A brutal assault of circuit board soul, blistering beats and hip hop rancor, sugared with found funk, jazz and reggae, Pretty Lights’ productions have it all. So how have they evaded the HC radar until now?
It was a disappointingly dank weekend for my my friend and brother to make a visitation. With his namesake ‘The Lodger’, V and myself making it a foursome we headed out to the Big Chill Bar on Bristol’s Small Street for a backroom boogie that introduced us, through Shazam or Soundhound or some such app (via a nameless but nevertheless memorable DJ), to both the Dirty Dubsters’ bowel-bothering ‘Big Tings!’ and the maverick electro-soul of Pretty Lights.
As it turns out, we were late to board that particular train. Across the pond, Coloradoan Derek Vincent Smith has been (not exactly quietly) tinkering away at a kind of heavy soul-sampling, techy-hip hop thing since the early noughties, so I’ve chanced upon a rich seam of undiscovered Haribo goodness lying patiently in wait – all boasting a seemly, Asimov-style imagery.
What’s more, Smith and his deserving entourage on the Pretty Lights Music imprint are all very much down with free downloading (albeit with clickable honesty boxes).
Typically Pretty Lights expertly applies dirty electro euphorics and squelchy, psuedo-dubstep malice to a wealth of deeply soulful vocal snippets, diced rap declarations. In the case of ‘I Can See It In Your Face’, we’re further treated to dub stylings at the door and a mournful Savoy-stomping horn or two on the way out.
It’s a mad old meld alright, making for a discombobulating barrage that builds and builds without capitulation, and evokes that exhilarating last few minutes before lights-up, when our weary foursome broke out of an increasingly constricted outpost by the fireplace upon the dancefloor proper.