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Thundercat’s lightning soul

By Barry Moore |

The Los Angelino making major waves this year…

The great, enigmatic Stephen Bruner, better known by his stage name Thundercat, has been busy the past few years. His name, in its own right, carries musical weight, but he is better known for backing Kendrick Lamar, Flying Lotus, and Kamasi Washington on their excellent 2014 and 2015 releases. The first release to appear under his own moniker since 2013’s Apocalypse is a six song release entitled The Beyond / Where The Giants Roam, which dropped at the beginning of summer on Brainfeeder, Flying Lotus’s excellent label. Indeed, FlyLo co-produced the majority of the tracks here. Kamasi Washington also crops up in support of his friend on album standout Them Changes. But, perhaps the biggest coup on the record is the rare appearance of one Herbie Hancock! The jazz giant adds piano to Lone Wolf and Cub. The collection is a celebratory orgy of groove-ridden soul, and flirts racily with jazz and funk. Always unpredictable, unexpected, and, above all, indomitable, Thundercat sculpts this EP into a short symphony that flies by in just over a quarter of an hour. The listener is privy to an ocean of noise; strange sounds and (almost) melancholy grooves wash up upon the shore. To whet your appetite further, check out the mesmerizing video for Them Changes

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