Adrian Younge is the next generation of soul music. A self-taught musician and recording engineer who has dedicated his life to the study of classic soul music, Younge finds himself at the center of a new soul renaissance with a vision for pushing the boundaries of the music itself.
The story begins in 1998 as the budding hip-hop producer found himself confined by the limitations of the MPC. He began teaching himself how to play various instruments so he could 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 that is equal parts Morricone and Air. Self-released in 2000, the moody, synth-drenched album was entirely composed, arranged, played, and recorded by Younge.
Eight years later in 2008, Younge would find himself at the center of the Black Dynamite zeitgeist. Instrumental in the film’s development, Younge not only edited the film, but also composed the original score, which was hailed as a modern blaxploitation masterpiece for authentically capturing the cinematic soul of the 1970s, from Isaac Hayes to Curtis Mayfield. The album was released by Wax Poetics Records. Adrian Younge solidified himself as a force to be reckoned with and soon went to work writing music for the forthcoming Black Dynamite cartoon series on Adult Swim.
His next solo project, Something About April on Wax Poetics Records, Younge envisioned a new sound that would revisit his earlier, more baroque instrumental work of Venice Dawn and mesh it with the deep, gritty soul of Black Dynamite, eventually deciding to bring everything full circle by releasing the material under the moniker Venice Dawn. It is a heavy, dark mix of psychedelic soul and cinematic instrumentals with hip-hop aesthetics, touching on influences from Morricone to King Crimson, Portishead to the Flamingos, Wu-Tang to Otis Redding. Two songs—”Sirens” and ”Reverie”—were recently sampled by Timbaland for Jay-Z’s Magna Carta… Holy Grail, respectively on the lead single “Picasso Baby” and “Heaven,” which features Justin Timberlake.
In spring of 2013, Younge released Adrian Younge Presents the Delfonics (Wax Poetics Records), cowritten with William Hart, founding singer of the legendary soul group; as well as Adrian Younge Presents Twelve Reasons to Die, a concept album with Ghostface Killah on RZA’s new imprint, Soul Temple. He and his band, Venice Dawn, toured to support the Ghostface album.
He is currently finishing up a new album with Souls of Mischief (Soul Temple) and recording two new projects, to be announced.
“Stop and Look (And You Have Found Love)” b/w “I Can’t Cry No More” (WPR020) · December 11, 2012 · iTunes, 45 rpm
Presents Venice Dawn EP (free download) · July 2011
Jay-Z Magna Carta… Holy Grail · July 2013 · iTunes
Apollo Brown & Guilty Simpson Dice Game (Mello Music Group) · Nov. 2012 · iTunes
Gaslamp Killer Breakthrough (Brainfeeder) · Sept. 2012 · iTunes
Adrian Younge vs. Adrian Quesada (Ubiquity Recordings) · April 2012 · iTunes
Ghostface Killah Adrian Younge Presents Twelve Reasons to Die (Soul Temple) · April 2013 · iTunes
XXL (On being sampled on Jay-Z’s Magna Carta… Holy Grail)
Fact magazine (On working with Souls of Mischief)
Time Out Chicago (Delfonics)
Fuse TV (Delfonics)
WXPN Philadelphia (Delfonics)
Okay Player (Delfonics)
Ego Trip Land (Delfonics)
Mass Appeal (Delfonics)
Soul Bounce (Delfonics)
Flea Market Funk (Delfonics)
Adrian Younge Meets Erykah Badu