THUNDERCAT | El dios del bajo

Cuando se trata de Thundercat, por una vez, y sin que sirva de precedente, hay que creerse lo que dicen de él. Bajista de talento prodigioso y pilar central de la escena beat de Los Ángeles, Stephen Bruner se formó en el mundo del jazz y los estándares clásicos, pero empezó su carrera tocando junto a su hermano en la sección rítmica de las leyendas del trash metal Suicidal Tendencies. Después de años trabajando en su propia música bajo Thundercat, contó con el apoyo y el empuje de su amigo Flying Lotus, para por fin dar a conocer al mundo su propia visión del jazz, marcado por las gruesas líneas de bajo e imaginativos arreglos electrónicos. La espera valió la pena. “The Golden Age of Apocalypse”, publicado en el año 2011, mezclaba los delirios astrales de Sun Ra con el impacto sónico de su bajo y desde entonces Bruner se ha mantenido muy prolífico. Thundercat alcanzó aún mayor renombre en 2015 por sus aportaciones a los titánicos “To Pimp A Butterfly” de Kendrick Lamar, y “The Epic” de Kamasi Washington, demostrando que aún estamos empezando a entender y apreciar el maravilloso poder creativo de su bajo. El nuevo álbum “Drunk (2017)”, ha sido considerado por la prensa como su mejor trabajo hasta la fecha.

ENG: Thundercat has never taken himself too seriously, or seriously at all. The bassist, singer, and producer made a career out of pairing astounding instrumental talent with inebriated dorm-room style. Live, he dons neon socks tucked into open-toed Nike sandals, coyote fur draped over his head, and a giant grin that’s almost always credited to the blunt he hit before walking onstage. In the studio, he could very well rock the same look, but without the image in front of you, his music pours out like the work of a bass virtuoso — in part because he is one — letting soul pour into jazz and R&B fusion material. His skills earned him work as a session musician for Erykah Badu, a metal bassist for Suicidal Tendencies, and a Grammy win for collaborating on a To Pimp a Butterfly track.

 

Despite all those collaborations and being active in the music world since 2002, Drunk is only his third studio album. Thundercat treats it like he does the rest of his own material: with quick fingers on his bass and strong production, but this time, infantile, gamer-style humor pokes through its rests. The album is packed with exemplary melodies that allow Thundercat to show off his dexterous musicianship. On “Tokyo”, he sprints through a chunky, wobbly bass sound. For the entirety of “Uh Uh”, he lets loose, cramming as many notes into a measure as he can while pianist Dennis Hamm darts around him, the two never once losing their breath. Yet Thundercat never overdoes it. Drunk is free of pretension where it very well could choose to be, giving him a leg up once again on fellow contemporary bassists.