Scott Moncrieff (aka thatmanmonkz) hasn’t released an average record yet. I mean that: from the first time I heard from him a couple of years back, he’s been churning out superb releases, both his own productions and those he A&Rs for his label, Shadeleaf. Apparently he shopped this one around and Delusions of Grandeur has snapped up both the promise of a future LP and maybe the best record he’s done yet.
This one lured me – and after hearing “Make It Now” from across a room and then getting to know it up close and personal, it’s been love ever since. All three tracks stick you like a jabbing right hand; this is, maybe the most perfect little EP to familiarize yourself with thatmanmonkz from every angle.
“In The Trees” with Khalil Anthony manages to keep its soul despite an aggressive temperament. This is just too much: beautiful piano, heartbreaking vocals and fractured brass are backed by a punchy bass that pops you four times in the face before you can get your hands up. Anthony gives a virtuoso performance: what starts as almost an earnest plea becomes ever more passionate, desperate, even a little biting.
thatmanmonkz lets his freak flag unfurl on the B Side. They’re just overwhelming, burning out synapse by overstimulation, from crashing disco hooks fished out of some boogieland junkyard to the psychojazz of “Sad N Blue.”
This is one of those records that might have been overlooked, might have been hoarded by speculators or might have been snapped up and played by DJs in clubs I’m not cool enough to get into. It’s been out for awhile now, but hasn’t gotten nearly enough attention. Not sure why, but there’s not a DJ playing any close analogue to underground House Music that can’t use this. It makes me want to track down some of those timid trendies that feel “keeping up with the times” means “playing a total caricature of everything noble and good about House Music” and hand them this record as form of public service.