If there’s anyone who is at the top of the cross-genre EDM game, it’s Derek Vincent Smith, better known to the world as Pretty Lights. His MySpace does a great job of describing his sound as “electro organic cutting-edge party rocking beats that fill venues with energy and emotion and send dancefloors into frenzies.” After listening to his brand new EP, Glowing In The Darkest Night, one can’t help but admire just how brightly this pretty light doth shine. Let’s take a closer look at this colorful collection of electronica.
I want to jump right into things with the first track, Still Night. This song introduces the EP perfectly. Ghostly piano and soulful singing bring things in slowly, enticing the listener like an electric snake charmer. After the last few echo-y notes dissipate in the air, the first drop comes and kicks things off. Pretty Lights’ signature blues samples are also masterfully incorporated into this song, floating right before the next big drop and coasting perfectly alongside the beat progression. Fun, funky, and soulful, Still Night serves as a 10 out of 10 intro into Darkest Night.
Skipping ahead, Shining Bright Despite The Plight is one of those songs that beautifully pieces together multiple genres into one seamless, flowing product. Audaciously gorgeous guitar riffs fill the song with substance, while the heartfelt trumpets accompanied by the downtempo jazzy drums set a serene atmosphere.
Finally, we come to the closing track of the EP, So Much In The Dark. If there’s one word I would use to describe this song, it’s gotta be jamming. Jamming at it’s silkiest, most chocolate-y state. Things get a bit edgier around 4:13, when Pretty Lights lassos you back in with his beloved grime synth. He uses just enough synth that it sounds great without being overwhelming. Digitally rendered claps carry the song into the home stretch, driving past a blur of echoey vocals, bendy guitar, and again into the welcoming ears of you, the listener. What a great way to end the record.
Whenever I usually talk about more “indie” sounds in my posts, I usually give a warning like “this song/EP/album may not be for everyone.” I am very pleased to say that this is not the case here. This EP IS for everyone. Show it to your friends, play it for your mom in the car, put it on at church… play it anywhere. Easy-going on the ears and hard-hitting on the heart, Glowing In The Darkest Night deserves major attention from music lovers both in and out of the EDM scene. If I may go out on a limb here, I think this sound represents some of the next stages in the evolution of hip hop (along with dubstep, of course). And I like it… a lot. Well done, Pretty Lights; well done indeed.