Adrian Younge is one of those artists whose work I’d admired and enjoyed for a few years, but I wasn’t aware of anything about the creative mind behind the work. Younge is a musician, producer, dj and composer- all arrows pointing the same direction, but it helps to clarify which hats he wears. He was responsible for the amazingly period perfect soundtrack to 2009’s Black Dynamite. I remember watching that movie maybe 10 times in a row. Recently he released two albums, one a collaboration with Wu-Tang Clan’s Ghostface Killah, and “Adrian Younge Presents the Delfonics,” a mix of Ennio Morricone sounds with classic soul.
In a previous post I mentioned my fondness for getting period work correct- that is, something referring to the 70s should actually look and feel authentic to its period. Younge is someone with a similar thought process and he elaborated on it in a recent episode of Fresh Air. All the gear in his studio is vintage and his production and mixing processes are similar to the way things were done in the 60s and 70s.
In his interview with Terry Gross, he pulled no punches when discussing the music of modern times, saying there’s no song composition to modern hip hop, that the clean compressed studio sound of 2013 didn’t speak to him at all. Terry pointed out he was an example of what the music world ideally would want of someone who utilized sampling- Younge would take notice of the original sampled sounds and seek out their originators, as opposed to merely plundering bits and bobs and pretending he created everything.
Whenever I find a creative mind that thinks like Adrian Younge- who sets the mood via equal parts unique technical production and a strong concept behind the work- I feel validated in the kind of stuff I create that strives for those same qualities. You aren’t going to hear “Adrian Younge featuring Britney Spears, remix featuring Kid Cudi and Snoop Dogg” but you will hear an artist devoted to an aesthetic that is universally relatable as much as it is uniquely his own.