Label: Ninja Tune
Prepare for a journey into space with the man responsible for bringing fusion jazz, ferociously funky grooves and distinctive hip hop beats- Stephen Bruner aka Thundercat has returned with 23-track fourth album Drunk. Having grown up around bands and musicians such as The Temptations, Diana Ross and Gary Bartz (Bruner’s father Ronald Bruner, Sr., renowned jazz drummer, featured on many albums), it’s no surprise that this album is firmly rooted in funk, soul and jazz.
Bruner has dabbled in multiple genres over the years, most notably with L.A. crossover thrash band Suicidal Tendencies and producing albums with the likes of the master of experimental electronic music Flying Lotus and Kendrick Lamar. His production work on Lamar’s To Pimp a Butterfly reinvented fusion jazz for the listeners of today, and it’s clear that the singer/bass player is on a path paved with solid influences, with tracks like ‘Them Changes’ having a dreamlike groove so gratifying Herbie Hancock and Miles Davis would be proud.
‘Uh Uh’ is a straight up funk track with a slap bass line that will hypnotise you into a frenzy of flailing limbs, whereas ‘Jethro’ and ‘Walk on By’ (feat. Kendrick Lamar) bring together a range of new age-y hip hop beats and profound unreality. This isn’t an album- it’s a trip to a new world.
Words by Matt Smith