Filling up the city skies with righteous grooves
March 31, 2009 3:39 PM   Subscribe

Four Hours of Free Funkiness Filter: Pretty Lights

Derek Vincent Smith is a DJ with quite mad skills who weaves funky masterpieces of chill-hiphop-electronica. But, really, I can't say it any better than Kyle at Aurgasm (where I found this):
Organic, soulful, electronified and good-feeling vibes, freely shared by Colorado producer Derek Vincent Smith. Nearly four hours of this Pretty Lights sound is available for free on his website. It’s a vivid collage of continuity, enriched with robust beats, eloquently laced vocal samples that range from nostalgic to serene, both compelling and entertaining, with a diverse selection of instruments all aimed towards enjoyment.
posted by jammy (20 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
I'm listening to a cut on the myspace page, "Can't Stop Us Now," and it's sorta generic (down to the name). Is there a better cut I should listen to?
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 3:52 PM on March 31, 2009

I'm guessing these are original works - otherwise, he couldn't sell mixes on iTunes.

Thanks for giving me a venue to post hours of mixes from 1996-2002 from DJ Ellis Dee. He describes his mixes on the tapes page. Sadly, no tracklists here either, but he does have a rave safety handbook, subtitled "How much do you love raving?"
posted by filthy light thief at 3:56 PM on March 31, 2009 [2 favorites]

"Finally Moving" seems to have the same genericity problem - and also appears to use much the same beat and drum kit as the previous one. I skimmed some of the others... bland, "adult contemporary" stuff.

I do like this genre to some extent - for example, the venerable DJ Shadow is quite listenable - but this isn't a standout.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 3:58 PM on March 31, 2009

(On preview: DJ Ellis Dee is very cool!)
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 4:01 PM on March 31, 2009

If this post happens to fade away, I might dig around more and try to make a FPP of DJ Ellis Dee. I was given a copy of his Acidfest mix back in 1997, and it was one of the two tapes I wore out in my High School days (the other was Bjork's "Post"). I came across his site when looking up the tracklist for that, as I still have snippets of the songs play in my head from time to time.
posted by filthy light thief at 4:14 PM on March 31, 2009

lupus_yonderboy: sorry you're underwhelmed - have you tried listening to Solamente at Aurgasm? i love that cut...

if not, chacun à son goût...
posted by jammy at 5:00 PM on March 31, 2009

HOLY FUCKING SHIT THANK YOU FOR POSTING THIS. I've been looking for some Pretty Lights ever since a friend played me some of their stuff, to no avail. I'm totally ecstatic right now.
posted by baphomet at 5:51 PM on March 31, 2009

Thanks, Jammy! I like Solamente somewhat better... but it's still sort of soft.

I should add that I hear an awful lot of music like this, and am happy to. It's a nice genre and particularly when I'm out, I'm happy to hear melodic music like this. De gustibus etc.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 5:52 PM on March 31, 2009

If this post happens to fade away...

i'm gonna tell you how it's gonna be
you're gonna give your mix to me
i'm gonna download night and day
you know my post will not fade away
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:57 PM on March 31, 2009 [1 favorite]

I've just listened to the six tracks on the Pretty Lights MySpace page, and I'd say it's very nicely done dance music. If I had a few drinks in me (or, whatever) and I was on the dance floor I'd probably love the hell out of it for a couple of hours. Beyond that, I guess it could serve as reasonably pleasant background music, were I in a certain mood, but in fact I almost never use music as a "background", so I wouldn't be doing much of that. Now, what I wonder is, are their lots of folks who really listen to this music? And find it an interesting, satisfying, soul-nourishing musical experience? Cause this kind of thing certainly can't do that for me. Not even close. The formulaic regularity of it, the predictability of its layering, build-ups, breakdowns, de-layering, and most of all, that by-now-very-tired repetition (ad nauseum) of one or two sampled vocal phrases... Well, of course, it'd dance music, and like I said, if I were on the dance floor...

And hey, it's a whole lot better than (though perhaps not as entertaining as) the Pretty Flowers.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:29 PM on March 31, 2009

their = there
it'd = it's
Pretty Flowers = Pretty Flowers

posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:35 PM on March 31, 2009

Now, what I wonder is, are their lots of folks who really listen to this music? And find it an interesting, satisfying, soul-nourishing musical experience?

umm... yeah, flapjax, that would be me... sorry to have cluttered up the superlative MeFi vibe with such pedestrian rubbish - don't worry, it won't happen again


(thanks, baphomet - i'm glad you liked it)
posted by jammy at 6:58 PM on March 31, 2009

No need for the "yeesh", jammy. I was just asking, and I appreciate your answer. You enjoy this as a purely listening experience? Great! I don't consider you "pedestrian", or beneath me, or beneath some sort of imagined "superlative MeFi vibe", simply because your tastes might be different than mine, or different from every single MeFier who walks the earth.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:16 PM on March 31, 2009

I like!
posted by dabcad at 1:14 AM on April 1, 2009

So are there two DJ Ellis Dee's? I'm familiar with this guy from the late 80's/early 90's, but he appears to be a different DJ Ellis Dee to this one from California.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 2:46 AM on April 1, 2009

Oh and my 2c on the listening to dance music thing:

Dance music has always been my preferred genre to listen to, whether it be the ancient scratchy stuff of the sixties with its tendency to list particular dances ("Can you mashed potato? Do the alligator!") through the disco of the seventies and early eighties, the baleric and acid stuff of the late 80's and the jungle/drum and bass of the mid-90's and beyond.

It's rarely sophisticated music, and that's largely the point, but it does more, in my opinion, than simply makes you want to move your feet when you've consumed your favourite intoxicant. The very best of it is a celebration of life, love and the human spirit, and I tend to love the ways in which it undercuts or subverts the music that other people might regard as more 'serious' or 'nourishing'. Personally, I can't think of records that are more nourishing than cuts like, oh, Jackie Lee's The Duck, Sylvester's Mighty Real, First Choice, Let No Man Put Asunder, Derrick May's Strings of Life, Alison Limerick's Where Love Lives or Goldie Inner City Life.

I've not kept up with the latest stuff, not everything is as great as the really great cuts, and it's always been a singles based medium but when dance music is good, it's better than everything else IMO.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 3:17 AM on April 1, 2009 [3 favorites]

Peter - those are great! thanks for posting them - i bet you would like The Clapping Song

for those less thrilled with Pretty Lights try checking out Cherry Funk - hours of free funky mixes in a more classic vein (i.e. less multilayered samples, more straightforward songs)
posted by jammy at 5:13 AM on April 1, 2009

Shirley Ellis's The Clapping Song was the first record I ever heard on pirate station Radio Caroline when I was a kid.

Loved it then, love it still.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 5:18 AM on April 1, 2009

This is good stuff.

Although, I think DJ/Rupture is more interesting.
posted by HumanComplex at 10:54 AM on April 2, 2009

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