Red Light Management


April 29, 2013

April 29, 2013 – Pretty Lights – the musical project of the electro soul hip-hop pioneer Derek Vincent Smith – will release a new studio album, entitled A Color Map of the Sun, on July 2. The two-CD collection will contain the 13-song album A Color Map of the Sun plus a second album, Live Studio Sessions From A Color Map of the Sun. Fans can pre-order the two-album set now in CD or digital formats at, where a vinyl edition of the 13-track A Color Map of the Sun is also available. See below for track listings.

“Around The Block,” the album’s first single is an uplifting, soulful, hip-hop throwback about appreciating the best moments in life featuring Talib Kweli. The video for “Around The Block” was directed by Anthony Dickenson (The xx, Groove Armada, Miike Snow).

A Color Map of the Sun – which takes its title from the writings of Isaac Newton – builds on the original Pretty Lights sound and style that Smith pioneered. He spent a year composing and recording music and vocals that emulated genres and time periods that spanned the last century, then pressed it to vinyl. He used that vinyl along with a custom built analog modular synth to create A Color Map of the Sun. The resulting album is analog electronica – soulful, electro hip-hop that pays respect to music’s immense power to touch listeners emotionally, kinetically and inspirationally.

“By putting together different groups of musicians on a daily basis, different bands were formed with the purpose of playing styles from funk, soul and jazz, to folk, rock and classical.  All the composition and sound design happened on the fly, in the moment, and with the single intention of creating amazing sounding music,” explains Smith. “I searched for vocalists that could take my lyrics and put their own incredible soul and emotion into them. I made beats for some of my favorite rappers in exchange for the ability to chop up the lyrics they wrote. It was a laborious yet immensely gratifying experiment that I could not be more proud of.”

A Color Map of the Sun was recorded in Brooklyn, New Orleans, at Pretty Lights’ studio in Denver and on the road in his tour bus studio. Break-beat extraordinaire, Adam Deitch, played drums throughout the album. Eric Krasno (Soulive) and members of the Harlem Gospel Choir joined Pretty Lights in the studio in Brooklyn while the New Orleans sessions featured several local legends, including Ben Jaffe (Preservation Hall Jazz Band) and the late “Uncle” Lionel Batiste (Treme Brass Band), who contributed vocals to “Yellow Bird.”

Live Studio Sessions From A Color Map of the Sun, the second album in the two-disc set, contains 13 tracks pulled straight off the vinyl acetates that Smith created to chop up and collage for A Color Map of The Sun. These are not demos or live versions of the songs that appear on the first album – they are songs with lives of their own. While they may travel some of the same terrain, they have different stories.

With such a unique and expansive recording process it was essential to capture the making of the album.  The footage was shot over two years in multiple cities where some part of the recording and producing process took place.  It will give viewers a unique and intimate look at the creation of the collection of work that is A Color Map of the Sun. The documentary will be released this summer.

A Color Map of the Sun is the first Pretty Lights album to be released physically and digitally simultaneously. As always, the album will be available in its entirety as a free download on the album’s release date via Since its conception in 2006, Pretty Lights has distributed more than 18 million album downloads at no cost to the fans.

”I made this music for everyone,” says Smith. “If someone can, I encourage them to purchase A Color Map of the Sun. If not…simply support by sharing the music and sharing the idea. 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.”

Pretty Lights will be performing songs from A Color Map of the Sun at the Coachella Music and Arts Festival this Sunday, April 21, and will also play many other festivals this summer, including Governors Ball, Bonnaroo, Electric Forest and Summerfest. See below for itinerary. Pretty Lights’ 2012 U.S. run, “The Illumination Tour,” elicited stellar reviews. “Smith wowed the crowd with his Crayola-colored set of lasers and his ever-present grin of pure joy as he danced along to his own tunes,” said SPIN while Rolling Stone called him “wildly unique and talented.”

CD #1: A Color Map of the Sun – Track Listing

  1. Color Of My Soul
  2. Press Pause
  3. Let’s Get Busy
  4. Around The Block
  5. Yellow Bird
  6. Go Down Sunshine
  7. So Bright
  8. Vibe Vendetta
  9. Done Wrong
  10. Prophet
  11. One Day They’ll Know
  12. Always All Ways
  13. My Only Hope

CD #2: Live Studio Sessions From A Color Map of the Sun – Track Listing

  1. Reel 15 Break 5
  2. Reel 5 Break 3
  3. Reel 9 Break 6
  4. Reel 11 Break 2
  5. Reel 6 Break 4
  6. Reel 8 Break 2
  7. Reel 18 Session 1
  8. Reel 17 Break 4
  9. Reel 4 Break 3
  10. Reel 12 Break 2
  11. Reel 6 Break 5
  12. Reel 3 Break 3
  13. Reel 7 Break 1

Vinyl: A Color Map of the Sun – Track Listing

Side A

  1. Color Of My Soul
  2. Press Pause
  3. Let’s Get Busy
  4. Around The Block

Side B

  1. Yellow Bird
  2. Go Down Sunshine
  3. So Bright

Side C

  1. Vibe Vendetta
  2. Done Wrong
  3. Prophet

Side D

  1. One Day They’ll Know
  2. Always All Ways
  3. My Only Hope


Pretty Lights – Upcoming Festival Dates

4/21 – Indio, CA @ Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival

6/7-9 – New York, NY @ Governors Ball Music Festival

6/8-9 – Baltimore, MD @ Moonrise Festival

6/13-16 – Manchester, TN @ Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival

6/26-30 – Milwaukee, WI @ Summerfest

6/27-30 – Rothbury, MI @ Electric Forest

6/28-29 – Kansas City, KS @ Kanrocksas Music Festival

7/18-21 – Thornville, OH @ All Good Music Festival

8/2 – Montreal, QC @ Osheaga Festival

8/3 – Toronto, ON @ VELO Music Festival

8/8-10 – Squamish, BC @ Squamish Festival