Ever since penning Sky Ferreira’s critically acclaimed “Everything Is Embarrassing” in 2012, Dev Hynes has been in high demand for his melancholy synth-pop. He’s got writing and producing credits on everything from film scores to Carly Rae Jepsen’s latest. But the British polymath—known by his alias, Blood Orange—isn’t afraid to turn people down. “I can’t tell you how many offers I’ve said no to, because I asked if we could talk or hang out first and they said no,” he says. Instead he holes up in his New York apartment, recording “tons and tons of stuff”—some of which became the 17 tracks on Freetown Sound, Blood Orange’s highly anticipated third album.

While the album was originally scheduled for release on July 1, Hynes decided to surprise his fans via Instagram announcement:

The project grew out of work so personal that Hynes wasn’t sure he wanted to release it, but he spun it into a densely layered, sample-laced album that pairs his yearning vocals and drum-machine beats with stirringly intimate songwriting. There are still collaborations, like the soaring “Hadron Collider,” written with Nelly Furtado during a spontaneous recording session. But as people continue to come knocking, Hynes looks inward. “I make music because I want to hear it,” he says. A whole lot of us want to hear it too.

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Surprise! Dev Hynes Just Dropped Freetown Sound, a Stirring New Album, Early