Mac Miller Brings Thundercat Along for His Tiny Desk Concert Set

Presenting: some funk, some feelings, and a whole lot of goodness.
Ryan Bassil
London, GB

Like bubble bath or a frozen margarita, NPR's Tiny Desk Concert series is a simple concept with effective results. By now you know how it goes. And even if you don't the clue is in the name: someone rocks up to a desk in the NPR office and plays some music. The only lie is that the desk is not actually tiny at all.

Over the years a load of forward-thinking and generally great musicians have taken to the Tiny Desk to parlay their songs into intimate yet expansive musical voyages. Just take a trip over to NPR's website where you'll find sets running the gamut from Jay Som to Sampha to Noname (one of the all-time bests, no competition, snatch all the money from my bank account and throw it all on this bet, etc).

Today, it's the turn of Mac Miller, who released his fifth studio album Swimming last Friday (watch above). For those who haven't heard it, Mac's new one is a relatively chill and sombre affair yet also simultaneously offers upbeat respite, like sunshine through the window on a gloomy morning. The opening track states, "And I was drowning, but now I'm swimming / Through stressful waters to relief" – a pretty accurate summation of the journey that's infused throughout the record.

All of which is to say, Miller's Tiny Desk performance presents the up-and-down of these feelings at their most intimate and raw. Kicking off with "Small Worlds", he then follows up with the Thundercat-featuring track "What's The Use" – one of the stand-out and (given that it features the world's best bassist™) most funky songs on the record. The atmosphere in the room is almost infectious; Thundercat grins and at one point during a bass solo Miller almost cracks up in awe of his band mate's talent. Lastly we get "2009", which is backed up by a string quartet. Lap that all up above.

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