Adrian Younge is a composer, arranger and music producer based in Los Angeles. He is also an entertainment law professor and edits and scores films. Younge has devoted himself to a particular brand of soul, heavily indebted to the blaxploitation sounds of the early ’70s, starting with his soundtrack to 2009’s Black Dynamite—a spoof of the blaxploitation genre that he not only did the soundtrack for but also co-produced and played a small part in. While the movie was an ode to all things Superfly and jive, the soundtrack was an earnest homage, full of wah-wah’s, the vibes and echoes of Curtis Mayfield, Isaac Hayes, James Brown, and 24-Carat Black. The sound is digitally analog as Younge chooses to use real instruments from that time period to give him that sound. The next effort from Younge was the 2011 Something About April (presented by his band, Venice Dawn). Something About April was also a soundtrack it called on the talents of the Funk Brothers’ guitarist Dennis Coffey and Italian cinematic funkateers Calibro 35. The film—about a love affair between a young interracial couple in the ’60s—did not exist, and the album brought to light Younge’s “extreme obsession” (his own words) with the soundtrack format.
Something About April II represents a return to this love of soundtracks.Whereas former projects showcased what Younge was capable of as a producer when aided by strong songwriters, April II highlights his accomplishment on his own terms. For all of his respect for the musical past including soul, blues and R&B, Younge has always been a child of hip-hop. The first April, was crafted by an artist that clearly is in love with breakbeats. Whats ill his that his sound which has an analog quality seemed to aspire to become the new breakbeats that crate diggers will be sampling from in the near future. Actually he is already a new source of old soul his albums have already been used as source of sampling material twice on Jay Z’s Magna Carta Holy Grail—”Picasso Baby” and “Heaven”and Younge’s compositions provided the samples for DJ Premier’s and Royce da 5’9″‘s PRhyme album. But on Something About April II, Younge emerges as an artist more interested in creating new classics than new samples.
On S.A.A.II Younge helms a Hammond organ, Fender Rhodes piano, vibraphone, and the Selene, which is a hi-tech lo-fi Mellotron keyboard of his own creation. “Sandrine” features Loren Oden, it features acoustic guitar and a lyrical confidence unseen in Younge’s earlier work. A pair of duets by Laetitia Sadier (of Stereolab) and Bilal—”Step Beyond” and “La Ballade” are amplified by Sadier’s cool phrasing, that rides over the deep bass grooves that are smart enough to play the background yet strong enough to disappear when they’re not needed. When Younge jumps into his blaxploitation aesthetics “Winter Is Here,” with Israeli singer/songwriter Karolina; “Magic Music” featuring Raphael Saadiq; Karolina and Sadier’s “Hands of God” it pushes things to the sky with soaring vocals and complex arrangements that makes everything sound old and new at the same time.