Tag Archives: Thundercat

How Brainfeeder Leads The Charge For Esoteric Funk, Hip-Hop, Pop, & Jazz

Brainfeeder

“Brainfeeder,” the opening track on Flying Lotus’s 2008 album, Los Angeles, pulses with a sense of anticipation. Its flutters of static and sci-fi synths seem to telegraph the idea that something new—something weird, mutant, and markedly different from the hip-hop aesthetic of Lotus’s debut, 1983—awaits within. As the album unfolds, Lotus makes good on that promise, delivering a record so groundbreaking that it warped the fabric of electronic music in lasting ways, pushing the subset of instrumental hip-hop known as the beat scene to inventive new vistas.

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Brandon Coleman’s Debut Album is a Bright Mix of L.A. Jazz, Funk, & Soul

Brandon Coleman

Keyboardist Brandon Coleman remembers the time he first met Quincy Jones. “You won’t be able to create a new piece of music,” he remembered the icon telling him. “His sentiment was that we took from the old and created our own new and that’s probably the only way you can do it.” While Coleman understood the essence of what Jones meant, he didn’t completely agree. “I thought it was bullshit, to tell you the truth,” Coleman says now. “I am no cook, and I don’t proclaim to be a good chef, but I can cook. I know that when combining certain ingredients, you can create something really special—and that’s jazz.”

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Brainfeeder Has Come to Bandcamp

Kamasi

In 2008, experimental producer Flying Lotus launched his Brainfeeder label as a means to release sonically challenging music coming from the Los Angeles beat scene. This was two years after Lotus released his impressive debut album, 1983, which introduced the world to his own blend of jazz-inspired hip-hop and electronica. “As a kid I always thought about starting a label,” Lotus told The Fader in 2015. “I was always interested in the business side and I thought it could be a plan B if things didn’t work out.”

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Don’t Call Moses Sumney an R&B Singer

Moses Sumney

Photo by Ibra Ake.

Moses Sumney wants to be real. His search for truth is a hallmark of his music, and he’s spent plenty of time exploring the shadows of his mind, getting comfortable with his own darkness.

“All the things you’re not really supposed to think about, like, ‘Oh, I’m going to die alone’—I think about that all the time,” Sumney says softly, strumming his guitar as we speak over Skype. “I’m just the kind of person that will go there. I’m obsessed with personal honesty.”

Sumney recently spent some time living in an apartment in London. It was either there or Asheville, North Carolina—a place where the woods, like the mountains in which they’re nestled, seem to go on forever. Asheville is Sumney’s favorite city in America, and it’s the place where he started work on his debut full-length, Aromanticism, a concept album that investigates an uncomfortable truth: What does it mean to feel loveless in a society that considers romantic love a primary reason for existence? In the rural stillness of the Appalachians, Sumney was able to disconnect from the world and connect with himself, in search of the answer.

“To truly feel solitude, I had to be someplace where there was no phone service, where I couldn’t actually go on my phone or the internet—because it’s not real if you can still talk to people, or if you can still check your notifications,” he says. “The first two days, I was antsy. Then it became liberating, because it’s like, ‘Wow, I can do whatever I want. I don’t have to answer to anyone. I don’t have to talk to anyone.’ I was thinking so much about things I never think about. My mind was activated, and I was going to places mentally that I don’t ever go, because I get distracted before I get there.”

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Terrace Martin’s Los Angeles: Why His Versatile Jazz Sound Is Perfect for California

Terrace Martin

A hijacked white big rig filled with hazardous material slowly hulks down the 10 East with California Highway Patrol in hot pursuit. Just off Crenshaw sits Terrace Martin, his frequent collaborator Adam Turchin, and myself. We’re passing a joint inside the living room of his brother’s home studio, instinctively transfixed by that most innately Southern California spectacle: the televised car chase. Just another sunny day in L.A.

“Everybody has recorded over here. Kendrick. Wiz Khalifa. Everybody. This is our little bat cave… our honeycomb hideout and personal quarters,” Martin breaks the silence, one eye on the screen, waving his arm about the house.

The interior is filled with scattered guitar cases and trophies, plaques, bikes, and a Sherman Clay piano. A small recording nook contains keyboards and a computer. A Bernie Sanders sign remains on the front lawn.

“I’ve been doing music here since I was young,” he continues. “I stayed over here recording… I lived here.”

If Joan Didion accurately claimed that the city burning is Los Angeles’ deepest image of itself, the car chase represents its most disturbing nightmare. A lingering threat seared into the metropolitan subconscious from OJ in the White Bronco to the suicides that have happened multiple times on live television. The insurrections of 1965 and 1992 were both sparked by car chases that led to savage police brutality. In the world’s entertainment capital, the television networks have long realized this is the cheapest reality show. So when a chase breaks out, every channel instinctively locks in, and by some cultural quirk, we’re compelled to watch and silently hope that the driver somehow escapes.

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