A Color Map of the Sun, the fourth album from Derek Vincent Smith, was the first Pretty Lights album composed entirely by Smith. The result is a grooving LP anchored by thumping drums and dreamy soundscapes. By contrast, the companion record A Color Map of the Sun Remixes finds sixteen other artists radically overhauling his originals into something more impulsive and aggressive.
Remixes reworkings show how far Pretty Lights’ music can be stretched while retaining the core identity. See Datsik’s “Around the Block,” which keeps Talib Kweli‘s refrain but adds dubstep robotic rumbling and hard-hitting sound effects like alarms. The Two Fresh’s “All I’ve Ever Known” strips back the original’s thick layers, revealing the melody at the track’s core and making an already creepy song much more disturbing. Elliot Lipp’s “Sweet Song Life,” with its well-placed soaring synths, morphs Smith’s original from a dark murkiness to a sunny dance tune.