a great reminder of how two solo artists can make excellent collaborators. Growling synth and a staccato underlying beat make for an undeniably groovy sensation, strengthened still by St. Louis’s playful lyrics and sexy R&B croon. “Make Up” is a more subdued track, with St. Louis singing barely above a whispered falsetto; Bibio’s own instrumental influences are featured more heavily here, with rolling synthetic beats and methodical guitar chords. “Stress Me Out” begins with a staccato beat and more aggressive electric guitar; the music is as blunt and forward as Bibio seems capable of, and is the farthest he strays in this EP from his normal areas of expertise. St. Louis demonstrates his excellent vocal abilities on this track, catapulting from a nasal whine to a simmering falsetto, descending the scale again with ease. “Night Falls” is a sultry track replete with synthetic shimmer effects (oh, to revisit that era again) and low, soft vocals mixed with sweet falsetto. The bass line shines in this song, enhancing the retro themes and grounding the track.

The Serious EP is, in all reality, anything but what it professes to be. Bibio has made a rather successful career off the utilization of retro sounds and rhythms, and he does not stray from the path for this EP. Instead, he and St. Louis capture the quintessential R&B and keep it pleasant and light, singing about love in broad strokes to smooth, jaunty tunes. While many R&B artists (looking at you, Frank Turner and Blood Orange) have repeatedly revolutionized the genre and helped buoy its relevance in the changing political and social climate, Bibio and Olivier St. Louis have released a nostalgic, good-natured EP that harkens back to simpler themes. Bibio is not a bona-fide R&B artist by trade, so while he utilizes many of those thematic elements in The Serious EP, he also continues to incorporate his own musical influences. Consider it R&B Lite: providing a glossy, breezy collection of tracks that float just above the current R&B climate.

Album released: September 2, 2016

review by Juliana Van Amsterdam


If You Got Ears with KL-C :: August 12th 2015


CKUT appears to be a magnet for experimental electronica, and this month on If You Got Ears is no exception. We’re lucky enough to have the talented Kara-Lis Coverdale in the studios for the entirety of August, delivering some fantastic and innovative sounds. You can read more about her style on our website, and hear some of her music on her bandcamp (it’s awesome, by the way).

Tune in today from 12-2pm to get those good soundwaves~~


If You Got Ears with Kara-Lis Coverdale

Today we had Kara-Lis Coverdale in for If You Got Ears; right here at CKUT! Coverdale is a composer, producer and musician, well known for her unique mutli-layered electronic compositions. Coverdale’s music is both jarring and soothing; corrupt mechanical master pieces drawing distinct juxtapositions between the known and the unknown, the human and the machine. Coverdale plans to use her If You Got Ears residency to demonstrate the innovative and boundary pushing aspects of her unique approach to electronic composition.

Tune in next Tuesday from 12-2pm, to catch more of her sounds~~