Artist Spotlight: Thundercat's Low-End Theories
by Seth Colter Walls | June 30, 2015
Thundercat, aka Stephen Bruner -- aka bass-playing session man for the likes of Erykah Badu, Bilal, Miguel and others -- has an easily recognizable style: He can pick out complex lines with a perfect-time quickness while also maintaining a feather-light sound. Of course Thundercat can boom out his basslines, too, but it's the range of effects in his tool belt that draws to his side electronic artistes such as Flying Lotus (who shared a writing credit with Bruner on Cosmogramma's "MmmHmm").
On his solo records, Thundercat/Bruner has shown hints of a growing facility for songcraft, too. His vocal range can't compare with his instrumental prowess, but on the album Apocalypse, he carries jams like "Heartbreaks + Setbacks" and "Oh Sheit It's X" perfectly well. In the appended playlist, we've collected his best solo sides—including new tunes from his EP The Beyond/Where the Giants Roam—along with his greatest contributions to both volumes of Erykah Badu's New Amerykah series, and added in some more obscure gems. The finale? Oh, that's modern jazz star Vijay Iyer's trio paying tribute to Thundercat's composition with Flying Lotus. Enjoy.