As mentioned in previous posts, I’ve been waiting for this (or anything new from Adrian Younge) for a while now. With this EP, my wait is fully rewarded, and my expectations are met and then some. This is one of the best things I’ve heard all year, in any genre. The description mentions Morricone’s soundtracks as a big source of inpiration, and I can certainly see that, but there’s more going on here and calling this an homage wouldn’t do it justice. Rather, the music feels like a synthesis of various influences in service of something distinct and unique. The last (and best) track starts like something by David Axelrod, and then throws in vocals reminiscent of the blue opera singer from the Fifth Element – I’ve never heard Morricone do that.
Read below for full description of the EP
The story begins in 1998 as budding hip-hop producer Adrian Younge finds himself confined by the limitations of the MPC. He begins teaching himself how to play various instruments so he can fully realize his vision. First it was keyboards, then drums, sax, guitar, and bass. Fascinated with the sounds of Italian soundtracks by the likes of Ennio Morricone, Younge begins work on the soundtrack to the fictional film Venice Dawn, recording the album intermittently over the course of the next year. What developed was a sound equal parts Morricone and Air. Self-released, the entire album was composed, arranged, and played by Younge. Only a thousand CDs were pressed, replete with faux soundtrack album art designed by Younge himself. Sold mostly in the L.A. area, the CD became collectable among those in the know.
Fast forward to 2008, and Younge finds himself at the center of the Black Dynamite zeitgeist. Instrumental in the film’s development, Younge not only edited the film, but composed the original score as well. Hailed as a modern blaxploitation masterpiece, the Black Dynamite score solidified Younge’s position as a force to be reckoned with on the new worldwide soul and funk scene.
Taking some time off after the success of Black Dynamite, Younge began revisiting some of his earlier work from Venice Dawn and envisioned a new sound that would take the blaxploitation of Black Dynamite and mesh it with the more left-field sounds of Venice Dawn, eventually deciding to bring everything full circle by releasing the material under the Venice Dawn moniker. This new LP, titled Something About April, will be released this fall on Wax Poetics Records, with the first single, “It’s Me,” coming in August.
In correlation with the release of the new LP, Wax Poetics Records is reissuing a digital-only EP version of the original Venice Dawn album for free. Its rerelease eleven years later connects the dots between Black Dynamite, Younge’s early work, and his newest album, Something About April.