Today marks the release of a surprise album by none other than bass wizard Stephen Bruner, professionally known as Thundercat. The mini-LP, which was announced only a few days ago is entitled The Beyond / Where the Giants Roam and was released on Flying Lotus‘ label Brainfeeder. FlyLo actually co-produced the lead track “Them Changes,” which is a funky and jazz-infused jaunt about the crimson aftermath of a love gone wrong. The number also features notable jazz musician Kamasi Washington on sax. We can’t say enough good things about this one, so listen below and then head over to iTunes to purchase / hear the album in full.
Flying Lotus’ suite of singles off the upcoming You’re Dead! LP — slated for release October 7 — runs the gamut of diametrically opposed servings we’ve come to expect from cutup savant Steve Ellison. Clocking in at 2:40 and 3:54, “Coronus, The Terminator” and “Never Catch Me,” respectively, are two of the longer cuts on an album comprised of uncharacteristically short tracks. Thankfully, our expectations of frenetic jazz samples and live recordings mashed together with the warmth of Flylo’s signature production are met on Lotus’ latest release, harkening back more to the psychedelia of Cosmogramma than the laconic Until the Quiet Comes.
On “Never Catch Me,” Kendrick’s machine-gun verses nicely ride the wave of Pastorius-like basslines, floating along smoothly with an accompanying piano line and slick drum programming that keeps pace with the track’s overall flow. Lotus has a keen ear for bringing experimental jazz to the fore in what is otherwise a highly contemporary package, and this track does not stray from the format.
As for “Coronus, The Terminator” arguably one of the album’s finest tracks — Lotus significantly dials up the thickness and dials down the BPM. From the opening licks of shimmering triangles and claves (it sounds like those instruments but who knows), this track is lush. Soulful melodies in the vein of an old spiritual drip viscously throughout, fleshed out by a warm lo-fi hiss. For an album conceived around meditations on death, “Coronus” drives home an aspect of weighty, peaceful release in that regard.
If you’re so inclined to see FlyLo live (with support from Thundercat), his upcoming tour should bring him to a city near you.
• 09 Orlando, FL, The Beacham
• 10 Miami, FL, iii Points
• 11 Atlanta, GA, The Tabernacle
• 12 Chapel Hill, NC, Cat’s Cradle
• 13 Washington, DC, Lincoln Theater
• 14 Philadelphia, PA, Tower Theater
• 15 New York, NY, Terminal 5
• 17 Boston, MA, Paradise
• 18 Burlington, VT, Higher Ground
• 20 Montreal, QC, SAT
• 21 Toronto, ON, The Danforth Music Hall
• 23 Detroit, MI, Royal Oak Music Theater
• 24 Chicago, IL, Concord Music Hall
• 25 Minneapolis, MN, First Avenue
• 07 London, The Roundhouse
• 09 Austin, TX, Fun Fun Fun Fest
• 11 Phoenix, AZ, Marquee Theater
• 12 Santa Ana, CA, The Observatory
• 13 San Diego, CA, North Park Theatre
• 14 Los Angeles, CA, Wiltern
• 15 Santa Cruz, CA, Catalyst
• 17 Portland, OR, Roseland
• 18 Seattle, WA, Neptune
• 19 Vancouver, BC, Commodore Ballroom
• 21 Salt Lake City, UT, The Complex
• 22 Denver, CO, Fillmore Auditorium
I have an affinity for any man who knows how to don feathers — and in this case that man is Stephen Bruner, the bassist/vocalist known as Thundercat. Co-written and co-produced by Flying Lotus, “Heartbreaks + Setbacks” is the first single off his new album Apocalypse, which comes out July 9th. The composition combines soulful lyrics with a sick bassline that “calls to mind the work of jazz greats like Charles Mingus and Jaco Pastorious, deftly weaving an intricate bass solo into a sonically dense synth-pop arrangement,” according to LiveForTheFunk. Check it out below.