For love I come

Before listening to most new Brainfeeder releases I find myself thinking, “alright, time for a mind and genre bending cosmic journey.”  I don’t think that has ever been as appropriate as before I delved into Thundercat’s new LP, The Golden Age of Apocalypse.  Knowing some of Stephen Bruner’s background—he comes from a family of musical virtuosos, has been deemed Flying Lotus’ protégé, and he intermittently plays bass for Erykah Badu and Suicial Tendencies—it was almost requisite to have some preliminary excitement.

The excitement was warranted, and then some.  Soulful and unique, the album blends the electro-tinged production stylings that Brainfeeder has mastered with Jazz arrangements that would have been right at home on a Roy Ayers record.  Electro stabs fit surprisingly well tucked inside soulful chord progressions.  And, oh, Bruner is a fucken animal on the bass.

In a 2008 interview Thundercat said that he thinks “hip-hop can be the new jazz.”  I don’t think this was a pat on the back to the general hip-hop clientele as much as it was an implication that things should be better.  Considering the artistic environment that Bruner has placed himself in, it is unsurprising that he sees the possibility of a more musically diverse path for hip-hop.  I would imagine having FlyLo as a producer is like taking a pure shot of artistic optimism.

More importantly, the quote seems to indicate that Bruner wouldn’t be opposed to being involved with something of the rap persuasion.  These are the kinds of musicians young rappers should be teaming up with.  Guys that can play bass lines like the one on “Boat Cruise” and simultaneously have a penchant for analog synths.

For the time being though The Golden Age of Apocalypse is exactly the groove Thundercat should be on.  Listening to the album on repeat is a wonderfully spacey experience, as the jazz lines become interchangeable with the electronic soundscape.  Steven Ellison’s touches are undoubtedly there but Bruner had a distinct vision from the onset.  As a result, his influences shine through, most noticeably with the soulful rendition of George Dukes “For Love I Come.”

I’ll definitely be with this album for a long time.  As with other records that have brought a fresh face to their genre—Cody ChestunuTT’s “The Headphone Masterpiece”, Shabazz Palace’s “Black Up”, Pavement’s “Slanted and Enchanted”, etc.— it may take time to appreciate the various nuances.  But for now I’m content playing this album a few more times and smoking a bit more pot.  Not much seems better.

Stream: Thundercat – The Golden Age of Apocalypse (via Brainfeeder)

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2 Comments

  1. Insightful and impressive writing as per usual-I might add that I expect nothing less from the enlightened critics who contribute to this magnificent blog.
    2011 has provided many hip-hop joints that reinvigorate jazz: Including the entire J-Rawls album “The Hip-Hop Affect” and perhaps my fav song of the year “Fastlane” by Edo G. Even Kendrick Lamar’s new offering Section 80 has some wonderful jazz riffs especially the last joint.
    No doubt Thundercats stands apart from these rappers but like the Tribe they’ve got the jazz. I also enjoy Com Truise who fits in in the same neo-acid vein but not rly ass jazzy… ❤ this new joint called Datebar http://dailybeatz.com/2011/08/29/com-truise-datebar/

    Looking at the Brainfeeder roster there are many similar sounding artists to flylo, like Ras G, SAMIYAM, Teebs on Mono/poly but its good to Oizo and other electro beasts up there.

    Anyway, ol' Phonix is ramblin again, keep up the good work you sexy beasts.

    Smoke, Fuck, DJ,

    Captain Phonix

    Reply
  1. Loversmademen’s Favorite Albums of 2011 | loversmademen

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