When Bruner isn't helping out others in the studio and on the road, he records his own bass-driven, jazz fusion music under the name Thundercat. Bruner's debut Thundercat album, The Golden Age of Apocalypse, is due out August 30. It's an overwhelming mixture of his bass funk, experimental jazz, and electronic-minded rhythms. It easily stands as one of the most unique records to be released this year.
The Golden Age Of Apocalypse features guest spots from Erykah Badu, J*DaVeY, pianist Austin Peralta and Bruner's own brother, renowned drummer Ronald, Jr. The product of Bruner's efforts is an album chock full of his own, unique musical vision. There are hints of '70s funk layered over jazz fusion concepts, in addition to Bruner's bass playing accompanied by decadent synths. Those familiar with the aforementioned Flying Lotus track "Mmmhmm" have an idea of what to expect on Apocalypse. In fact, Bruner reiterates the very same lyric from that song into his own song "Is It Love?"
Apocalypse has several standout tracks, "Daylight" chief among them. The song is unapologetically funky, kicked off by an oddly melodic synth and soon met with soothing vocals. What is most striking about "Daylight," however, is how mellow the song is. It's not the most jazzy song on the album -- "Fleer Ultra," "Is It Love?" and "Boat Cruise" are more suited for those honors -- yet it is the most well-rounded offering.
What's most remarkable about The Golden Age of Apocalypse is how well Bruner maintains the album's tempo throughout its thirteen tracks. While the cover of George Duke's "For Love I Come" slows things down quite a bit, the latter half of the album once again establishes the amazing symmetry that early tracks "Daylight" and "Fleer Ultra" had garnered. The attention to detail -- the striving to make a well-rounded, polished effort -- is what sets Apocalypse apart from other records to date. That, and the fact that nothing else quite sounds like what Bruner is producing -- save for FlyLo, who just so happens to have produced the album.
I feel confident in saying that you won't hear another album this year that will leave you with a lasting impression quite like The Golden Age of Apocalypse.
The Golden Age of Apocalypse is out 8/30 via Brainfeeder. Track list is as follows:
01 HooooooO 02 Daylight 03 Fleer Ultra 04 Is It Love? 05 For Love I Come 06 It Really Doesn't Matter to You 07 Jamboree 08 Boat Cruise 09 Seasons 10 Goldenboy 11 Walkin' 12 Mystery Machine (The Golden Age of Apocalypse) 13 Return to the Journey