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
Color Of My Soul
Lets Get Busy
Around The Block feat. Talib Kweli
Go Down Sunshine
So Bright feat. Eligh
Bonus Tracks: One Day They’ll Know, Always All Ways, My Only Hope