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More than a whimsical performer, the mastermind behind Lightspeed Champion, 23 year old Devonté Hynes, is an accomplished composer. His work includes songs by The Chemical Brothers, Basement Jaxx and Solange Knowls. In 2009, Hynes was asked by the British Film Institute to rearrange and perform the full soundtrack of the cult classic Harold and Maude. As Lightspeed Champion, Devonté Hynes released his first full-length Falling off the Lavender Bridge in 2007. With the help of Mike Mogis, Lightspeed Champion fished the Omaha music scene and recruited a number of Saddle Creek Records fixtures for the unique recording. While Falling off the Lavender Bridge was not lauded as the introverted masterpiece it set out to be, Lightspeed Champion sparked a sincere curiosity among its listeners.
For his February 2010 LP release, Hynes relocated to another settlement not short on musicians, Brooklyn. By calling on producer Ben Allen (Animal Collective, Gnarles Barkley, and Gringo Starr), Hynes suggested a newer, more exploratory sound for Life Is Sweet! Nice to Meet You.
The album’s lead single, "Marlene," presents swooping strings and a crunchy dance rhythm, capped off with a brittle guitar solo that sounds like the amorous calling of a Tyrannosaurs Rex.
At just 23 years old, Devonté Hynes has recorded an album that is as intimate as it is spacious and harmonious as it is brazen. From a vocal standpoint, Hynes still comes off as plaintive. That said, his ability to be assertive can be found in the adventurous arrangements that reveal his interestingly diverse background.
While Life Is Sweet! Nice to Meet You may not be Devonté Hynes’ opus, it does accurately tap exciting points on the timeline of music, leaving the curious listener to excitedly wonder, what will he do next?
Check out the video for "Marlene" by Lightspeed Champion: