There are few corners of the music industry Dev Hynes hasn't touched. In the early 2000s he played as part of the dance/punk/hardcore band Test Icicles. As Lightspeed Champion, he released two indie folk records. He's written for Solange Knowles, HAIM and Carly Rae Jepsen; produced for A$AP Rocky, Britney Spears and Mariah Carey; performed with dozens of others. He's used to playing his part.
As Blood Orange, Hynes steps out own his own, but that doesn't mean he's alone. Blood Orange is a collaboration in storytelling, as much as it is a solo act for Hynes to experiment with a hushed, but powerful tonality. Through Blood Orange, Hynes weaves in and out of the spotlight, but is controlling everything, from the kick drum to the notes his partners hit.
Our track this week is one of his best examples of this. "Best of You", from his 2016 album, Freetown Sound, pits Blood Orange against the young Latin-American singer, Empress Of, in a one sided relationship where one of them inevitably loses their identity. Empress Of takes the lead singer role, but behind her, Blood Orange commands the beat with the feeling of a full dance band behind her.
As NPR points out, hand percussion rattles while Hynes' synths summon jubilant marimba. Even between moans of somber cello, there's genuine euphoria, contrasted by Empress Of's pained vocals. The song itself is a duel and a dance, mimicking the relationship the song is mourning. Ironically, it's these partnerships that help make Blood Orange's tales of failed love shine.
Listen to "Best to You" and let us know what you think!
You can learn more about Blood Orange here:
About the curator - Cormac McGee
Cormac McGee is a DJ, artist manager and concert promoter based in Toronto, Canada. He’s played in front of crowds from 10 – 1,000 people and has run concerts with some of today’s top hip hop artists, including Drake, Future, Mac Miller, 6lack, Ab-Soul and more. He also runs the Music Den at Ryerson University, a business incubator for entrepreneurs in the music industry.