Pretty Lights: A Color Map of the Sun
Since festival favorite Pretty Lights (producer Derek Vincent Smith) released his debut Taking Up Your Precious Time in 2006, each successive release has boasted heavier EDM gems. His debut contained fan-favorite and ultra-chilled-out, Etta James-sampling “Finally Moving,” while his 2011 single, the speaker-demolishing “I Know the Truth,” set the tone for the next few years. With A Color Map of the Sun, Smith wants to fuse the explosive with the subdued. For the most part, he nails it. Created with samples that he composed and recorded live, the 13-track set seamlessly weaves between spine-shattering breakbeats and gentler grooves, like an expert Pretty Lights mixtape. Style-wise, Smith rarely leaves his comfort zone: twinkling piano, soulful vocals, half-time beats, foreboding horns and just enough atom-bomb low end to earn him adoration from the bassheads. Smith comes closest to the club with “Prophet,” uncharacteristically packed with strobe light synths. Mostly, though, Color Map is another electro-soul carnival for twirling under the summer stars.