“I have a habit through the years of making records that I just give to friends, or on tape to people on the street, or no one. Usually this material is made directly after the album I’ve just put out. Somewhat of an epilogue to the thing I’ve made before. This time... I decided to release it.” Loosely billed as a ‘mixtape,’ Angel’s Pulse is an opportunity for Dev Hynes to stretch out and indulge some of his more impulsive musical ideas, incorporating scattershot samples and literally phoned-in rap verses to his collage of sugary new wave and modern R&B. Blood Orange records always kinda sound like mixtapes anyway, floating eagerly from one idea to the next without beating any one drum for too long, but Angel’s Pulse is free from the high expectations that precede the pomp & circumstance (Puffy interludes, etc.) of his studio albums proper. The production is immaculate, and Dev spends more time in the producer’s chair than he might otherwise on a proper album, letting a well-balanced cast of heroes and homies have their turn on the mic. The slow rolling “Take It Back” features Arca murmuring in Spanish, Brockhampton’s Joba (I deadass thought this was Eminem) and Justine Skye all on the same track. Dev’s signature haunted synths and piano stabs juxtapose perfectly with the vintage Hypnotize Minds trunk-rattling sound on “Gold Teeth” featuring Project Pat and Gangsta Boo. “Dark & Handsome” with Toro Y Moi and “Berlin” with Ian Isiah and Porches are other highlights; Tinashe also features on two tracks. Picture disc vinyl pressing, includes code for digital download.
reviewed by big kahuna burger 10/2019