When Nintendo bigwig Hiroshi Yamauchi died in September, tributes from videogame fans poured in from all around. Bassist and multi-instrumentalist Thundercat (aka Stephen Bruner) joined the mix, too, distributing a tune called “Bowzer's Ballad.” Aside from the title's reference to the “Super Mario” bad guy, the instrumental song — a simple, subtle, melancholy thing — makes no overt allusion to videogames, but its general texture and the power of suggestion make it seem like it could have come from a long-lost RPG. We'll qualify “pseudo-video-game music,” then, as one more style Bruner has tried, adding to a wild résumé that includes work in or with Snoop Dogg, Erykah Badu, Suicidal Tendencies, Flying Lotus, and others. In keeping with this theme, June's Apocalypse — Thundercat's second album — freely tinkers with R&B, electronica, jazz, soul, and funk, using that diversity to odd, imaginative results.
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