Raleigh Moncrief – Watered Lawn
Sacramento’s Raleigh Moncrief has been chiefly known, until now, for his production work – particularly on the Dirty Projectors’ 2009 opus Bitte Orca. That record’s astounding sonic complexity, its virtuosic shifts of focus, rhythm and tempo, are also evident on Moncrief’s debut Watered Lawn, but the foundations of these pieces are in hip-hop, rather than rock. There are superficial similarities with early Four Tet or Prefuse 73, but Watered Lawn also reveals, among other influences, a debt to Afrobeat.
In that respect, the record makes more sense considered alongside global-influenced US acts like Gang Gang Dance and Animal Collective. This is particularly evident on I Just Saw, which deploys the hazy, reverb-soaked vocal style of the latter; and Don’t Shoot, with its infectious spiralling guitar samples. Watered Lawn, however, is imbued with a playfulness that places it in refreshing juxtaposition to some of Moncrief’s more arch contemporaries, demonstrating that his talents reach far beyond the mixing-desk.