19 September 2011

New Horizons to Pursue

I've been on a Dev Hynes kick this past week or so. After reading through stuff about Weeknd and Frank Ocean, someone referred to Hynes as the progenitor of their sound. While I'm still a bit flummoxed by that assertion, there's no doubt that I love his Lightspeed Champion stuff.

Oh right, Hynes is already three musical personas deep, from punk rock (Test Icicles) to indie folk (Lightspeed Champion) to synth pop (Blood Orange).
"I'm always weary of connotations. I don't want people to listen to the music I make presently because they liked my previous work, or to dismiss it because they didn't. I'm guilty of this as well -- having preconceptions about other artists -- but it's stupid because all music exists on its own and should be listened to with a clear head. That's what I'm hoping to achieve by giving different names to each new project I begin."
-Interview with Dev Hynes-
Aside from his constant genre switches, Hynes also has an interesting approach to making music. He's also a producer and song writer and his recordings often are things meant for other artists, or they are just experiments he's testing out. He isn't afraid to just put throw stuff down and go where his creativity takes him. His latest record, the recently released Coastal Grooves, is done from a "melodramatic female perspective."
"On Coastal Grooves, Blood Orange’s full-length debut, the 25-year-old British ex-pat imagines his Brooklyn neighborhood as a romantic wonderland, infused with endless possibility and sexual confusion. Most of the album’s 10 bedroom transmissions are written from a feminine point of view, which is no accident. Having spent the better part of the last year writing songs for Solange Knowles and Florence and the Machine, Hynes can comfortably assume what he calls a "melodramatic female perspective" -- in fact, it suits him perfectly. He’s never played by the rules."
-Devonté Hynes is Burning-
Also, Hynes has synesthesia, which allows him to literally see sounds. John Mayer has the same neurological condition, but Mayer's is slightly different as he sees colors when he hears sounds. Looking over the list of artists who "suffer" from synesthesia is like looking over a roster of X-Men. Kandinsky, Van Gogh, Nabokov, Stevie Wonder, Billy Joel, Duke Ellington... I'm hoping my super powers will kick in soon too.

Regardless of how you feel about Hynes' music there's much to admire about his constant experimentation, the re-imagining of his style, his willingness to be angry, playful, romantic, etc. and overall prolificness.