This Summer, 62 musicians gathered in New York City to make music, attend workshops, share secrets and perform live. Those 62 comprised the 2013 Red Bull Music Academy class, an impressive array of producers, vocalists and instrumentalists from every corner of the electronic music world. Today, we’re lucky enough to receive (part) of what they came up with this past Summer. Various Assets – Not For Sale features collaborative tracks from Astral Plane favorites Sinjin Hawke, Kid Smpl, DJ Slow, Throwing Snow, Distal, Thundercat (under his birth name), Benjamin Damage and more. A compilation can only go so far to document a Summer’s worth of collaborative work, but Various Assets does an admirable job at giving plebes like myself some insight into the wonderful process that is the annual RBMA gathering. Stream Kid Smpl, SHDBOX, Branko and AnnaLove’s “Forces In The Way” and hit the jump (or head to Bandcamp) to listen/download the entire compilation
After we heard prolific Brainfeeder bass embassador Thundercat’s debut album, The Golden Age of the Apocalypse, it was safe to assume that the creative relationship between Flying Lotus and Thundercat would be one of the most productive and important collaborations of this decade. Yes, Stephen Bruner aka Thundercat has only released one album, but his bass work has been present in Flying Lotus’ music since the mind-blowing and critically acclaimed Cosmogramma, where his free jazz sensibilities created some of the most transcendent moments on the LP. Beyond that, the two have proven to possess crazy experimental boundary-pushing tendencies, a crystal clear collaborative vision, and a bountiful friendship. Because of this, their true promise is in the music they have yet to release, perhaps the music on Thundercat’s sophomore LP, The Apocalypse, which was announced this week, along with the first single, “Heartbreaks + Setbacks”.
Bruner’s music has always been emotional, but in the past it has felt like the emotion was trying to reach you from behind the smoke of indulgent free jazz, or through the frenzy of Bruner’s bass shredding. Here Lotus and Thundercat have tried something different. The emotion touches you. It arrests you for three minutes and twenty-three seconds and then lets you go. The pure emotion succeeds this time with the accessibility of the song, no doubt. It’s still got the snappy rawness of a Thundercat cut, but gone are the jazz fusion chord acrobatics, wonky drum patterns, and space station bleeps. You’re still riding high, but you’re in the clouds, feeling the wind, a little closer to earth. Mono/Poly also has a production credit on “Heartbreaks + Setbacks” and my guess is that he’s lent his ethereal production chops to the atmosphere, the clear, bright drums and that insistent synth line that feels like the a sonic embodiment of the iconic Brainfeeder spark. Thundercat’s vocal and songwriting performance is not without its setbacks, as some of the pop style phrasing sounds forced (as one user so aptly pointed out in the comments, “can’t nobody stop the juice so baby tell me what’s the use?”). Yes, it sounds a bit reminiscent of the radio in the early 2000s, but not distractingly so and perhaps to its benefit. Beyond its emotive qualities and Bruner’s clear technical skill, this is the most commercially viable music the duo has released to date.
The Apocalyse is out on Brainfeeder this July 9th.
Whatsgood blogworld, I hope everyone is having a beautiful weekend and enjoying the spring weather. For me, and probably alot of others reading this, it’s crunch time for finals. This means that I need to find the perfect mix to jam too while getting ready for finals. This mix changes throughout the course of the year and today I revisited one of my favorite mix’s of all time, Brainfeeder’s take over of BBC Radio 1 last year. The live set includes performances from Matthew David, Teebs, Flying Lotus, Austin Peralta (pictured above), TOKiMONSTA, Samiyam, and even Thundercat. I hope just seeing that list gets you thoroughly stoked. To add even more incentive, Austin Peralta (keys), Gene Coye (drums), and Thundercat (bass) do an amazing improve jazz set. These guys then collaborate with Flying Lotus to top off the end of the mix with style. Needless to say, this mix needed to be in our archives and accessible for our readers. You can stream the mix in it’s entirety below.
I would tell an April Fools joke here, but I’m just not that funny. Instead, we got a nice six pack of tunes for what might amount to be the most versatile Sounds From The Astral Plane yet. Don’t have much time for words today, but all these are well worth a listen. That Supreme Cuts joint has been on repeat all week.
Stream/Download: Spank Rock feat. Santigold – “Car Song” (Shabazz Palaces Remix)
Stream: Insightful – “Bagel Mold”
Stream/Download: Sigur Ros – “Ekki Mukk” (D33J Remix)
Download: Supreme Cuts – “Lessons In Darkness (Apology)” (Via XLR8R)
Stream/Download: Cities Aviv – “Normal Immortal”
And by others I mean artists including; Flying Lotus, Bilal, Rebekah Raff, Aloe Blacc, Thundercat and my favorite drummer, Chris Dave. This album was recorded live in Los Angeles on July 23rd and released in August. I’m very jealous of anyone who attended this concert because it was a free with all of these amazing artists collaborating for an entire night. The album only consists of 3 songs from the night, but more tracks (“Tea Leaf Dancers” being one of them) can be found on YouTube. The album can be streamed here off of the bandcamp page. Drips/take notice is basically a 14 minute jam sesh where we see solos from Ferguson, Thundercat and some more great drum work from Chris Dave.