THUNDERCAT

RnB • United States
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As far as musicians go, Stephen Bruner isn’t your average cat. His father drummed with the Temptations, he was once in a boy band called No Curfew, he plays bass with Suicidal Tendencies and has been in the studio with He’s just, well, Thundercat.

Only a guy whose nickname invokes cartoon feline warriors could put out an album like his debut, The Golden Age of Apocalypse. The record, full of spaced-out ’70s harmonies, jazzy drums and funky bass, is one of those rare albums that could in theory be worse than the sum of its parts, yet comes together like some kind of musical Voltron.

Apocalypse is also exactly the kind of record you’d expect from Brainfeeder, the label of Thom Yorke’s DJ buddy Flying Lotus. Which is to say it’s the kind of sound that isn’t afraid to take inspiration from just about anywhere and run with it.

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THUNDERCAT albums / top albums

THUNDERCAT The Golden Age of Apocalypse album cover 3.27 | 4 ratings
The Golden Age of Apocalypse
RnB 2011
THUNDERCAT Apocalypse album cover 4.00 | 1 ratings
Apocalypse
RnB 2013
THUNDERCAT The Beyond / Where The Giants Roam album cover 4.00 | 1 ratings
The Beyond / Where The Giants Roam
RnB 2015
THUNDERCAT Drunk album cover 3.50 | 1 ratings
Drunk
RnB 2017
THUNDERCAT It Is What It Is Cream album cover 4.00 | 1 ratings
It Is What It Is Cream
RnB 2020

THUNDERCAT EPs & splits

THUNDERCAT Final Fight album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Final Fight
RnB 2018
THUNDERCAT Black Qualls (feat. Steve Lacy & Steve Arrington) [Single Version] album cover 4.00 | 1 ratings
Black Qualls (feat. Steve Lacy & Steve Arrington) [Single Version]
RnB 2020

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THUNDERCAT Reviews

THUNDERCAT The Golden Age of Apocalypse

Album · 2011 · RnB
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Abraxas
New stuff! Ok music fans, I've got a confession to make. Some time ago, I used to think that the 21st Century had nothing new to offer artistically, where mainstream music floods the air waves, which is all just music companies products (a.k.a. crap).

But I was wrong, I veered towards some electronica from this new millenium, as well as some indie music, like DJ Shadow (also from the 90s) and Flying Lotus, and damn, these guys are bloody creative! Yes, they sample past glories, from the 90s all backwards, but they really create original and interesting music, for anyone willing to accept that electronics have become a central part of the 21st century.

What we've got here, fresh from the oven (2011!), is The Golden Age of Apocalypse by Thundercat, a very talented bassist who had previously worked with hardcore band, Suicidal Tendencies, and most recently with, the already mentioned experimental DJ/producer, Flying Lotus, who happens to be producing this work!

What Thundercat has to offer us is overall a very chilling album, with dreamy compositions fullfilled with synths and repetitive drum patterns, plus the ocassional sweet and echoey vocals and some really fine bass playing, reminding us of past fusion bass giants.

But don't be fooled, this is neither repleted with electronics or samples nor a totally soft, boring affair. The Golden Age of Apocalypse starts off sampling George Duke's 'For Love (I Come Your Friend)', already showcasing good musical references. And then there are tracks like 'Fleer Ultra' and 'Jamboree' that shows an interesting mix of jazz fusion and electronica.

However, for me the best moment of the album are heard in both, 'Is it Love?' and 'For Love I Come', wisely put on one after the other, having a fabulous flow. The former pulls off the dreamy aspect of this album at its best, with a quirky vocal melody, and majestic jazzy bass playing. The latter is a cover rendition of George Duke's tune, which had previously been sampled at the beginning of the album. Thundercat does a marvellous job, bringing his own ideas into it at full shape, beautiful vocals and spacey atmosphere, which later turns into a jazz fusion instrumental led by bass.

Ok, it wasn't my intention to start writing this review as if this album was "the" 21st century album to purchase, my intention was to state that there's actually very good stuff going on these days, even though it's not out there in front of the music shops, it's buried in the vast world of the internet.

What Thundercat gave us was a refreshing taste of an easy-listening, yet with some noteworthy arrangements, hybrid of fusion, electronics and bits of R&B and funk, surely denoting the bassist's musical taste (just listen to 'Walkin' it's like the late 70s al over again!).

Fine stuff, Thundercat might outdo himself next time, if he tries to experiment a bit more, get into wilder territory, within the jazz and electronic context. Yet, as his debut album, he did the right thing. This is recommended!

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