Thundercat | The Golden Age of Apocalypse

Brainfeeder (2011)
By MICHAEL C. WALSH  |  August 31, 2011
4.0 4.0 Stars

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If there was one knock against Flying Lotus's Cosmogramma LP, it was that it lacked a singular vision — consumed in traversing genres, mastermind Steven Ellison failed to craft any kind of narrative arc. Career session bassist Stephen Bruner, d/b/a Thundercat, lent his vocals to standout "MmmHmm" off that album and his instrumentation to a dozen or so other tracks. In an evident bout of reciprocity, Ellison has offered up his polished production hand to Golden Age. And oddly enough, despite the same roster of contributors, the end results are flipped — there's cohesion here, but the disc's sources of inspiration are hardly original. "For Love I Come," a transcendent take on George Duke's 1975 fusion burner, serves as the album's centerpiece and an entry point for fans of Flying Lotus to tap into the influences he has been preaching for years — Herbie Hancock and Roy Ayers serve as the other major mid-'70s jazz-funk reference points. A lot has been made recently of the new Los Angeles "beat scene," paved by the Brainfeeder collective and sourced through the late, ever-omniscient J Dilla and the ubiquity of dubstep. Golden Age, though part of the same family, sounds nothing like that. If anything, it's like someone beating on a cloud. Almost dreamlike in his flow, Thundercat totes us along by way of his agile bass-neck work, sly Rhodes riffs, and vocals that sound filtered through daisies and sunshine. The whole thing drifts, but never meanders off this hypnagogic course. And the curt, 37-minute runtime means the voyage is over before you realize that it really went anywhere. That's fine — the brevity only invites you to take the trip ad infinitum, at least until the less-than-golden apocalypse arrives.
  Topics: CD Reviews , Music, CD reviews, Steven Ellison,  More more >
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