Devonté Hynes

Palo Alto [Original Motion Picture Score]

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Clocking in at just under 30 minutes, Test Icicles, Blood Orange, and Lightspeed Champion mastermind Devonte Hynes' largely minimalist score for the largely minimalist coming of age film Palo Alto feels a bit paltry for a full-length release, but there's no denying its hypnotic effect on the listener's psyche. Directed by Gia Coppola and based on a collection of short stories by thespian James Franco, the film follows the lives a group of alienated California high schoolers, and Hynes' largely synth-based, ambient pop-infused score does a nice job evoking the dense prescription drug- and media-driven miasma that hangs over the head of the 21st century teenager. Built around the hazy title track, which feels like it belongs in the piney Northwestern forests of David Lynch's fictitious Twin Peaks as much as it does Southern California, the 18-track set works better as a single mood piece than it does a playlist-ready batch of singles. Listeners looking for a more pop-centric collection of Palo Alto-related material would be better off picking up the non-score version of the soundtrack, which features Hynes' evocative title cut, but also includes songs from Rooney's Robert Schwartzman, Mac DeMarco, Tonstartssbandht, and Coconut Records, the latter of which is a pseudonym for actor/rocker Jason Schwartzman.

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