Funk and fun. That's how Steven Bruner (aka Thundercat) sums up his music. Sometimes even his buddies call him "the goofy". "Fou-fou", as we say in French. As proof, the Los Angeles-based bassist has been carrying his Pikachu bag around the world, sharing his love for manga with his fanbase through a kitsch and jubilant jazz-funk for almost a decade. In 2017 he was "Drunk", yet the interstellar troubadour is still not hungover. As shown by his fourth album, "It is what it is", the perfect way to dance in Afrofuturist outfits in another galaxy!
The 35-year-old man, always ready to mess around, recently suffered an immeasurable loss with the death of the rapper Mac Miller on September 7, 2018. He was his best friend. And it is with this deep sorrow that Steven Bruner wrote and recorded the music for his latest album, still on Flying Lotus' label, Brainfeeder. "It is what it is." That's what it is. Could the title of his record be clearer? Beneath the extravagant fluo outfits, the faceted glasses and the multicoloured dreadlocks, a man who is terribly injured hides, but a man who hasn't lost his line of conduct for all that. Always with a smile on his face, our favorite Cat has kept his philosophy of life, optimistic as ever.
Since the fabulous "The Golden Age of Apocalypse" in 2011, Steven Bruner has been making his virtuosity speak for itself on his different projects and his immense popularity proves that there is an audience for this limitless jazz-funk delirium on LSD. A bit wiser - and therefore more accessible - than his previous albums, "It is what it is" doesn't, however, contravene the characteristics that have made his trademark: songs with sometimes surprising themes - when he tells the life story of his cat Tron or when he evokes his durag Dragon Ball that allows him to have the swag - an almost mawkish tones, a high-pitched voice, a thick bass sound, stratospheric improvisations delivered at an incredible speed and catchy grooves. With the added feeling of perpetual relaxation. Despite all the hardships he has been through, Steven Bruner never stops living full time, music allowing him to relativize, to relax.
Even if Bruner doesn't reinvent itself, "It Is What It Is" is an incredibly cool immersive journey. It's intoxicating, but not like being drunk. It's more subtle and internal, like a mushroom journey in "free your mind, man, and enjoy your life" mode. Thundercat is that wise and wild friend who comes with a big loving heart, giving you a big hug to comfort you, debating with himself about existential comments and encouraging open-mindedness. At a time when we're getting tired of a universe limited to a few walls and square meters, Thundercat takes us on a journey into the psychedelic funk of the 70s through a contemporary prism, imbued with the electronica and the typical adventurous spirit of the Brainfeeder label. We need so little to be happy, so little is needed!
Best tracks: "Dragonball Durag", "Black Qualls (feat. Steve Lacy, Steve Arrington & Childish Gambino)", "Fair Chance (feat. Ty Dolla $ign And Lil B)", "Funny Thing", "It Is What It Is", "Interstellar Love", "I Love Louis Cole (feat. Louis Cole)".
Worst track: "How I Feel"