Following on from 'Negro Swan', his most critically-acclaimed album to date last year, you would have thought that producer and frontman Dev Hynes would be spending much of this year wallowing in the praise of his rejuvenated Blood Orange project. But after a year of political turmoil and the loss of close friend Mac Miller, the artist still has plenty more to say as he returns with his first mixtape 'Angel's Pulse'. Unlike his usual work, this new collection acts as an untethered stream of consciousness that sees him try his hand at a variety of new ideas, just trying to figure out who he is as a musician.
From the start, it is clear that this isn't intended to be a simple Blood Orange release. Rather than the soft and ambient approach that he usually crafts, 'Angel's Pulse' kicks straight in from the very beginning and doesn't let itself bask in its own glory for very long. With each track usually lasting less than three minutes, and occasionally cutting itself off before letting one song come to a nature end, this feels very much like a short, sharp selection of intentions that he is just messing around with. Although it isn't meant to come across as a finished piece of work, it does highlight an interesting variety of angles he has been exploring and just simply wets our appetites for the next official release.
In all, it looks like Hynes is simply trying to rediscover his voice again. With some much happening around him, he is clearly yearning to try something new and instead of sitting on this thought, he has opened it up to us in order to find out what we think of his new intentions. It lacks all the pretence of a refined full-length and yet still manages to uncover some fantastic aesthetics as it plays.