Superproducer Blood Orange is a musical chameleon on fast-paced mixtape Angel’s Pulse

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      Angel’s Pulse (Domino)

      You never quite know what to expect from a Blood Orange project. The producer extraordinaire has worked with everyone from Mariah Carey to A$AP Rocky to Carly Rae Jepsen, but he also has his own wide array of talents as a performer. Blood Orange usually hangs around in the background with his funk-based guitar riffs, letting his producer instincts take over as he tailors a track to his guests, but his aching, emotional falsetto and occasional rap verses are just as effective.

      Blood Orange has described Angel’s Pulse as an epilogue of sorts to last year’s full-length studio album Negro Swan, and it’s clear that these ideas were developed in the same studio sessions. Many of the tracks maintain a similar sound, improvisational jazz solos augmenting warm and inviting synth chords. Angel’s Pulse sounds like all the great leftover ideas he had that he wasn’t able to fit into the structured narrative of Negro Swan concerning his tumultuous early years finding himself as an LGBT black man.

      Save for a harrowing tribute to a 1963 church bombing on “Birmingham”, Angel’s Pulse is the smooth and soulful Blood Orange sound to get lost in without the heavy political undertones of his past work. The music is calming and contemplative, and light on lyrics—something that makes you zone out and picture whatever memories you have associated with the things he describes, whether it’s relationship issues, hanging out with friends, or feeling lonely in your room.

      Most of these tracks are a lot shorter and more lyrically ambiguous, and the ideas certainly could have used some more fleshing out. But there aren’t many people who would be able to pull off a project this diverse and disjointed as well as Blood Orange, who has the ability to venture effortlessly into quite a few musical worlds.