For his latest release, A Color Map of the Sun, Derek Vincent Smith ventured outside the box for a unique project in which he created his own samples using handpicked instrumentalists. Here the Pretty Lights maestro explores the foundations of jazz, funk and soul, offering his own modern take using time-specific tools of the trade to channel the haunting undertones of yesteryear. "Around the Block" utilizes Talib Kweli's vocals to enhance the album's fundamental rap element, which is also clearly defined on "Let's Get Busy," (later released as "All These Lights," featuring Eligh and The Grouch). "Prophet," with its heavy, synthesized sounds and monster beat, is evidence that Smith is still Pretty Lights at heart, while "Yellow Bird" complements this notion at the other end of the spectrum with its melodic piano chords. Does it work? Well, let's just say that there's a good chance it will influence subsequent production, in the same way that Smith inspired other producers with his past efforts.
Get the Music Newsletter
Keep your thumb on the local music scene each week with music news, trends, artist interviews and concert listings. We'll also send you special ticket offers and music deals.