Founded and led by A Tribe Called Quest’s Ali Shaheed Muhammad and Adrian Younge, a Los Angeles-based composer, multi-instrumentalist, arranger, producer and Linear Labs founder, The Midnight Hour is a 10 member ensemble that also prominently singer/songwriter and guitarist Jack Waterson, singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and 18 year old Los Angeles-born and-based phenom, Angela Munoz — and Compton-born, Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Loren Oden.
The Midnight Hour released their self-titled debut back in 2018, an effort that established their sound: jazz and orchestral inspired soul and hip-hop heavily influenced by David Axelrod, Quincy Jones, Curtis Mayfield, Barry White and Jazzmatazz-era Gang Starr. Now, as you may recall, since the release of the ensemble’s full-length debut, Muhammad, Younge and and the Linear Labs crew have been extremely busy: last year saw the release of Jack Waterson’s psych rock, solo debut Adrian Younge Presents Jack Waterson, and a lengthy tour that included a Brooklyn Bowl stop last September. This year will see the release of the ensemble’s highly-anticipated sophomore album, as well as solo efforts from Loren Oden and Angela Munoz.
Oden was born into a musical family and grew up in the church, studying gospel, as well as Marvin Gaye and Sam Cooke. Throughout the years, he developed an affinity for vocal arrangements and earnest lyricism, which caught the attention of Younge, who’s a a long-time friend. Slated for a May 1, 2020 release through Linear Labs, My Heart, My Love finds Oden sharing a uniquely curated sound with the listener: pairing lyrical transparency and vulnerability with orchestral arrangements and production by Adrian Younge — with the material being reminiscent of classic soul and progressive R&B. “This album is an amalgamation of my life in love: the ups, the downs, the good, the bad and the heartbreak,” Loren Oden says in press notes. “I strive to be transparent in my songwriting and I hope that the listener can hear and feel all the emotions that I’ve poured into this album.” As a result, the album is specifically written for the sophisticated, grown and sexy lovers out there, with the material delving into the guarded emotions we feel so deeply but try to avoid.
Earlier this week, I wrote about Angela Munoz’s incredibly self-assured debut “I Don’t Care” and interestingly enough, the Linear Labs collective end the week with the Valentine’s Day themed “Is There A Way,” the first single off Loren Oden’s forthcoming debut album My Heart, My Love. Centered around fluttering beats, a shimmering and gorgeous orchestral arrangement and Oden’s plaintive falsetto, the song balances a cinematic sound with an intimate feel. Recalling Al B. Sure! (in particular “Night and Day“) and Maxwell, the song is deceptively anachronistic Quiet Storm-era soul.
“‘Is There A Way’ is an optimistic song about love, romance, and true happiness with a person that you feel soulmate status with,” Oden explains in press notes. “‘Is There A Way’ is a simple melody taking the listener on a journey with me in my quest to rekindle love’s first spark. It’s that spark that sets everything in motion, and breathes life back into a failing love.” The song was written after Oden reconnected with an old love that he had a deep connection and very loving relationship with. And as a result, the song is Oden pouring his heart out to her as a way to try to find a way back to the love they once had.
Directed by Adrian Younge, the recently released video is a gorgeously shot visual, capturing the intimate moments of a couple — one-half of which is Oden. Throughout the video, Oden pours his heart out to his lover.