imageOn “Apocalypse,” the bassist and composer Thundercat mixed funk, hip-hop, jazz, jazz fusion and rock into a blend that reflected both his solo career and the contributions he made to albums and performances by Erykah Badu, Flying Lotus, Kendrick Lamar, Snoop Dogg and others. Produced by Flying Lotus, the 2013 album revealed that Thundercat’s musicality and versatility were suited for more than providing supple support.

Born Stephen Bruner, Thundercat began playing bass at an early age; his father and older brother, who share the name Ronald, are award-winning drummers. At age 16, Stephen toured with bass master Stanley Clarke. He also worked in the thrash-metal group Suicidal Tendencies. Earlier exposure to many musical genres informed his holistic view, which he was eager to share. Thundercat recalls introducing Snoop Dogg to the music of Billy Cobham and Frank Zappa. By the way, Bruner picked up his nickname from producer Shafiq Husayn while they were working together on a Badu session: Bruner was wearing a T shirt from the animated TV series and video game.

Thundercat came to wider prominence in rock and electronic music circles via his work on Flying Lotus’s breakout album “Cosmogramma,” which was released in 2010 and illustrated the leader’s far-ranging ideas on what constitutes modern music. On that album’s second number, Thundercat entered with a blistering electric-jazz solo and then continued to zoom in and out of various tracks, singing and scatting on at least two of them. A year later, Flying Lotus returned the favor by co-producing Thundercat’s debut solo disc, “The Golden Age of Apocalypse,” an eclectic collection that featured beauty, flash and invention in a loose, often-sultry blend of R&B and jazz fusion.

The 2011 album set high expectations for the ’13 follow-up. Thundercat could no longer sneak up on listeners: his reputation had been established in several genres. If “Apocalypse” seemed more focused and somewhat less haphazard, it may be more than experience that made it so. The mood of the album was informed to a degree by the death of a friend, the 22-year-old jazz musician Austin Peralta. In addition, some of the songs alluded to a fraying romantic relationship, one that required re-evaluation. Though the mood was blue, the music was never dour. Sadness was expressed through thoughtfulness, and the will to create in such an emotional context pushed the musicians.

Ten of the dozen songs on “Apocalypse” were co-created with Flying Lotus. “Tenfold,” the opening number, featured a driving, knotty bass line under a staccato melody sung by Thundercat, who layered his voice in a choir as the song unfolded. On “The Life Aquatic,” it was the bass that provided the pulse as high-pitched keyboards swirling overhead. “Heartbreaks + Setbacks” was propulsive, atmospheric R&B, as was “Special Stage.”

Thundercat’s ability to merge musical forms added to the album’s appealing pull-through. “Tron Song,” a spacey slice of jazz fusion with cut-and-paste percussion, was treated to unexpected colors with a splash of electronics. In ‘Seven,” a complex bass pattern held its own against insistent electronic percussion that nudged the track toward the experimental; suddenly, a Zappa-like vocal interlude and a burst of laughter helped shift gears as the band went into “Oh Sheit It’s X,” a catchy ‘70s funk tune with a wild, burbling bottom. The mid-tempo “Without You” continued the stretch of bold self-assurance. Drummer Thomas Pridgen, formerly of the Mars Volta and a member of Thundercat’s live band, provided the explosion in the head-snapping “Lotus and the Jondy.”

In the aftermath of “Apocalypse,” Thundercat continued his ascendancy. He played bass on Flying Lotus’s “You’re Dead” and Kendrick Lamar’s “To Pimp A Butterfly,” two of the most acclaimed albums of recent years, and was the bassist for Kamasi Washington’s aptly named “The Epic,” a three-disc jazz masterwork that features a 32-piece orchestra and 20-voice choir. In addition, Thundercat continues to lead his own band in concerts. With “Apocalypse,” he demonstrated he can take his substantial talents wherever he chooses to go. Those who love his contemporary, supremely musical mix follow him gleefully.