Over the years, there have been a long line of incredible electric bass virtuosos, who can walk the tightrope of playing with a propulsive, throbbing funk and with a delicate and passionate sensitivity – obviously you have to think of the legendary Jaco Pastorius whose self-titled album reveals a remarkable talent who died way too young, and in a tragic and senseless fashion. However, the newest addition to that list is Stephen “Thundercat” Bruner, whose bass playing at times can remind you of Parliament Funkadelic-era Bootsy Collins, and at other times of the great Jaco Pastorius.
Produced by Flying Lotus, Bruner’s sophomore effort, Apocalypse was released to critically praise as it meshed elements of spaced out, futuristic funk, soul, electronica, pop, prog rock and jazz fusion in a slinky, seductive fashion.
Bruner recently teamed up with photographer and filmmaker B+ for MySpace’s new music video program, “Music Video Collaborations With Artists We Like” to make an long music video for two songs off Apocalypse – “Evangelion” and “We’ll Die."
The first half of the video, which features the psychedelic and dreamy "Evangelion” has Bruner strolling about a dusty, post-apocalyptic wasteland like some lonely samurai with a sword before settling down to play “We’ll Die” as the Southern California sun slowly sets behind him. Interestingly, “Evangelion” reminds me a little it of Lenny Kravtiz’s “Believe,” thanks in part to it’s spaced out, trippy feel. But by far, it’s the stripped down performance of “We’ll Die” at sunset that really captured me. As beams of lights reflect on the dappled surface of the ocean, you’ll hear Bruner sing lyrics that contemplate the relentlessly cyclical nature of life, as crickets, birds and the ocean gently laps upon the shore. It creates a moment of sublime, awe-inspiring beauty.