Pretty Lights‘ new album ‘A Color Map of the Sun’ is more than a collection of eccentric, spaced-out jazzy tracks. It’s a full-on sensory experience.
Derek Vincent Smith has pulled out all the stops on this release, providing a wealth of multimedia to supplement the album. Besides the 13 original tracks available for free download at his site, there are a variety of physical options for those who prefer to touch and hold the music they love. Smith describes his reasons for releasing the album as a free download and in physical form on his SoundCloud. “There are two honest reasons for this,” he writes, “The main reason is that as an artist I have always reinvested any success I have directly back into the music, the show and the art that goes along with it. Secondly, this isn’t just an album; it is a massive collection of music beyond what is on the CDs that I will continue to put out after the album release.” This concept album trend works to market music as more than just songs. To remain profitable and adapt to trends, the music industry as a whole has shifted toward providing a multimedia draw for listeners, allowing them to engage more deeply with the music and the artist’s vision.
All this is apparent in ‘A Color Map of the Sun,’ which Smith describes in abstract terms as “a multi-medium map of my mind and my self.” The album flows seamlessly, each track riding on gentle dub beats and deconstructed by jazz horns and piano riffs. Pretty Lights‘ style is deeply rooted in the music of the ages and draws on jazz, blues, hip hop, and reggae undertones combined with electronic production to create a unique sound that few others can emulate. The tracks are primarily instrumental insights into Smith’s mind, but he does feature the rap talents of Talib Kweli and Eligh on two songs. He ties his music into a movement of independence, encouraging production that pushes the limits of electronic genres. One track that stands out is ‘Prophet,’ notable for its faster beat and dance-worthy rolling synths. You could listen to the album straight through from start to finish, or jump to party-pleaser ‘Let’s Get Busy,’ which uses electric guitar to complement his dubstep sound.
The two-disc CD option comes with the 13 digital tracks, as well as the counterpart samples recorded on the original vinyl acetates. There is also the regular vinyl option. Both come with a 28-page booklet featuring photos taken during the making of the album. Other multimedia released along with ‘A Color Map of the Sun’ include a full-length documentary and music videos for each song that Smith calls “beautiful and uniquely unusual pieces of art.” A variety of merchandise bundles are also available. With so many purchasing options, it’s almost impossible not to dip into the freshest of Pretty Lights’ creations.
Pretty Lights hosts his album release party tonight at Output in Brooklyn. Limited tickets will be available at the door, but we suggest you show up early since this event sold out incredibly fast.
Check back for our inside look at the album release party!
A Color Map of the Sun Track List:
1. Color Of My Soul
2. Press Pause
3. Let’s Get Busy
4. Around The Block feat. Talib Kweli
5. Yellow Bird
6. Go Down Sunshine
7. So Bright feat. Eligh
8. Vibe Vendetta
9. Done Wrong
11. One Day They’ll Know
12. Always All Ways
13. My Only Hope