Thundercat Apocalypse

Listening back, touches of the musical and emotional concepts that anchor Stephen "Thundercat" Bruner's masterful new disc can be heard and felt in fragments on the debut record that moved him out of the shadows of session playing into the spotlight two years ago. But what separates Apocalypse from Bruner's debut is the more refined and thoughtful approach the heralded bassist reveals in his song-writing, weaving running themes of bewilderment, measured acceptance and a longing for the one who just won't come into a more cohesive whole this time out. While Bruner's uncanny bass work still forms the core, much of the record's sonic brilliance is found floating in the surrounding compositional elements, like the skittering drums and ricocheting effects of "Special Stage," the fluttery orchestral tones of "Tenfold" and "Tron song," and the murky, underwater mood of "The Life Aquatic." Flying Lotus-assisted future-funk gem "Oh Sheit It's X" is also an obvious standout, but the album's winning touches come from Bruner's soulful vocal melodies. They're a calming element tying each of the record's varied creative efforts together beautifully. (Brainfeeder)