Release Date: Jul 2, 2013
Record label: 8 Minutes 20 Seconds Records
Review Summary: I've got to move, come let me take you on a party ride / And I'll teach you, teach you, teach you, I'll teach you the electric slideWith a process as labored as the one behind Pretty Lights’ latest LP, A Color Map of the Sun, the actual music itself tends to be subsumed by the narrative. For Derek Vincent Smith, who, like many electronic acts of his ilk, has always been more tilted toward ticket sales instead of records, it runs the risk of turning into a gimmick. Smith spent months working with live session musicians to create a live version of the cross-cultural sound collage that makes up his music, a twisty, groove-heavy brand of hip-hop, jazz, and funk, with generous dollops of soul inflected with shards of blues and trip-hop that defies much categorization other than “pretty cool,” especially if you fall under the dorm room stoner or the casual raver that encompass Smith’s key demographic.
It's been nearly three years since Pretty Lights – Denver hip-hop producer and EDM-festival star Derek Vincent Smith – issued a new record, instead concentrating on his ultra-opulent live show. But his newest makes up for lost time: two hours of surprisingly consistent stoner jams with congruent but very different halves. Disc One plays like bubblegum DJ Shadow: penetrating psych funk with the occasional corny touch (Talib Kweli sleepwalks through "Around the Block").
Timing can be treacherous. Daft Punk decided to trade samples and programming for live musicians, revisiting vintage funk styles in the studio, and released its album “Random Access Memories” just weeks before Pretty Lights revealed a similar metamorphosis on its new album, “A Color Map of ….