Over the past decade, Thundercat has played a major role in the revival of jazzy groove, a genre that has been relegated to talk-show background and mass-market shelves for ages. Until now, his collaborations have always seemed more conclusive than his solo projects, most of them inclined towards the revival of the jazz-fusion of the ’70s, very close to George Duke post-Frank Zappa, Stanley Clarke post-Chick Corea, or Herbie Hancock at the helm of the Headhunters. What about Thundercat’s fourth album? The electronic alluviums are important in his latest compositions, but things really stay in Afro-jazz-funk terrirtory. The electro dimension remains secondary, the R&B and jazz harmonies clearly dominate their techy ornaments, as they do the hip hop inserts. Most of the collaborations are relevant: Ty Dolla $ign, Louis Cole, Donald Glover (Childish Gambino), Steve Arrington, Zach Fox, Lil B. Add to this framework elegant Afro chamber-music string, reed and brass complements. The right dose of virtuosity on the electric bass, beautiful countertenor vocal work in a soul-jazz manner, bang-on balance between all the components – Thundercat’s at the top of his art this time. Groovy, consonant, harmonious, melodious.
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