16 Songs, 49 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Speaking to The Guardian, British singer-songwriter-producer Dev Hynes described his fourth LP under the Blood Orange name as “an exploration into my own and many types of black depression, an honest look at the corners of black existence, and the ongoing anxieties of queer/people of color.” Recorded on-the-go in studios around the world (Tokyo, Florence, Copenhagen) with whatever was lying around at the time (“If I go to a studio and they only have an acoustic guitar, then I’ll go with that.”), Negro Swan splices Hynes’ impressionistic R&B with recorded conversation and spoken word, the most haunting snippets taken from writer and transgender-rights activist Janet Mock (“Family”) and a surprisingly vulnerable Puff Daddy (“Hope”). The result is dreamy but incisive, melancholic but alive, lonesome but communal. “When you wake up/It’s not the first thing you wanna know,” he sings on “Charcoal Baby,” a highlight. “Can you still count/All the reasons that you’re not alone?”

EDITORS’ NOTES

Speaking to The Guardian, British singer-songwriter-producer Dev Hynes described his fourth LP under the Blood Orange name as “an exploration into my own and many types of black depression, an honest look at the corners of black existence, and the ongoing anxieties of queer/people of color.” Recorded on-the-go in studios around the world (Tokyo, Florence, Copenhagen) with whatever was lying around at the time (“If I go to a studio and they only have an acoustic guitar, then I’ll go with that.”), Negro Swan splices Hynes’ impressionistic R&B with recorded conversation and spoken word, the most haunting snippets taken from writer and transgender-rights activist Janet Mock (“Family”) and a surprisingly vulnerable Puff Daddy (“Hope”). The result is dreamy but incisive, melancholic but alive, lonesome but communal. “When you wake up/It’s not the first thing you wanna know,” he sings on “Charcoal Baby,” a highlight. “Can you still count/All the reasons that you’re not alone?”

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About Blood Orange

Whether working under the Blood Orange banner or as a writer/producer in his own name, Devonté “Dev” Hynes has emerged as one of the more imaginative artists of his generation, exploring a kaleidoscopic—and proudly Afrocentric—hybrid of R&B, jazz, classical, and club music. Born in London in 1985, to a Guyanese father and a Sierra Leonean mother, Hynes started his career with dance-punk band Test Icicles before heading up the folky Lightspeed Champion—an early hint at Hynes’ curious, genre-fluid approach. After a move to New York in 2007, he launched Blood Orange, a project that explored both Hynes’ own identity and black identity in general, weaving bits of poetry and found sound into a collage-like whole that he described to Beats 1 host Zane Lowe as less a collection of discrete songs than “a world for people to be in.” That approach is best exemplified by 2018's Negro Swan, an album of haunting, impressionistic R&B spliced together with snippets of conversation and spoken-word from Puffy Daddy and transgender-rights activist Janet Mock. Hynes has concurrently built an impressive résumé as a writer and producer, straddling the worlds of pop (Kylie Minogue, Carly Rae Jepsen), hip-hop (A$AP Rocky, Mac Miller), progressive R&B (Solange, FKA twigs), classical music, and film composition, establishing himself as an artist with a flexible—but increasingly recognizable—style.

ORIGIN
New York, NY

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