Thundercat – “The Golden Age of the Apocalypse”

Oh man, this is the record of the summer as far as I’m concerned (and although most folks are probably gearing up for the fall, here in San Francisco it is officially [Indian] summer!).

Having anticipated its late August release for several months, I “thought” I knew what to expect…

Some background info for you:

Thundercat is the nom de guerre of Steve Bruner, a L.A.-based virtuoso bass player (with perfect pitch to boot).  A veteran session musician, Bruner’s talents have been sought after by everyone from Erykah Badu to the Suicidal Tendencies. He’s played with Snoop Dogg and Bootsy Collins, and most recently he’s fallen in with Flying Lotus and his ever-expanding left-field hip-hop crew Brainfeeder (He played bass on Flying Lotus’ 2010 instellar-opus Cosmogramma).  In short this dude is a monster on the bass guitar.

Still it took me several listens to “get” this record.

Normally, I don’t go in for jazz fusion, but this isn’t your typical jazz-fusion record.  It’s a stunning display of retro-futurism — melding jazz, electro and the leftfield hip-hop sound so en vogue in LA at the moment – an amazingly rich collection of smoothed out summer jams, sprawling as far and wide as the city of Los Angeles.  This is at once club music, cruising-in-the-car music, backyard cook-out music, and headphone music.

Fans of Dam-Funk’s brand of astral boogie would do well to grab this, although “Golden Age” is way further out there than anything released by Mr. Funk as of yet.

The instrumentation is the stuff of next-level: Backed by Flying Lotus who produced the album and 20-year-old composer, pianist and fellow Brainfeeder Austin Peralta, Bruner effortlessly churns out consciousness expanding melodies on an instrument typically relegated to “keeping time.”

I think the fact that this has been lighting up the blogosphere for the past few weeks says it all.  When was the last time a “jazz-fusion” record scored an 8.1 on Pitchfork?

Thundercat – “Daylight”

Thundercat – “Walkin”

Thundercat – “For Love I Come”

Flying Lotus put together a killer mix of non-album Thundercat stuff a few months ago, which you can grab here