If, like me, a stupid band name or suspect artwork can put you off listening to an album, you may find yourself neglecting The Golden Age Of Apocalypse, the debut long-player from Stephen Bruner, AKA Thundercat, which – on the basis of its cover and annoyingly kitsch intro sample – could be mistaken for a tribute to the 80s cartoon that inspired Bruner’s artistic alias. Thankfully that’s as far as the connection goes, and this is one record you really don’t want to ignore. After a decade spent as bass player for California thrash-punks Suicidal Tendencies, Bruner decided to explore his funkier side, hooking up in the process with Flying Lotus and guesting on last year’s lauded Cosmogramma, a favour the space cadet beatsmith returned by producing this dazzling set and releasing it on his own Brainfeeder imprint. There’s no doubt that Golden Age is a truly collaborative effort, sharing as it does FlyLo’s fondness for sculpting madcap electronica and up-tempo hip hop rhythms into a kind of far-out future jazz, but Bruner’s virtuosic bass-playing and a host of guest contributors (including Erykah Badu, members of Sa-Ra Creative Partners and older brother Ronald Bruner Jr. on drums) make this a more organic and far warmer affair. Like a thoroughly modern update of the classic 70s fusion album, Golden Age recalls the likes of Roy Ayers, Herbie Hancock and George Duke (whose “For Love I Come” is covered here), whilst tipping its hat to contemporary peers like Squarepusher and Dam Funk; if Stevie Wonder ever decides to make another album, he should give these guys a call.
Listen: “Daylight” http://soundcloud.com/brainfeeder/thundercat-daylight
The Golden Age Of Apocalypse is out August 30th through Brainfeeder