Chris Daly’s favorite movie is Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song.
In a world where the minimalism of Hans Zimmer reigns supreme, it’s good to have Adrian Younge on the scene. In between revitalizing Souls of Mischief and the Delfonics, the Los Angeles composer keeps returning to the audio realm of movie soundtracks. Just don’t bother him with the little things, like whether or not the movie he’s scoring even exists.
AY returns again to his Venice Dawn project with Something About April II. For those keeping score, Venice Dawn started as a funky, psychedelic EP prior to Younge releasing the Black Dynamite Soundtrack. Following the success of Black Dynamite, Younge revisited and updated the sound with the revamped soundtrack to Something About April, a movie about a married black man and his white mistress that was never made. If the cover art of the second installment is any indication, apparently the mistress found a girl of her own. You’ll have to keep guessing, though.
As with the earlier iterations, SAAII melds the big, bombastic soundtrack works of Ennio Moirccone, James Brown and Curtis Mayfield, filtering the resultant mixture through a decidedly hip-hop lens. The kickdrums on “Psalms” alone are apt to shatter the concrete below boomboxes. While it is hard to ascribe a storyline to a movie that simply isn’t, Younge clearly paints a full picture. From the wails on opener “Sittin’ by the Radio” to the skunky brass of cacophonous closer “Hear My Love,” he hits all the emotional points of your quality, non-quality B-movie bonanza.
While Younge plays more instruments here than Prince on his last few albums (including the criminally underloved glockenspiel), he’s also joined by a pantheon of guests, some familiar, some not so much. Bilal, Stereolab’s Laetitia Sadier, Raphael Saadiq and Tortoise’s John Herndon stand alongside the Israeli artist, Karolina, all drop their distinct marks. For my money, the dreamy love song, “Sandrine,” is the stand-out winner here, but the blaxploitation beauty of “Magic Music” or the French sultriness of “La Ballade” make strong bids for that tile as well. I guess we’ll have to just wait for mythical sequel that’s probably being imagined to help round out this trilogy and find out just what happens to April.