Categorizing the productions of Derek Vincent Smith, better known as Pretty Lights, is a little complicated, as he tends to fuze hip hop style beats, often at dance music tempos, with buzzing synths, moving pads, and classic soul and funk samples. I have to be honest, I embarrassingly didn’t even know about the Pretty Lights phenomenon until my homegirl Allie’s facebook status earlier this year when she said, “listening to my new obsession, Pretty Lights”. Reading that led me to over an hour of youtube viewing, the whole time in awe of his live performances, pausing frequently to get clear glimpses of what he was rocking on stage. Besides a drummer playing along to the tracks, Smith was all in the box, rocking out on two Macbook Pros, and riding the only wave suited for what he was accomplishing sonically, that wave being Ableton Live.
It’s great to see someone at the forefront of creativity in his field and really using what’s out there to push the boundaries of sound and performance. Ableton software is called Live for a reason as it truly offers endless amounts of tools to take digital music performance to new heights every time you sit down to be creative. This particular track blends together the familiar guitar riff of “Private Number” by Judy Clay and William Bell with the spectacular vocals of Etta James’ “Somethings Got a Hold On Me”. This same Etta James sample is more popularly known recently for it’s use on Avicii’s “Levels”. Anyway, enough blogging, I think it’s time to call up Hector and get to work on some DJ ideas. Innovation inspires more innovation, this is a path us producers should all follow and who knows where we’ll end up. Have a great Saturday guys.