The unlikely relationship between late-night cable network Adult Swim and Flying Lotus' Brainfeeder label has become one of the most fruitful cross-pollinations of music and television since MTV actually played music videos. Presented within the surrealist playground of Adult Swim's programming, FlyLo and company's cosmic explorations seem less like the bold experiments they are and more like perfect interstitial soundtracks for darkly comic shows best appreciated in a haze of insomnia or weed smoke or both.
Brainfeeder's bassist-in-chief Stephen Bruner, aka Thundercat, has been one of the label's many worthy beneficiaries of Adult Swim's large audience, teaming up with Lotus to write theme music for Aqua Teen Hunger Force and contributing to Adult Swim's singles series as part of the Lotus/Shabazz Palaces supergroup WOKE. Now, Adult Swim is once again giving the bass virtuoso a boost by premiering the new animated video for "Song for the Dead," off last year's excellent mini-album, The Beyond/Where the Giants Roam (which we named one of the best albums of 2015).
In the clip, directed by Australian visual artist Ry No, a caped Thundercat takes his bass into space and mourns the loss of a four-legged friend. It's trippy and contemplative and gorgeous, not unlike Thundercat's music.
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After a summer spent touring Europe and making pit stops in Chicago for the Pitchfork Music Festival and New York for Afropunk Fest, Thundercat returns to L.A. for Brainfeeder night at the Hollywood Bowl on Saturday, Sept. 17, where he'll share the stage with Flying Lotus, Gaslamp Killer, Shabazz Palaces and George freakin' Clinton. It's just the latest in what will surely be many career milestones for one of L.A.'s most unique talents.