Composer, arranger, producer, and multi-instrumentalist Adrian Younge -- also a film editor, business owner, and entertainment law professor -- moved quickly from sampling records with an MPC to playing several instruments. During the late '90s, he performed bass and keyboards in a band but grew frustrated having to rely upon his mates, so he adapted by learning to play more instruments, as well as the ins and outs of analog recording. Drawing from his love for Italian film music, he conceived Venice Dawn and circulated 1,000 copies of an EP he wrote, played, and produced in full. Several years later, he was asked to edit a blaxploitation-style film titled Black Dynamite, and he also provided the music, released in 2009 on the record label of Wax Poetics magazine. In late 2011, Venice Dawn was revived -- and eventually expanded into a performing group -- for the sake of Something About April, another nostalgic yet utterly unique recording steeped in late-'60s and early-'70s psychedelic soul. Although it seemed custom-made for sample hounds, it was thoroughly engrossing from front to back, with equal emphasis on songwriting and production.
Younge subsequently worked with several of his favorite artists, beginning with the Delfonics. The collaboration led to Adrian Younge Presents the Delfonics, released on Wax Poetics in March 2013. As he operated the Artform Studio, a record store and salon located in Los Angeles, California, Younge also established the Linear Labs label as an outlet for albums made with Souls of Mischief and Ghostface Killah. He produced Bilal's In Another Life, released on eOne in 2015. A second Venice Dawn album, Something About April II, followed in 2016 with Bilal, Raphael Saadiq, and Stereolab's Laetitia Sadier among the featured cast. The year also saw the release of a Kendrick Lamar track produced by Younge and Ali Shaheed Muhammad, who also teamed up on the score to Marvel's Luke Cage series. Later in 2016, Younge released The Electronique Void: Black Noise, an analog synthesizer-oriented concept album narrated by longtime associate Jack Waterson. By that point, tracks released by the likes of Jay-Z, Common, and Royce da 5'9" and DJ Premier's PRhyme project had sampled Younge's work. ~ Andy Kellman