Beyond his ongoing stint in classic thrashcore band Suicidal Tendencies and considerable work with avant-soul wizard Erykah Badu, bassist Stephen Bruner (aka Thundercat) has long been floating around the Los Angeles hip-hop, soul, and jazz communities, building a reputation as an impressive live and session player. Now, as a newly christened protégé of L.A.’s indelible Steven Ellison (aka Flying Lotus), Bruner is set to release his debut LP on Ellison’s Brainfeeder imprint sometime this fall.
If you’re familiar with Bruner’s contributions to what was — in my estimation, at least — 2010’s greatest record, FlyLo’s prog-jazz opus Cosmogramma, you should already be excited to hear this news. Take a listen to the first taste from Thundercat’s The Golden Age of Apocalypse, however, and those expectations might just grow to celestial proportions. The spacey and soulful “For Love I Come” — which is actually a George Duke cover — unfolds with patient care, Bruner’s stunning falsetto floats gracefully across a transcendental soundscape of prominent, meandering bass and flourishing keys, finally opening up into a driving, brief barrage of future-jazz. Flying Lotus gets a producer credit and his hand here is strong; this feels very much like an extension of the ideas found in his dense masterwork from last year.