My Favorite Album Of 2013: Pretty Lights – A Color Map Of The Sun (Double LP)

Jul 02, 2013

“A Color Map Of The Sun” released today, July 2nd. One listen was all it took to convince myself it is the best album of 2013. Another musical masterpiece from Pretty Lights aka mister Derek Vincent Smith.

To those who are not familiar with Pretty Lights:

Pretty Lights is the musical vision of the ultra-versatile Colorado based producer Derek Vincent Smith. At a time when music lovers from almost all subcultures and genres are finding common ground in the basic form of bangin’ beats, Pretty Lights is giving the people what they want: electro organic cutting-edge party rocking beats that fill venues with energy and emotion and send dance floors into frenzies.

What kind of music I listen to? All kinds. As long as it sounds good. However if you ask me to choose only one artist, I’d definitely say Pretty Lights as it is the style I love the most: “Electro Hip Hop Soul” – A mix between elements of electronic based music, and beats from hip-hop and soul music. I love the combination of glitchy hip hop beats, the dirty scratches, vintage funk, soulful voices, buzzing synth lines. (Don’t get me wrong but I might have listened to more R&B and Neo Soul slow jams than you have).

That said, A Color Map Of The Sun is first and foremost a very challenging new project for Derek Vincent Smith. Instead of heavily relying on digital sampling and vinyls digging, Smith worked with dozen of talented musicians from Brooklyn to New Orleans for more than a year to create his own original material and samples. The result is an unique album bringing and blending together Electro-charged breaks with a twist of Neo Soul and Dubstep, lavish Hip Hop, modern half-time beats and vintage psych funk carnival.

His double LP in his own words:

This “album” is a multi-medium map of my mind and my self. It is personal and honest and I put everything into it. I have stayed on the path of being a completely independent musician and with the help of every supporter and friend, we have transformed a simple idea into a movement, a cultural beacon of light.

Pretty Lights

[Double LP] – A Color Map of the Sun (2013) Tracklist:

1. Color Of My Soul
The opening track sets the tone. The title says everything.

2. Press Pause
Pause. Reflect. Find the hidden beauty. Majectic track.

3. Let’s Get Busy
Dark rock fusion track. Electric and frenetic.

4. Around The Block feat. Talib Kweli
Lead track of the album. Talib Kweli makes it so much better, one couldn’t think of another rapper.

5. Yellow Bird
Work of art. The sun is back shining again and it feels like chill heaven.

6. Go Down Sunshine
Vintage rock and funk fusion on a track that reminds us of Let’s Get Busy.

7. So Bright feat. Eligh
LA obsessive bass fiend brings Dubstep and Hip Hop flow.

8. Vibe Vendetta
Fantastic vibes. Massive tune. Musical vendetta.

9. Done Wrong
Electronica-Hip Hop infused Done Right. Brain damage.

10. Prophet
Preparing to take off and losing your brain to a dark electronic atmosphere with flashy neon tubes.

11. One Day They’ll Know
Heavy tune. Confirming who’s the boss.

12. Always All Ways
Flying over absolutely incredible production.

13. My Only Hope
Epic track to end epic album.

Bonus Tracks
14. Where I’m Trying To Go
15. All I’ve Ever Known
16. Sweet Long Life

A Color Map Of The Sun also comes with three bonus tracks. Disc two is a recording of Live Studio Sessions. Cool instrumentals that add more quality to the double LP and show another face of it and how it was done. Pure bliss.

This set contains 29 sounds total time 2.09.32. This is how Pretty Lights is coloring music. Exquisite.

Did I mention that Pretty Lights offers his music for free download?

Download A Color Map of the Sun, including 3 bonus tracks and the companion album Live Studio Sessions from A Color Map of the Sun, at

“Like always, the album is available in its entirety as a free download via For the first time however, I encourage you to purchase a copy of the album. There are two honest reasons for this. 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. There is an insightful documentary film on the making of this project to be released alongside the launch of the album, as well as a music video for every song. They are all beautiful and uniquely unusual pieces of art.

Here’s the 26-minutes-documentary about the making of A Color Map Of The Sun.

I’ve been heavily listening to A Color Map Of The Sun since last week and this is definitely my favorite album of 2013. What is yours? And what’s your favorite song from this dazzling album?

Disclosure: Pretty Lights is my favorite music producer.

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