Pretty Lights – A Color Map Of The Sun [Album]
Ever since Colorado native Derek Vincent Smith, “Pretty Lights,” dropped his second full-length Filling Up The City Skies back in 2008, we’ve been waiting for that funky, glitch-hop groove to take the next leap. Unfortunately, his 2009 album, Passing By Behind Your Eyes, wasn’t quite the leap we were looking for. Finally, on July 2nd, after almost four years, Pretty Lights dropped A Color Map Of The Sun, and in a big way.
Anyone who caught a glimpse of his album hype documentary knows that unlike past albums, where his renowned jazz sounds and crushing vocals came from outside samples, ACMOTS uses only original samples. Spending time in Brooklyn and New Orleans, Smith was able to jam and conduct with countless artists to achieve a variety of sounds.
Another great break away from the norm, Pretty Lights’ impressive audio engineering capabilities are on display with exclusive use of outdated analogue synth systems. No computer generated instruments through a computer program. While this may strike some as bizarre, considering the massive amounts of digital instruments available, I find this to be an excellent display of Smith’s musicianship. He wants to change things up, he wants to bring out the imperfections, and he wants to keep his sound original. Of course Pretty Lights ties it all together with the glitchiness we have come to expect.
The feel of this album is best described as mysterious. The tones are creepy and crawl through the tracks. String synths and actual vinyl clicks and pops, along with trippy guitar and horn parts bring a nostalgic vibe as well. If you want to sit back, be floored, and drift away, then Pretty Lights’ A Color Map Of The Sun is what you need.
Ultimately, this album blurs the line between band and producer, digital artist and classic musician, and is definitely worth a careful listen. Sticking to his humble ways, the entire album is available free through his website, along with a double disc set you can purchase.