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Electronic musician Pretty Lights, known on his tax forms as Colorado native Derek Vincent Smith, took a different route with his 2013 companion albums A Color Map of the Sun and Live Studio Sessions From A Color Map of the Sun, but he continues to be all about sound and lights on his supporting tour.

 

Instead of chopping up samples of existing music for his new albums, Smith created his own samples by recording musicians playing vintage instruments direct to tape (playing many of the instruments himself), then pressing the results to vinyl. From there he went digital to sample the music he'd recorded and to build his sound collages. The two 2013 albums were also the first Pretty Lights albums to be sold commercially in non-digital form.

 

Smith's concerts are known as much for their overwhelming visuals -- including a first-class light show featuring lasers, strobes, video, and more -- as for the sounds he delivers via a pair of MacBooks and various other electronic gizmos. He calls his performances a "massive art installation with songs," and the formula has made him one of the hottest tickets on the music scene. In addition to headlining his own tours, Smith has played huge festivals including Lollapalooza, Bonnaroo and Coachella. He's also co-headlined tours with other big electronic acts, including Skrillex and Bassnectar.

 

Pretty Lights' vibe is rooted in hip hop -- Smith was a hip hop performer and producer in high school --  but his production style often creates a dreamy wall of sound. It's a tough sound to pigeonhole with its crunching low end pulling in elements of soul, jazz and rock and funneling it into his unique creations.

 

After high school, Smith dropped out of the University of Boulder during his freshman year to focus on music. Within a few years he found himself playing late nights for such jam-centric acts as STS9 and Widespread Panic.

 

As he continued to hone his stage show, he also grew into a studio whiz. He chose to distribute his music for free online, and  since 2006 he’s  had millions of downloads via his own label, Pretty Lights Music.

Reviews

Warning would've been nice

1 stars
TheresNoMoreNicknamesLeft Reno Events Center, Reno

I'm not into Edm what so ever but I saw that Lil Uzi Vert was playing and he's easily one of my top 5 favorite artists. So $100 for 2 tickets was worth it to me. I sat through 2 hours of music and once lil uzi was supposed to come up the dj said "lil uzi couldn't make it tonight" Don't you think that a Facebook or Instagram post to let people know that they aren't going get what they paid for would've been a good gesture? I saw constant adds leading up to the concert saying "lil uzi vert live in Reno" but nothing letting me know that he wasn't going to make it. Not even a warning when I got there? I don't think it's too much for me to ask for a refund. Hope to hear a word back.

Horrible and irresponsible

1 stars
Clegna Reno Events Center, Reno

The environment was horrible and one of their openers didn't even show up which was the biggest thing next to Pretty Lights

Light's Strike!

5 stars
RxLark Reno Events Center, Reno

Being my first PL experience, I had no idea what I was in for. From that first bass strike like a fist to your chest, to the turntable's fine rub and spin, my body was rocked. The lights were mesmerizing. Seriously, the choreography of the bulbs was sensuous, palpitating, and earned rank with the band's name.

EA was legit. Best festival I've been to.

5 stars
DTrump Atlantic City Oceanfront, Atlantic City

Pros: Not too many people so only good views Good vibes Some acts got wild Cons: A lotta walking Really hot

I Would Never Go Back

1 stars
NikkiNJ88 Atlantic City Oceanfront, Atlantic City

I never write reviews, but have to for this event. The Event Security threw out personal items that were in no shape or form threatening - I.E. - opened cigarette boxes and chap sticks. If you wanted to enjoy an alcoholic beverage, you had to wait in line for over an hour and a half because there was only one beer tent. Once you did receive a beer, you had to remain in the tied off area and could not hold a beer while listening to your favorite artist. All set times were delayed an hour which wasn't the biggest of deals, but overall - we had a terrible time aside from being with good friends and making our own fun. I would never return to this event again. Do not waste the money.

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