A Color Map of the Sun

Storm Taylor, Writer

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One-man-band Pretty Lights presents “A Color Map of the Sun,” a treasure map leading the listener to buried beauty in the midst of an overstuffed music market. From “Color of My Soul” to “My Only Hope”, each song is a unique stop along the journey. As the last song fades, the listener gently wakes from a dream of scintillant sounds and vivid visualizations.  Immediately, the impulse is to dive back in.

Pretty Lights, AKA Derek Smith, does more than mash up genres into a thick electronica stew. Rather, he takes electronica, nu jazz, dubstep, funk, hip hop, soul and blends them into a smooth, refreshing froth. To those willing to explore the electronic genres, Pretty Lights is a pleasant place to start. It has no stereotypes attached to influence the initial impression of the music.

Like contemporaries DJ Shadow, Gramatik, Bonobo, and Little People, Pretty Lights uses a variety of nifty vocal samples taken from various sources to give his songs personality. Often, the vocal samples are woven together in such a way as to tell a story between the beats. This makes it stand out from pure dubstep or trance, which also uses vocal samples from time to time.

Curious and open minded listeners will discover a gold mine in “A Color Map of the Sun”. It has a distinct personality that will leave a deep impression.

All of Pretty Lights’ music can be downloaded for free from his website here.

This genre can get addicting. Here are similar artists to sample:  DJ Shadow, Gramatik, Bonobo, and Little People, RJD2, eDIT, Blockhead, Free the Robots, Blue Sky Black Death, The Avalanches, DJ Krush, Lemon Jelly, Moby, Nightmares on Wax, UNKLE, Wax Tailor, DJ Cam, Robby Wildebeat, Prefuse 73, Otaku, Beats Antique, Alif Tree, and Culprit 1 .