A Color Map of the Sun

It's been nearly three years since Pretty Lights – Denver hip-hop producer and EDM-festival star Derek Vincent Smith – issued a new record, instead concentrating on his ultra-opulent­ live show. But his newest makes up for lost time: two hours of surprisingly consistent stoner jams with congruent but very different halves. Disc One plays like bubblegum DJ Shadow: penetrating psych funk with the occasional corny touch (Talib Kweli sleepwalks through "Around the Block"). Smith constructed these from vinyl pressings of live-band grooves he'd composed, and Disc Two is the grooves themselves – which have even more weight and resonance when left alone.

From The Archives Issue 1186: July 4, 2013