Technically speaking, Venice Dawn
is not Adrian Younge's follow-up project to the excellent Black Dynamite
soundtrack. The seeds of this album were planted in 2000, when Younge, under the spell of Ennio Morricone
and other composers of late-'60s and early-'70s film scores, circulated a thousand copies of Adrian Younge Presents Venice Dawn
, an EP of dreamy psychedelic instrumentals composed and performed by himself. Over a decade later, he conceived Venice Dawn's conceptual Something About April
. This time, he's joined by his band, including male and female vocalists, who detail a late-'60s love story about two people trembling with desire and fear: a married black man and his paramour, a younger white woman. Film scores still inform Younge and company's sound here, but the overriding feel is that of psychedelic soul and pop filtered through decades of breakbeat culture. Virtually the whole album is ripe for sampling -- the vamping keyboards, snarling guitars, baleful horn blasts, impassioned wails, and, of course, crisp drums, all bathed in reverb and skillfully enhanced with studio effects. There's also the matter of one particular keyboard, the Selene; created by Younge and his associates, it's accurately described as "akin to a modern Mellotron" and gives the material a uniquely eerie twist that no other album can boast. Younge's crate-digging streak is perceptible throughout -- he even snared legendary guitarist Dennis Coffey
for an appearance -- but the lyrics and vocal arrangements are both scholarly and imaginative. Some lines ("The fire in your eyes has got me hypnotized") are delivered with such conviction and treated in such a manner that the relationship sounds so deeply conflicted as to induce psychosis. On the sweeter side, some songs vividly convey new-love butterflies ("The first step on the moon was how it felt to be with you"). The whole thing is too evocative for any set of moving images to do it justice.