Behind his scores is a 'visceral process' : Here is composer Dev Hynes on how he helped create the mood for an HBO series :

There is a moment at the beginning of Luca Gudaga gnino's new HBO series, 'We Are Who We Are,'' when one of the main characters, Caitlin, stands poised atop a tower on the American army base in Italy, deciding whether to jump.

As Caitlin approaches the ledge, the surrounding sounds fade away, and a scintillating piano progression emerges from the quiet. There's something hovering beneath the surface in that moment - a buildup of potential energy, like a rubber band pulled taut.

The melody magnifies this tension, and suddenly the music intensifies. A heavier synth sound rises and crests: Caitlin steps forward and disappears into the darkness.

The musician behind Guadagnino's evocative score is the composer Devonte Hynes, perhaps best known by his most recent alias, Blood Orange, a genre defying solo musical project that fuses R&B beats with gauzy synth overlays.

But Hynes is also a classically trained musician who has performed alongside Philip Glass at Carnegie Hall. As a composer, he has already scored a couple of films ''Palo Alto,'' from 2014, and ''Queen & Slim'' from last year - but ''We Are Who We are'' is his first time doing it for television.

When Guadagnino first contacted Hynes, however, it wasn't about the score : He had decided he wanted to write a Blood Orange concert into the show. Hynes was already a fan of the Italian director's work [he had seen ''I Am Love,'' from 2010, twice in one week, and he was similarly smitten by ''Call Me by Your Name''], so he -

So he quickly agreed and traveled to Bologna, Italy, where he and Guadagnino realized that there were some scenes without music - like the one at the tower - that needed more, he said in a Zoom interview last month. He asked Hynes if he would create ''a sort of organic addendum'' to the soundtrack.

''Dev was the only composer I wanted to create music for the show,'' Guaddagnino said. ''I like the eclectic' of Dev. I feel seen by him. It's not normal or immediate that people are eager to see the other, but I feel that he has that quality.

On a sweltering day last month, in Washington Square Park, in Mahattan, Hynes told me that he was inspired by artists who could ''freeze moments and explore all of the corners of a situation,''

Hynes excels at composing songs that hold the listener suspended in time, a quality that makes his music a fitting companion to a show exploring youth in all its bittersweet transience.

The World Students Society thanks author Coralie Kraft.


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