Thundercat – Apocalypse (6/4/13)
by Lee Schlenker on June 22, 2013
Posted in: Album Review, Eclectic, Electronic, Jazz, Music, R&B / Soul, Uncategorized
Record Label: Brainfeeder
Release Date: June 4th, 2013
RIYL: Flying Lotus, SBTRKT, D’Angelo, Herbie Hancock
As a huge fan of Flying Lotus and his various side-projects, proteges and alter-egos, I was ecstatic to discover that not only does he own and curate the record label Brainfeeder, but that the other artists on his label are as immensely talented and multifaceted as he is. Aside from launching the gifted young spitters Jeremiah Jae, Azizi Gibson and Teebs into the hip-hop world, Brainfeeder was home to recently deceased jazz piano prodigy Austin Peralta (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KhpRdLEvcrk), whose death in 2012 became the impetus for fellow Brainfeeder pal Thundercat’s sophomore release, Apocalypse. Expanding upon the success of his last drop, The Golden Age of the Apocalypse, Thundercat (Stephen Bruner) has asserted himself as a funkalicious bass virtuoso in Apocalypse, cementing his position as the premier cross-genre bassist in music today.
I like to think of Apocalypse as a synthesis of FlyLo-produced syncopated jazz-hip hop beats, sultry soul singing reminiscent of Bilal and intricate basslines by Thundercat that strike me as modern day interpretations of Bootsy Collins or Jaco Pastorius’ sound. From his freshman album, this project feels a bit more electronic in effect, incorporating approachable dance-y elements like those found in Daft Punk’s Random Access Memories. What steals the show, however, are his incredible bass solos, as he utilizes various effects–such as dub, wah and other Motown-era soundscapes–to capture the interdisciplinary ethos of his music.
A fusion of acid jazz, neo-soul and contemporary electronica, Bruner’s Apocalypse is a musical journey for anybody entranced by instrumental mastery or experimental groove music. With tracks both weighty and playful, traditional and novel, melodious and atonal, Thundercat has affirmed himself as an independent musician no longer confined by Flying Lotus’s shadow, but freed by his own experimentation, soul and creativity. Find Apocalypse on Itunes, Spotify, Grooveshark or your favorite music acquisition site and prepare to be impressed.
Suggested Tracks: Heartbreaks + Setbacks; Oh Sheit It’s X!; Tron Song; A Message for Austin/Praise the Lord/Enter the Void