Thundercat dons some samurai armor in this exquisitely weird clip for the instant classic funk tune Them Changes.
This song is on the brief but brilliant The Beyond / Where The Giants Roam, a mini-album that manages to nearly render the man’s prior music obsolete. In a mere 16 minutes he manages to fuse his latent Isley Brothers and Parliament influences into the sharpest iteration of his unique space funk sound yet. The above song is the most pure pop moment of Thundercat’s career but the remainder of the set veers into more progressive, fluidly jazzy territory.
You can pick up the album Since I like making things convenient, I’ve got the full mini-album streaming below, courtesy of Spotify.
You need to hear this fantastic live band cover of Flying Lotus‘ brilliant collaboration with Kendrick Lamar, the incredible Never Catch Me.
The band is absolutely on point; every player nails his or her part, from the pair of alto saxophonists to the trio of backup singers. Special mention should go to the drummer and keyboardist for really adding that swing. While the rapper is no Kendrick (and no one else is), he pours his heart into the rapid-fire delivery of the song, nailing the cadence and approaching the breathless energy of the original.
Thanks to a tweet earlier today, the whole world gets to enjoy this sublime take on an instant classic song from last year’s incredible You’re Dead. I feel like I haven’t heard a cover version this good in years. These guys show a ton of potential, and I’ll be following their moves in the future.
Watch this right now. Just do it. You don’t need to thank me.
If you want to see an artist at the peak of his powers absolutely nailing the zeitgeist, click play.
Kendrick Lamar dropped To Pimp A Butterfly just a couple months ago, and it’s already one of my favorite albums of all time.
The brazen mixture of politically, socially, and psychologically aware lyrics with an incredibly nuanced and evolved delivery; the dark and deeply funky production, shot through with an entire jazz band’s worth of all-star live players; the live-wire theatricality of the entire endeavor… all of these parts coalesce as Lamar’s ambition and talent meet in in the stratosphere.
It’s both incredibly audacious and earnest to a fault. The album feels embarrassingly personal at times, the rapper spilling his demons in a drunken crying jag. At the same time, everything’s wrapped in a sense of universal struggle, the intrinsic knowledge that we’re all in this together. There’s no wonder that it’s proven as divisive as it is beloved.
It pays to heed recommendations. Today I clicked on an artist that my last.fm decided I should hear. Afrikan Sciences turned out to be a grand adventure, filling my Saturday afternoon with some kind of space-age techno funk. I fell in love.
I’ll get this out of the way: I love this album, Circuitous, already. It combines so many favorite elements in a fresh way: weird jazz, alien techno, Afrofuturism, synthesizers, sci-fi atmospherics, and a radical approach to percussion and rhythm. Most of all, I’m reminded of a purely instrumental cousin of visionary hip-hop duo Shabazz Palaces, one of my favorite projects on earth – and creators of the best album of 2014.
The titular single is easily one of the most approachable tracks on the lengthy album, but perfectly showcases the quicksand-shifting drum sampling and humming analog synthesizer patches. It’s only a hint of how far deep the material goes. Try for yourself; click play below:
It’s hard to describe to a newcomer exactly what Arther Russell does that’s so ineffably unique. He’s a cellist, composer, and otherworldly disco producer who crafted some of the strangest and most deeply affecting music the world has ever known. His singing is deeply felt, vulnerable, and nothing like any classic vocalist.
Arthur Russell was unforgivably ignored in his lifetime, but I am so thankful that the massive body of work he kept to himself has been thoughtfully collected and released in the years since. He may have died before I was 10 years old, but he’s now one of my favorite musicians ever.
The man’s brief career began in the 70s collegiate avant-garde scene, collaborating with Steve Reich, Philip Glass, Rhys Chatham, and most notably, Allen Ginsberg, accompanying the beat poet’s live work on cello. He moved into the gritty New York disco scene and crafted some of the most alien dance singles of the era before finally crafting his own masterpiece. World Of Echo, a solo journey of vocals, cello, soft percussion and electronic effects, is the only full album released during his lifetime, as Russell died of AIDS in 1992, nearly broke.
I just heard the sad news that pioneering jazz hero Ornette Coleman has died of cardiac arrest at age 85. The man left an astonishing legacy of progressive and experimental music that has influenced forward looking artists of all stripes for decades.
More important to me, he’s crafted some of the most innovative and profoundly affecting jazz albums I’ve ever heard. I’ve shared a few key moments from his epic discography below.
With an alien flow, unnerving production, and stream-of-consciousness lyrics that ping pong from Looney Tunes to Fourier, this song owes as much to out-there jazz and experimental music as it does to Kendrick Lamar‘s more traditional hip-hop tunes.