On Friday, Mac Miller released his thoughtful, introspective album Swimming. After a year that included a highly publicized breakup and a really bad arrest, Miller turned introspective, making an album of organic and sunny funk-pop and stoner-rap. It’s live-band music, as Miller demonstrated when he recorded an endearing set for NPR’s Tiny Desk Concerts series.
Miller’s Tiny Desk Concert features one special guest: The spacey bass virtuoso Thundercat, who joins in on one song. Thundercat played on Miller’s “What’s The Use?,” which, in its album version, also features Syd and Snoop Dogg. And during the Tiny Desk set, Thundercat, who is about to head out on tour with Miller, sat in with Miller’s live band to play the song’s supple, intricate bassline and to sing backup. He sounded great, of course, and it was cool to see the camaraderie between him and Miller.
Miller’s band also sounded loose and expansive during the rest of the set, which also featured the new-album tracks “Small Worlds” and “2009.” (Thundercat sat in on shaker on the former.) A string quartet joined the band for “2009.” Also, Miller’s stage patter was almost blindingly awkward. Watch the deeply pleasant 17-minute video below.
Swimming is out now on Warner Bros.