Thundercat

THUNDERCAT is the alter ego of virtuosic bassist / singer Stephen Bruner. The South Los Angeles-native has released two critically acclaimed full length albums on Brainfeeder Records since 2011, and last year saw the release of widely praised mini-album The Beyond / Where the Giants Roam. The album features appearances from the legendary Herbie Hancock, fellow Brainfeeder family members Kamasi Washington, Miguel Atwood-Ferguson and Mono/Poly and production work from Brainfeeder head, Flying Lotus. 2015 also saw Thundercat make outstanding contributions to landmark albums by Kamasi Washington (The Epic) and Kendrick Lamar (To Pimp A Butterfly). His work on Lamar’s recently netted him his first Grammy.

Bruner found his instrument at the age of 4. That made him a late-bloomer in the house of Ronald, Sr., who drummed with the Temptations among others. His first bass was a black Harmony, and he practiced to the Ninja Turtles soundtrack until pops played him Jaco Pastorius. He joined thrash legends Suicidal Tendencies as a teenager, and spent road and studio time with everyone from Stanley Clarke to Snoop Dogg to Erykah Badu. Eventually the name Thundercat stuck, a reference to the cartoon he’s loved since childhood and an extension of Bruner’s wide-eyed, vibrant, often superhuman approach to his craft.

Drew Englander, also known as Real Magic, got his start in early 2011 when he recorded “No Things Left,” an experiment in which he layered his somber and heartfelt croon over a whirlwind of grimey electronics and breakneck rhythms. It was to be a jumping off point for Englander, as he continued to delve into the capabilities of his voice and songwriting.

His music incorporates a diverse scope of styles, from classical composers to singer/songwriters to beat-makers and experimenters old and new. What distinguishes this singer/producer from his sample-and-effects laden contemporaries is the surprising range and character of his vocals, which are featured prominently in the mix to create a sense of genuine humanity often absent from electronic music. Englander’s melancholy voice sits atop carefully arranged compositions of synthesizers, strings, guitars and twittering drum machines, leading the way through a soundscape that is dark and brooding, yet hopeful and triumphant.

Real Magic's two releases, the No Things Left EP in 2011 and debut album Deep Breathing in 2013, received much praise from critics and bloggers, earning him features in Stereogum, Brooklyn Vegan, Death + Taxes and many more. As of late, Englander has been polishing his energetic live show, opening for the likes of YACHT, Bonobo, School of Seven Bells and Blue Sky Black Death, along with performances at festivals such as CMJ, Kaleidoscope, Symbiosis, SUNY Purchase’s Fall Fest, Goldrush and Westword Music Showcase.

Fronted by vocalist Lalin St. Juste, The Seshen is a seven piece band based in San Francisco. Mixing live and electronic elements and taking influence from eclectic sources including psychedelia, hip-hop, pop, R&B, West African music, dub, and indie rock, they create beat-driven compositions with a strong emotional core, a compelling sound that has hooked many fans and bloggers from first listen. Heavy industry interest has resulted in the band inking a deal with Tru Thoughts records to take it to the next level.

The Seshen's self-titled 2012 debut album, released via Bandcamp, has inspired comparisons to J Dilla, Little Dragon, Beach House and Erykah Badu, and they have also found themselves in high demand as a live act with support slots for the likes of Thundercat, Hiatus Kaiyote, Hieroglyphics and The Memorials (with Grammy award winner Thomas Pridgen).

The band that provide the immersive sonic backdrop for the complementary vocalists, Lalin St. Juste and Akasha Orr, are bassist/producer Aki Ehara, drummer Chris Thalmann, keyboard/synth player Mahesh Rao, percussionist Mirza Kopelman and synchronizer/sampler Kumar Butler; between them creatively manipulating an array of technology alongside their more traditional instruments, with acoustic percussion including congas, bongos, timbales and more.

This close-knit group was born from the relationship between Lalin and Aki, a couple who met while studying in Ghana and bonded over music. On their return to the US, they lived in LA before moving to Aki's hometown of San Francisco, where they started collaborating on music together and gradually built the band through jam sessions with their circle of friends.Utilizing a heavily layered base of electronic textures, The Seshen complement the complex emotions and vivid imagery of Lalin's poetic lyrics, and blur the distinction between the abstract and the familiar, for a resulting atmosphere that is distinctively their own.

Finding the perfect home on the eclectic, soulful roster of Tru Thoughts records, The Seshen have announced their signing to the UK label in 2014, alongside Spring and Summer US tour dates.

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