Review: Thundercat ‘Apocalypse’

Release Date 6/5/2013 | Rating: 5/5

Good lord, this album sounds like it could be released at any time in the last 30 years and also at any time in the next 30 years, too.

Imagine if Curtis Mayfield and Bootsy Collins had a baby. Now imagine that the baby was born during a full moon with a midwife on high quality uppers. Now imagine hearing this album and blowing his brains out, knowing that his life is a lie, and that this, this album, this here album by Thundercat, is legitimately what the future sounds like.

This album has a strange brother in the recent Daft Punk album “Random Access Memories” (which I practically came over) – whereas that looked backward at the history of dance music, “Apocalypse” looks steadfastly forward. If you’re familiar with Flying Lotus’s Brainfeeder label this style of music will come as no surprise to you. If you’ve never had the pleasure of listening to the bop-jazz-via-EDM style, you’re in for a real treat.

What Thundercat does here is add a huge amount of soul to what could have very well been a cold record: inspired by the recent death of Austin Peralta, himself a Brainfeeder artist. Peralta was a frequent collaborator with other Brainfeeder artists, and Thundercat manages to turn what could have been an emotional memorial album into a fucking dance party, which is what I think Austin may have wanted.

“Apocalypse” is one of the albums of the year in terms of doing something new and exciting. Between this, the Daft Punk album, and Classixx’s album “Hanging Gardens”, you have possibly the biggest dance-music trifecta since 1996/97’s Chemical Brothers / DJ Shadow / The Prodigy album releases. “Apocalypse” will have you reaching back for it over and over – it works on the headphones as well as the stereo, and there is nothing out there this sonically forward and with this much heart.

I’ll stay away from giving you a “this track sounds like” review: this album was meant to be taken as a whole. I honestly haven’t heard anything this soulful in this genre before; this is a very big album that people will look at in a generations time as a leap forward. This is what soul in the machine sounds like.