The trajectory of Devonte Hynes’ journey that lead to the culmination of Blood Orange has been a rich and varied one. At the age of 20 Hynes’ dance-punk band Test Icicles signed to Domino Records and though short-lived, enjoyed cult-status reverence.
Hynes’ relocation to New York in 2007 coincided with the genesis of Lightspeed Champion, which received increased attention thanks to its poppy and alt-folk charm. But after two critically-acclaimed studio-albums, Hynes found himself drawing closer to his Blood Orange moniker, under which he had occasionally released music. In 2011 came his Blood Orange debut Coastal Grooves, which as its title suggests, was full of sparkling indie-rock textures and sultry basslines.
In the years that followed, Hynes turned to more of an R&B and electronica style with a particularly 80s influence in his production, which was evident on his 2013 follow-up Cupid Deluxe, which came with an all-star cast of collaborators including Dirty Projectors’ Dave Longstreth, Clams Casino and Skepta.
By this point Blood Orange had already proved itself as Hynes’ most comfortable identity, which was only secured more by the fervent response to his third full-length three years later Freetown Sound, an explicit meditation on the black experience in 21st century America.
It is a topic central to Hynes’ work as an artist, and one he continues to explore in his latest record Negro Swan, perhaps the sleekest and most sophisticated piece of work he has released, where his array of influences feel less of a collection and of an integral part of his tapestry. Celebrating its release, Blood Orange will perform at several festivals in Europe this autumn, including Iceland Airwaves, Club To Club Torino in Italy and Pitchfork Music Festival Paris.
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