Pretty Lights, Glowing In The Darkest Night

Pretty Lights, Glowing In The Darkest Night

“Come and watch the pretty lights!” exclaimed the 1966 Pink Floyd poster that inspired producer Derek Vincent Smith to name his electronic music project Pretty Lights in 2006. Four years later, after releasing the two-part Filling Up the City Skies and the full-length Passing By Behind Your Eyes and touring extensively, hitting Bonnaroo, Rothbury, and many other festivals, Smith made a trilogy of EPs throughout 2010 that were, like all his other work, available for free download (or a donation) on his Website. Making Up a Changing Mind, Spilling Over Every Side, and Glowing In The Darkest Night, released in March, July, and October, respectively, comprise that trilogy — each establishing a standard quality and a rhyme scheme that show no signs of letting up.

The most recently released EP in the series, Glowing In The Darkest Night, has Smith pairing samples of old R&B and soul vocals with modern beats. He creates music that has a touch of grit to it, despite being danceable and fun. Grounded with a bubbly bass line, the opening track “Still Night” samples some distant-sounding horns and a question: “What makes the motherfucker so damn fresh?” The fourth track, “Shining Bright Despite The Plight,” has some chopped-up acoustic guitar mixed with a sharp hip-hop beat that works surprisingly well. Just goes to show, I suppose, that sampling is the ultimate genre equalizer.

Despite the ever-present outer-space theme in all of his song and album titles, though, Pretty Lights’ music isn’t exactly breaking uncharted territory. While there’s nothing wrong with making dance music from bits and pieces of old songs, the fact is that it’s been done before, and done better. Although Glowing In The Darkest Night has several stand-out moments, it isn’t, on the whole, memorable. The compositions are good, the samples blend into the music well — but there’s not much there to surprise you. It’s just good electronic music, and anyone with a computer can make good electronic music. (Yes, that’s a very jaded statement right there — I guess I’m getting too hip.)

This being said — all of Pretty Lights’ music is available for free or for donation on his site, so the price is right. If it were any other way, though, I wouldn’t suggest expending too much time or money on the Pretty Lights oeuvre in its current state.

(Pretty Lights Music -- P.O. Box 1199, Denver, CO. 80202; http://www.prettylightsmusic.com/therecordlabel/; Pretty Lights -- http://www.prettylightsmusic.com/; Pretty Lights (Myspace) -- http://www.myspace.com/prettylights)
BUY ME: Amazon

Review by . Review posted Tuesday, March 29th, 2011. Filed under Features, Reviews.

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