December 2, 2009

Live Review: Pretty Lights

La Zona Rosa // Austin, TX // Nov. 11, 2009

Pretty Lights is the moniker of electro music pioneer and producer Derek Vincent Smith of Denver. In live shows Smith pairs up with drummer Cory Eberhard, manifesting Smith’s innovation and Eberhard’s beats into the most infectious downtempo grooves on any given dance floor.

Pretty Lights has been selling out shows left and right since they hit the road in August playing to late night party people from coast to coast – most recently selling out a New Year’s party set to take Chicago into 2010. While La Zona Rosa wasn’t sold out, the crowd’s enthusiasm for the downtempo duo from Denver filled the place to the rafters.

Pretty Lights has one of the most dexterous sets on the electro music scene following their successful record, Filling Up The City Skies. Smith laced in new mixes at La Zona Rosa from the album Passing Behind Your Eyes – released in early October. “Fly Away Another Day” loops haunting piano over funky echoing effects that compliment Eberhard’s carefully placed dicey beats accentuated with plenty of resonant cymbals. “World of Illusion” is driven by Eberhard’s drums, then gives way to haunting falsetto vocal loops over a mix of synthed-out violin. It is an orchestral odyssey of incessantly danceable tracks that translates into a hell of a party live.

To compare this duo to an average DJ would be a misrepresentation – they don’t just spin, but create beats live and manipulate original sound loops via MLR. They have an innovative style that is emotive, inventive, stirring and can “Keep Em Bouncin” to all hours of the night – not to mention the lights they travel with are in fact pretty.

In addition to initiating a sound that keeps dance floors bumping without conforming to mainstream electronic style, Smith is also a pioneer in self-released music distribution. You can download any Pretty Lights album for free at

-Tara Lacey

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