You can find finesse in Freetown Sound, the third album under Devonté Hynes' alias as Blood Orange, not only within the 17 carefully crafted tracks, but also the ambient sounds that connect each composition. Collected everywhere from solo afternoons spent at Washington Square Park to midnight skates downtown, and pensive daytime strolls in his home of New York City, an acute ear can pick up the deeper meaning in the middle of two songs.
"It really makes me happy you say that," says Dev as we talk about the tactile quality of the record sat in a quiet bookshop in NY's Soho neighbourhood. "I approached Freetown Sound, much like an old school hip-hop record, going in and finding samples and words and linking all the different parts together. It's so much about the inspirations of these sounds; particularly in regards to moving cities; the things that creep into your ear, how they can mean one thing even if they are from another. I wanted it to have this feeling that the music is from another place and can have a dual meaning."
30-year-old Hynes knows a thing or two about transplanting from one place to another. Born in Houston, Texas and raised on the fringes of London, before settling in New York ten years ago, being a musician wasn't part of his plan. An avid footballer, Dev played the sport with enough fervour to consider going pro but his distaste for the people that played saw him leave it behind. He had always dabbled in music, muscling in on his sister's piano lessons, teaching himself the cello, drums and bass guitar while mucking around in bands throughout school. "Music was just this thing I liked, that I could do and I cared about but it wasn't like I grew up playing my guitar in my room," he reflects. But his talent was self-evident and after a brief spell in dance-punk outfit Test Icicles in the mid 00s and an album release under the sobriquet Lightspeed Champion in 2008, he became Blood Orange, releasing 2011'sCoastal Grooves, followed by Cupid Deluxe in 2013 and in June this year, Freetown Sound, his most impressive work yet.