[Remix] Five Knives – Savages (Pretty Lights Remix)

Five Knives
Savages (Pretty Lights Remix)

It hasn’t even been a year yet since producer extraordinaire Derek Vincent Smith, aka Pretty Lights, wowed us with A Color Map of the Sun (and of course, who can forget the remix follow-up or outtakes found in The Hidden Shades?). Riding a seemingly endless wave of inertia, he’s back at it with his first “new” material since, remixing “Savages” from powerhouse electro-rock quartet Five Knives–one of three solid remixes for Red Bull Editionsremix campaign.

True to PL style, this one starts subtly, cuing you in with vocal teasers, dialed-back stabs and strings before a sashaying reveal about 40 seconds in, a danceable beat resonating and effortlessly carrying the vibes deep into the song. The real magic happens about halfway in, as the song swells and all arrangements combine. All energy elegantly lets loose, underscored with a healthy helping of permeating, buttery bass that satisfies the drop-hungry club-goer and the laid-back lounger all at once. It’s not a drop; it’s a denouement.

I’m always hungry for what’s coming next, and this track’s sure to tide anyone over for a long while. It’s an exceptional blend and, as always, showcases Smith’s reworking chops on top of an already powerful track. And while DVS might have the limelight here, keep a close eye on Five Knives, who are already raking in rave reviews. They’re currently hard at work on their debut album. Until then, be sure to sample their EP, The Rising.

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[Show Review] Pretty Lights Getting Intimate in Denver

Pretty Lights
A Color Map of the Sun Remixes

Derek Vincent Smith, aka Pretty Lights, has grown into quite an artist over the last few years. He now plays in huge venues at gigantic festivals with thousands upon thousands of people loving on his music.

So, when he returned back to his hometown of Denver, he decided to end his tour with something a little more intimate; he played for a sold out crowd at the cozy Ogden Theater. When PL released he was going to be playing there, the show sold out in mere minutes and for a very good reason, it is hard to see PL play in smaller venues these days. But what an amazing experience it was. Mikey Thunder opened for PL immediately engaging the crowd for a fun night ahead. PL brought his live band and serenaded the crowd for a few hours playing a lot of his new music off of his ‘A Color Map of the Sun’ while enticing our eardrums with some of his classics. The light show was also up to PL standards with colors and strobe lights dancing among the glowing faces of the enchanted audience. Colorado came out that night to show Smith just how much they support where he has come from and where he is going.

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[Show Review] Pretty Lights – Red Rocks, Colorado 8/16, 8/17

There are some combinations that just make sense in this world. Peanut butter has jelly, macaroni has cheese, chalk has a chalkboard and socks have shoes. Now, what if you scale those combinations up a notch, and you add bananas to your sandwich and bacon to your mac and a sidewalk to your chalk, what happens then? Everything just gets that much better.

Red Rocks was recently named the best outdoor venue in the US by Rolling Stone Magazine. So let’s start there. After nearly three years, Derek Vincent Smith, the man we love as Pretty Lights, released an incredible new album “A Colored Map of the Sun” earlier this summer shooting Smith into another category of music genius. Smith took a year to go back the roots of music and work with real musicians and singers to create his funky, hip-hop sound he is renowned for and the risk paid off. Alright, so now we have Red Rocks and Pretty Lights.

Let’s add a live band, something Smith has never done before, and an insane laser and light show.There, there it is, the combination that just makes perfect sense.

This past weekend, Colorado’s EDM man himself came back for back-to-back shows on Friday and Saturday, to start the beginning of something truly special. Smith talked about wanting his fans to have a new kind of experience, a unique experience that will continue to grow into something magical for every person at every PL show. And in true PL fashion, he brought along some other talented musicians to shower the crowd with musical love. On Friday Talib Kweli and Blue Sky Black Death worked their magic while Saturday was full of PL label love, Michal Menert and Supervision showed why they are part of the PL family with their funk melodies and body dancing electronic beats.

Each night consisted of Smith playing with a live band that included a drummer, pianists, a trumpet player and a trombone player. Together, they played many of Smith’s new songs from his album, showing just how much more a live set can bring to a show. During the middle the band would take a break and Smith would play many of his beloved tracks such as “Sunday School” and “Hot Like Sauce”. Then the band would take over the stage again and carry the crowd until the end, never stopping to let any song linger, the feeling in the crowd was pure musical pleasure. This is something new for Smith, and there were people who were disappointed or unsure of his new concert approach but the truth is, Smith is being true to what he believes is great music and will continue on his journey to keep producing inspiring songs and shows for his loyal and new PL fans.

And that, well, there’s no better combination than taking one’s passion and combining it with a new journey.

’Pretty Lights – A Color Map of the Sun: Deluxe Version’
’Love Me (SuperVision Rmx)’
’Michal Menert – Real Hiphop’
’Talib Kweli – 5am In Brooklyn’
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[Undeniable Soul] Pretty Lights – A Color Map of the Sun (New Album)

Sir Isaac Newton, once said, “If I have ever made any valuable discoveries, it has been due more to patient attention, than to any other talent.”

Patient attention are not two words one often finds when it comes to the music world. It seems these days, artists are always striving for the next big thing, for the tune with the biggest drops or the biggest crowd affects or the number one spot on the radio and websites. So when an artist takes a step back and decides it is time to go back to the roots of their musical learning and back to the basics, many of us are taken by surprise, and one hell of a good surprise at that.

Enter Derek Vincent Smith, or as we all know him, Pretty Lights. This past year, Smith decided to start a journey into a musical place he had only skimmed the surface of before. Smith is known for taking old vinyl records and old tunes from the past century, breaking them up and putting them into some of the most captivating music of this century. But this time, Smith decided he wanted to do all of it on his own and I mean all of it.
Over the last year, Smith used his musical talents and mixed it with musicians of every age and genre to put together a musical journal of vocals, melodies and an old school feel. He composed and recorded music and vocals that emulated time periods that spanned the last century, then pressed it to vinyl. He used that vinyl along with a custom built analog modular synth to create “A Color Map of the Sun.” All of his recordings were done in New Orleans, Brooklyn and Smith’s own hometown Denver with the name of the album inspired by Isaac Newton.

The resulting album is analog electronica – soulful, electro hip-hop that pays respect to music’s immense power to touch listeners emotionally, kinetically and inspirationally. Smith said that he “Searched for vocalists that could take my lyrics and put their own incredible soul and emotion into them. I made beats for some of my favorite rappers in exchange for the ability to chop up the lyrics they wrote. It was a laborious yet immensely gratifying experiment that I could not be more proud of.”

So here it is, an artist showing what his original work sounds like with the help of some amazing musicians who leant their skills to help Smith capture his dream and show all his fans a new and valuable discovery.

13 songs of pure ecstasy which I could sit here and write twenty pages about but the best thing for you to do would be to set aside a good two hours and just listen to the magic that is Pretty Lights. Also, below is a video that shows insight into the making of “A Color Map of the Sun” where you will get to experience a little one on one with Smith and see how much heart and soul was put into this album.

Remember, it is all about patient attention.

A Color Map of the Sun – Track Listing

’Pretty Lights – Color Of My Soul – A Color Map of the Sun’
’Pretty Lights – Press Pause – A Color Map of the Sun’
’Pretty Lights – Let’s Get Busy – A Color Map of the Sun’
’Pretty Lights – Around The Block feat. Talib Kweli – A Color Map of the Sun’
’Pretty Lights – Yellow Bird – A Color Map of the Sun’
’Pretty Lights – Go Down Sunshine – A Color Map of the Sun’
’Pretty Lights – So Bright feat. Eligh – A Color Map of the Sun’
’Pretty Lights – Vibe Vendetta – A Color Map of the Sun’
’Pretty Lights – Done Wrong – A Color Map of the Sun’
’Pretty Lights – Prophet – A Color Map of the Sun’

Bonus Tracks: One Day They’ll Know, Always All Ways, My Only Hope

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[Festie Review] Snowball – Winter Park, CO

As fireworks reflected off the snow covered grounds of Winter Park, as insane light shows reflected off the neighboring mountains, as music goers covered from head-to-toe in snow gear jumped up and down continuously as incredible artist after artist took to the stages, Snowball 2013 can rate itself up there as one of Colorado’s best winter time festivals.

The layout was set up perfect with one main stage and two tents, each far enough away from one another that you could hear each artist clearly but close enough you could dance your way from set to set without freezing your buns off. There were plenty of great vendors, lots of delicious warm food and heating areas so when the toes and fingers needed a quick warm-up people had a place to go.

The festival started off with a bang Friday with the musical talents of Zion I, Porter Robinson, Krewella, Kendrick Lamar and ending the night was none other than a Rado favorite, Big Gigantic. Kendrick Lamar gave the crowd poetic justice and a hell of a lot more. He took that stage and showed just what a true rap artist he was; his vocals crystal clear, his words flowing with the rhythms and his stage presence captivating. Then Big G got on the stage and lit it up, literally and figuratively. Their light show is one for the books and their live musical instrument set is what ranks them up there with one of the best live performances to see. It takes a true artist to be able to go on stage and play their instrument live and these boys do it with such ease.

Saturday Winter Park saw a down pour of snow but that did not stop any of the festival goers from making their way to see the shows. More layers, hand warmers and a nice hot beverage got this day off to a great start. I have to give a shout out to Luminox. During his set, his computer screen was distorted and he couldn’t see what he was playing. But instead of throwing in the towel, he busted out a desktop screen, plugged in his laptop, and kept dropping some unbelievable trap. Kudos Lum, huge kudos. Portugal the Man and Datsik brought amazing energy to the day and the night was finished with Colorado’s favorite man of lights, Pretty Lights. Derek Vincent Smith, the name given by his mother who is always in the crowd supporting, has never failed to put on a captivating and memorable show. Between the light show and PL’s choice of tunes, from his new hits all the way back to some old favorites like Radiohead’s “Everything in its Right Place”, PL shut down the night leaving everyone’s bodies in a state of music euphoria.

Sunday was no day for rest for this festival with huge artists still stacked. K Theory, Ishi, Grizmatik and Flosstradamus were just a few names who threw down the dub, the jazz and the dirty trap. Then the perfect closer for the ultimate snow weekend, STS9 took to the main stage. This instrumental band mixes the sounds of rock, funk, hip-hop, drum and bass and a little jazz to capture every form of music that was present at Snowball this weekend. As the final fireworks lit the sky, every face in that crowd was smiling with the ultimate love for all the amazing music that had taken place over the weekend.

To all the artists who were at Snowball, thank you for coming to Colorado and making us fall in love with your music all over again. For the day dancing shows to the night thumping after parties. To the Snowball staff, you all did an amazing job and I can’t wait to see what you have in store for next year. And of course, to all the festival goers, keep fuckin rocking.

’Zion I – ShadowBoxing’

’One Minute
Available Now on iTunes’

’Porter Robinson & Mat Zo – Easy’

’Kicking And Screaming’

’Colorado Mountain High’

’Who’s Gonna Stop Us (Luminox Trap VIP)’

’Datsik – Bonafide Hustler (Trap VIP)’

’Portugal. The Man – I’d Rather Go Blind (Etta James cover)’

’Pretty Lights – Finally Moving’

’Flosstradamus – ☮☮☮ Lana’s Theme ☮☮☮’

’Grizmatik – Digital Liberation Is Mad Freedom’

’When The Dust Settles’
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