Label: Self-release Release date: 27/07/10 Official Site It’s easy to think that Sacramento resident (and Bitte Orca engineer) Robby Moncrieff would be happy with his current amount of activity. He’s an incredibly skilled guitarist, playing for Marnie Stern, The Advantage, and his own project What’s Up (which shows off his skill with keys as well), an active force as a recorder, and seems to generally always be working on music in some facet. So his solo stuff as Raleigh Moncrief is a nice break from his 8-bit and math rock pedigree, all beats and focused as much on low end as sparkling leads. After an EP of more sketch based pieces (the quite good Combed Over Chrome), he returns with his debut LP Carpal Tunnels, seemingly intent on making Raleigh Moncrief a new name for instrumental hip-hop while maintaining a sound that is far too unique to be classified. First the bad news: this is an 8 song LP that only runs for 23 minutes. Twenty three minutes you will want to replay. Over and over. If Content Imagination (What’s Up’s only LP so far) gave any indication of Moncreif’s ability to write music that was incredibly catchy in one setting, Carp Tunnels expands on that ability and now focuses on unexpected changes over solid beat work. ‘Cramp’d Whip’ is all shimmering piano chords over thick club rap bass with solid synth leads that deliver more of a melody than a voice could – three of them once. Similarly ‘Ms. Miller’ focuses on excellent sampling that wavers in and out of time yet always syncs with the crisp claps and 909 hats before dropping into a wobbly synth break that is satiating after growing accustomed to the gentle trumpet and funk bass, a nice cool down before the noise-hop of ‘Clip’d Beats,’ a track somewhere between Lucky Dragons and Super Mario Bros. 3 if they met in a blender with an SP-303. Sure there are some weak moments like the far too short to develop ‘Friday’ and ‘Ms. Miller’ can get a little repetitive sometimes, but I so rarely tired of these songs that it’s hard to downplay them. Certainly not when the stellar closer ‘You and Me, Baby’ finds Raleigh in his element. I really will spare the description, so just listen to the damn song. I can only deduct points for this album not being long enough, but I guess when Combed Over Chrome is put before it, you get a “true” full length, but the two discs are not going to work as well next to each other. If anything, this album gives a glimmer of greatness for a unique project in a super saturated genre. And pardon my sycophantism, but I really have obsessively listened to this album without realizing it until this review. Really people, for $8 you could go far worse. Photobucket