Thunder Thunder Thunder Thundercats HOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! That’s exactly how Thundercats first Solo album The Golden Age of Apocalypse starts off, and there doesn’t seem like a better way to start off a post about it than to follow suit. Golden Age of Apocalypse is a bit of a bait and switch, come for killer bass and the Flying Lotus production, stay for the… free form jazz? Thundercat may be the single most genre confused artist of all time, but at the same time the music makes perfect sense. The album was released via Brainfeeder records, Flying Lotus’s recording studio which has produced a number of fantastic albums. There’s Matthewdavid, Deudalus, Teebs, Martyn, of course Flying Lotus and now Thundercat. So when we think of all those artists, the one thing they have in common is weird electronic music. So when I heard that Thundercat the unbelievable bassist that was featured on Flying Lotus’ excellent Cosmogramma, I figured okay, electronic music with great bass. Well Golden Age of Apocalypse has that absolutely, but there is so much more, mainly jazz and soul.
Let’s start with the soul, Thundercat is a great singer, which is a little like icing on the cake. Now, for someone who plays an instrument and writes a music blog, this is just not fair. By all standards of music no one should be as good a singer as he is and as good a bassist at the same time. Thundercat delivers soul in a way that absolutely no one else in modern music does, especially for someone who plays and sings over top of Flying Lotus. It’s just weird the way all of this comes together. Now the jazz. I don’t think that I have ever heard electronic jazz before, but if there ever was electronic jazz than this is certainly it. Thundercat bee-bops and scats all over the several tracks here and it adds a certain amount of depth to the album which not many other albums have. Sure, Rap and Hip-hop often use jazz samples underneath their music, but very few of them feel like a jazz album, they all feel like Rap or Hip-hop albums, this just feels jazzy. It feels more like something you would hear at a poorly lit burned out warehouse on the edge of town with a lot of weird furniture, than electronic music, which you would hear at a poorly lit burned out warehouse on the edge of town that did not have a lot of weird furniture.
Thundercat’s songs excel too, though they don’t have to. Here he could have not put a single word or lyric in on the album because the music is so good, but he did and it adds a lot. There is something that is just so cool about him, his bass, and the album, the kind of cool that makes you want to don a beret, a black sweater, and the sword of omens.