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Thundercat – The Golden Age of Apocalypse review

The Golden Age of Apocalypse presents funk at it’s finest, featuring the talents of bass player Stephen Brunner. Opening with a 20-second Hooooooo which sounds like it’s an introduction for a sports competition in the 1970’s, the album instantly transports the listener back in time.

The first few tracks, Daylight and Fleer Ultra, emphasize the instrumental happenings and have little melodic content. The fourth track, Is It Love, is more developed lyrically, but is most notable for the unbelievably energetic bass solo at the end. The solo is so fast that the bass doesn’t even sound like a stringed instrument, and Brunner plays such rapid fire notes with the ease of a pianist simply moving his hands over the keys. The bass has a light sound and takes on the dexterity of a solo instrument in this track.
Lyrics serve as a minor addition to the songs. When present they are short, basic phrases, often repeated over simple melodies. The listener’s focus is clearly supposed to be on the instrumental layers rather than on the words. Seasons, the ninth track, features variations on the lyrics “seasons blow away but the love still hurts the same.” Again the emphasis is on the music itself rather than the lyrics, but it would have been nice to hear some variation and expansion on the lyrics.

The twelfth track, Mystery Machine, may be the most interesting of them all, as it features a slow bass line over effects reminiscent of a clock tower. The middle portion of the piece is devoted to twelve “chimes” of the clock, but nothing else. It is only after the twelfth chime that the instruments briefly return before ending the piece.

The thirteen tracks of The Golden Age of Apocalypse prove that funk is alive and well. Simple melodies are turned around, elaborated, varied, and carried off in different directions. Always consisting of multiple layers, this music can be listened to repeatedly and there will always be something to new find.

By Paige Cerulli

Paige graduated from Westfield State College in 2010 with degrees in Music Performance and English. She is a freelance writer, flute teacher, and equine massage therapist living in Western Massachusetts. Paige hopes to attend graduate school in the future for music performance.

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