Pretty Lights - A Color Map Of The Sun

Indisputably his most ambitious work to date...
Pretty Lights - A Color Map Of The Sun

His first album of entirely original arrangements, ‘A Color Map Of The Sun’ is indisputably Colorado artist Derek Vincent Smith's most ambitious work as Pretty Lights to date.

Ordinarily a crate digger-cum-producer on the prowl for rare samples to cut, this time Smith flipped the process on its head, and spent a year learning the craft of analogue recording in order to make his own samples. He assembled a team of dazzlingly talented musicians and began creating original material.

On completion, Smith went and extended ‘A Color Map…’ into a double LP, gifting the listener the reels of analogue material as a disc two, a postscript to the album proper.

Both ‘sides’ are utterly beautiful. Record one is a lavish hip-hop work that swelters with soul, one that calls you back with alluring bass lines and electro-charged breaks; record two, a selection of devastatingly cool instrumentals. Each is so good, it’s a toss up between which incarnation you'll end up liking most.

Smith ordinarily puts his albums up for free download, but this time around he has sent out a missive for the listener to engage with a physical format – not out of a plea for a pay cheque, but more because this is an album that’s worth celebrating that way.

True to form, ‘A Color Map…’ is available gratis, too. But given the quality of its contents, it’s a worthy investment. A cursory listen will have you peeling the notes off sharpish to get that shit on double wax, just like you should.

8/10

Words: Hannah Lanfear

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