Adrian Younge drops new synthesizer album, The Electronique Void
by Layne Weiss
You know that friend that’s always giving you love advice? The kind of advice you don’t really want to hear, but deep down, you know you need it? That friend that tells you when you’re letting a fuckboy walk all over you? Adrian Younge’s album The Electronique Void is like that friend, in music form. It’s a space-age tutorial on how to feel and understand love.
“Love is a concept. It’s not finite,” Younge muses. “It’s not something that you can readily define, because there is no definitive explanation.” There is not a one-size-fits-all recipe for love. There are varying degrees and attributes that one must consider when learning how to feel and receive love. Everyone is different and unique, and The Electronique Void explains that through music.
Before electronic was accepted as a viable and legitimate genre of music, it was used for special effects and commercial jingles to help sell products. Raymond Scott’s “Lightworks,” which was remixed by J. Dilla for Donuts, was made as a jingle to sell makeup in the mid-1960s. So, with The Electronique Void, Adrian Younge is paying homage to the artists who helped make electronic a genre of music that is still highly revered in all realms of the music world. “I’m known for creating cinematic, psychedelic, dark soul/rock music. Hip-hop music. But I’ve never been equated with the type of artist that could create electronic music. And I love electronic music,” Younge professes. The Electronique Void places a modern scope on the recording techniques utilized by our electronic music forefathers to create their masterpieces.
“A lot of modern-day electronic music focuses on just dance,” Younge muses. “It’s more so noise-driven, and the composition isn’t as deep as it was before.” Early electronic music was more risqué, more cultivated, and more composed. Artists took chances on creating music that had never been made or heard before. “So I wanted to go back to that time and make something that was akin to that compositional and sound perspective,” he explains.
The music on the Electronique Void is dark because love is dark. This isn’t the sort of easy listening we’ve grown accustomed to from most modern-day dance-based electronic, funk, or R&B music, because love and relationships aren’t always easy to handle. The album doesn’t end pretty, because love isn’t always pretty. There aren’t always happy endings. This music is complicated and complex, because relationships can be complicated and complex.
Younge illustrates this point using vintage synthesizers he purchased at Future Music, a vintage music store owned by Jack Waterson, a longtime friend and guitarist of Younge’s band Venice Dawn. Waterson also serves as narrator on the album, positioning himself in a role of superiority to teach people how to feel and receive love. But although there is spoken word on the album, the notion that love is merely just a concept is heard more through the music itself. “I always say that you can tell stories with chords and melodies. You can make somebody feel sad. You can make somebody feel happy just by choosing certain chords and melodies,” Younge elucidates. “So I feel like the notion of ‘dark romance’ or ‘melancholy love’ is disseminated throughout the album via composition.”
The journey into The Electronique Void takes the listener back to a time where electronic music was new, exciting, inventive, and composed. Where the world was just learning about this thing called a synthesizer, an analog keyboard that created sound. This album is more than just noise. It’s not EDM, and it’s not dance music. The Electronique Void isn’t a love story. It’s a guide on understanding, feeling, and receiving love.
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