Thundercat
Apocalypse


5.0
classic

Review

by Sobhi Youssef EMERITUS
May 28th, 2015 | 16 replies


Release Date: 2013 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Heartbreaks, setbacks, on a special stage - oh sheeit, I can't do it without you. It's simple, we'll die.

Apocalypse brims only the purest emotion, stripped down to its most basic level. Yeah, Stephen Bruener is a categorical master bass virtuoso; his second LP is no doubt rife with feats of impossible fretcrobatics. Perhaps it’s the way Flying Lotus mans the boards, but while Thundercat’s technical acuity is obvious, it’s clearly not the point this time around. On "Special Stage", swirling bass études form a backbone for orchestra-tinted progressions amidst major key tonal, classic soul “doo-wah” harmonies. Thematically, Bruner downplays his lyrical genius by contrasting those caught up in the world’s rat race with the actual point of it all. In the end, “life is just a game / it’s all in your hands“.

But pre-release single “Oh Sheit It’s X” is the best example of this compositional approach; the track is a funk anthem masterclass – driving, danceable, and catchy. Yet searing through the track’s very fiber is Bruener’s best impression of multivariable bass science, nearly too complicated for two excellent players to emulate, but never stealing the spotlight for more than a few seconds at a time, acting primarily as a simple rhythmic device. This type of paradoxical restraint has been historically rare in musicians even twice his age and increasingly so since the golden age of jazz visionaries ended. His vocal contributions are as important as his bass wizardry, Flying Lotus’ elite production, and even the genre-bending drum solo of The Mars Volta’s Thomas Pridgen on “Lotus and the Jondy”. Quite surprisingly (as a solo record), Apocalypse is not the Thundercat show, and is indeed a true sum of it’s parts – this review alone could have been written in dedication to nearly any of the main compositions herein.

Apocalypse is much more than a vessel for technical masturbation - it is a singularly stirring emotional statement dedicated to life, debasing any possible suggested air of complexity. Life has many “Heartbreaks + Setbacks”, is a very “Special Stage”, is difficult “Without You”, is simple when you think with your heart and mind as one (“Evangelion”), and eventually, “We’ll Die”. It’s simple, and Bruener truly gets it within the confines of forty minutes. Yet the most heartfelt vibes explored here are the permutations of the afterlife on Bruener’s dedication to late friend and fellow musician/label-mate/member of the human race, Austin Peralta, who perished on November 21, 2012. Death surely ends our lives, but friendships, moments, the way the leaves glimmer in the sunlight from the faintest touch of wind – memories are the real leftover pieces of our lives: “Thank you for being a friend / That you were to me / I cherish the moments of all our good time / You traveled beyond / Your legacy lives on”.

When I think of Thundercat, I always return to his 2013 Minneapolis performance opening for Flying Lotus, decked out in musketeer boots, with a stage setup and lighting more akin to a 70s funk variety show than an MDMA-laced electronic music gathering. He walked on stage, filled the entire room with love, and completely shattered any possible preconceptions of his craft. Likely more insightful than anything said within this solitary destination of tubes and wires, Flying Lotus himself waxed via Twitter on the making of Apocalypse:

…ill always cherish the making of this thing.. we had so many potential songs but i thought we should trim the fat,only the right songs! all the songs are about loss in some kind of way.. in the end it wasn’t about the money i don’t make much off this *** really.. it was about the work. it was about all the tears.. all the frustrations i was mad that thundercat wasn’t living it up like frank ocean and miguel. i think he deserves the universe. a man with limitless ideas and talent. its kinda scary to witness. i am gonna brush my teeth now.. thanks everyone. have a beautiful apocalypse and spread the word. please please.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
Calc
May 28th 2015


12819 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

didn't you post this on another website 2 years ago?

Digging: The Ongoing Concept - Handmade

idontcareaboutthis
May 28th 2015


468 Comments


http://www.by-volume.com/review/thundercat-apocalypse/

rateyourmusic.com/release/album/thundercat/apocalypse/

lol

kingsoby1
Emeritus
May 28th 2015


4968 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

Ya, wanted here for posterity since that site is shut down from what I can tell. And more ppl need thunder cat in their lives.

kingsoby1
Emeritus
May 28th 2015


4968 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

Not sure what is lol but okay :] happy apocalypse

LordePots
May 28th 2015


15991 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

sobhi lives!



but honestly by your logic this sounds outdated and should be 2/5'd at best

Digging: Ego Ella May - Zero

SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
May 28th 2015


19028 Comments


I always love your reviews even if I never listen to the music you're rec'ing =)

Digging: mewithoutYou - Pale Horses

Relinquished
May 28th 2015


28802 Comments


anticipating the new one

PappyMason
May 28th 2015


2784 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

@SowingSeason, you should really check this one out!



Excellent review.

I listened to this again last week for the first time in ages and it just made so much sense. I must have been tripping before...

Digging: Global Communication - 76:14

Cygnatti
May 28th 2015


24978 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

liked this guy better on other people's albums

IronGiant
May 28th 2015


1294 Comments


liked this guy better on other people's albums [2] I can only take so much bass wizardry and his... characteristic vocals... before it sounds homogeneous beyond recognition.

LordePots
May 28th 2015


15991 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Ugh cyg

ExplosiveOranges
Contributing Reviewer
May 28th 2015


4261 Comments


sobhi lives

kingsoby1
Emeritus
May 30th 2015


4968 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

homogeneous, wow.



hi guys

ParanoidAndroid96
June 19th 2015


602 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

fuego



https://soundcloud.com/brainfeeder/thundercat-them-changes

Relinquished
June 19th 2015


28802 Comments


it really is

WatchItExplode
June 19th 2015


3520 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Love this...really need to revisit, it's been awhile.



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