Label: Self-release Release date: 14/09/10 Link: Official Sitee First off, I’m sorry for reviewing this so late. I fucked up. But fear not, dear readers, for Sacramento beatmeister Raleigh Moncrief hath returned! Now on his third EP in one year, Moncrief appears to be seemingly settled into a new niche with this current offering, Vitamins EP. Not so much a counter to Carpal Tunnels or even a response, Vitamins gleefully treads new ground while covering and improving upon earlier musical sentiments. It’s been a busy year for Raleigh, between these last couple of releases, the constant SoundCloud output, collabs with Sac-town rappers, and engineering work. While the instrumental jam of Carpal Tunnels showed a move from his more abstract early sound, here the focus is on improving upon the previous. Opener ‘Cheese Steak’ is a bold funk groove, full of horns and Clavinet, with power that rivals ‘Ell.’ Given that this EP is a mere 11’52”, the inclusion of ‘Guppies’ and ‘Gerald’s Place’ is interesting since they both draw from the same source material and are actually just different versions of what may be the same song. While the arpeggiated synth and blown out bass both sound all Dirty South thanks to the pitch shift, the ‘Yeah!’ samples that is the leitmotif of the EP really keeps ‘Guppies’ rooted in the face of the rapid changes and stutters that teeter on the edge of jarring. How fitting, then, that ‘Yea, Longin’’ cleans up the sound in favour of a more traditional beat in the Madlib vein, albeit with MPC abuse of a certain vocal sample. Moncrief is content to use his sample bank as both a rhythmic element and as an interruption to stop the loops from ever becoming mundane. If Kanye West showed how doing the same thing can be annoying and just plain bullshit (like in his piece of shit song ‘Runaway’), Robby Moncrieff is revolutionizing the same approach to make it a viable mannerism for movement in place of West’s egregious overuse for the sake of overuse. ‘Raga Intha’ draws from the ‘Clip’d Beats’ idea, instead using modal melodies instead of circus calliope sounds and dropping the bass in favor of direct sample manipulation. The real centerpiece here is ‘Blach,’ a composition that is ideal for winter cooldowns and slow drives down any street. The longest offering at 2’24”, ‘Blach’ really does show off great use of subtle change and addition, drawing from ‘Ms. Miller’ as much as ‘Cramp’d Whip’ in terms of their production and flow. Vitamins is not the place to start with Raleigh Moncrief’s output, instead working as a stepping stone for whatever comes next while serving the purpose as a way to officially release some new material. Not as powerful or direct as Carpal Tunnels as a whole, or as singularly contained as Combed Over Chrome, Vitamins relies on its strength as a short burst of creativity and Neu! 2 style remixes. For doing what it wants to do so well, nothing can be faulted, and even the “worst” moments on this EP are hugely enjoyable. Now if it were ten minutes longer, things would be ideal. Given that this is a freebie on his Bandcamp (see Official Site link), there’s no reason why you shouldn’t have this on your hard drive, iPod, or listening device of choice. Photobucket