Brainfeeder Strikes Again
From Suicidal Tendencies bassist Stephen Bruner comes his solo debut as Thundercat, The Golden Age of Apocalypse. An aural spectacle of funk, electro, and jazz fusion produced by Flying Lotus, it’s a testament to the progressive sound and overall tone of the Brainfeeder label.
After a sampled homage to the show Thundercats, “Daylight” literally and metaphorically emerges, announced by samples of bells and shimmering synth chords. “Fleer Ultra” evokes a funkier, more complex sound with a staggering beat and fleeting synthesizer lines. The tone of the album smoothly transitions with “Is It Love?,” a track reminiscent of a jazzier, more progressive N.E.R.D. song. The pace slows even more with a cover of George Duke’s “For Love I Come.” The track veers into a completely opposite direction, quickly diving into a fast jazz beat with funk riffs that clearly display Bruner’s skill on the bass.
For “It Really Doesn’t Matter to You” and “Jamboree,” the drums and synth take the steering wheel. This seamlessly transitions into “Boat Cruise,” a track that strongly employs musical textures to paint summer breezy cruise imagery with the steamboat sizzle of downbeat, open hi-hat hits. “Seasons” continues this vibe, coming across as an extension of the preceding track. In “Goldenboy,” Bruner allows the drum and synth voices to lyrically banter in call and response type solos and quickly moving lines. “Walkin’” reverts back to the progressive N.E.R.D. sound while conveying a brisk stroll on a sunny day. After the mechanically percussive textures of “Mystery Machine (The Golden Age of Apocalypse),” the album ends with the melancholy, multi-layered textures of “Return to the Journey.”
The entirety of The Golden Age of Apocalypse flows with a style similar to Flying Lotus’ mixes. Throughout the album, one element from a track bleeds into the next, resulting in smoothly flowing transitions. Overall, Thundercat’s fusion of jazz, electronic, and funk music offers progressive enthusiasts a wide palette of sounds and textures in which their ears can indulge.