I was more excited about the new Pretty Lights album than your average electronic music listener. I respect what he creates and admire his ability to give his music so many layers and depth, yet not overwhelming its audience. Prior to listening to the entire album I watched the documentary of him producing his latest album, “Color Map of the Sun.” In the documentary you get an exclusive look into the whacky and genius manner in which Pretty Lights aka Derek Vincent Smith produces his music. Creating samples from using live instruments in the studio and recording live artists singing various notes and verses. He was trying to create samples that he might find digging in record stores, something that not many other producers are doing. In a digital world where producers are making music on laptops, Pretty Lights went back in time to bring modern and old school together to create another beautiful album.
Pretty Lights released “Around the Block feat Talib Kweli”, earlier in the year and is arguably the albums best track. The piano laden track has everything from the heavy bass line, layers of multiple instruments and a mix of Talib’s lyrics with a haunting vocal sample later in this track pulling it all together. This song makes you jump and groove like no other. A classic tune that lets you know Pretty Lights is still at the top of his game and killing it.
“Color of My Soul” is another track that caught my attention, really personifies the “electro hiphop soul” genre perfectly. As with a lot of Pretty Lights music it takes a bit of it to build but thats the style and tempo he mastered. When you feel the bass line kick in with the horns and vocals it takes you to another level, that crazy floating feeling level if you know what I mean.
Some of the albums more laid back tracks like “My Only Hope”, “Press Pause”, “Vibe Vendetta” and “Yellow Bird” are amazing tunes for kicking it or lighting one up and chilling out. Enough of a kick to keep your head bobbing and a bass sound that Pretty Lights has perfected. The mix of vocals with various effects applied takes you back in time but still keeps it modern and fresh.
No doubt Pretty Lights has released an album full of amazing sounds that will blasted on festival speakers this summer and months to come. Pretty lights can only be described as its own genre, a feat that many musicians fail to attain. Always excited to see how he plays these new tunes live but until then go grab a copy on July 2nd, light one up and enjoy!