[Listen] Pretty Lights Releases Improvised “Flips” Playlist From 2016 Tour
Pretty Lights just released a YouTube playlist of what he calls “flips,” and it’s one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen as an electronic music fan.
Ever the innovator, Pretty Lights’ music and craft has constantly evolved over the years. He has experimented with rare and unique instruments, with his method of sampling for creating albums, and in 2016 traversed the country when he designed his own “episodic tour,” a hybrid between a festival and a standard tour. Though his origins are as a solo act, Derek Vincent Smith – the man behind Pretty Lights – has for the past year or so been touring with a full band called Pretty Lights Live. One problem Derek wanted to tackle with Pretty Lights Live was how to combine an electronic, produced sound with the fun, improvisational nature of having a band of a jam band. The results were the “flips.”
As he explained in a recent interview, electronic artists that add live instrumentation typically just have the instruments play on top of the produced track. Derek wanted to go beyond that. During their 2016 performances, the band would begin to play as normal. When a “flip” was signaled, each band member knew to switch to an electronic version of their instrument. Synthesizers instead of keyboards, electronic kick and snare instead of standard drums, etc. Derek would slowly fade out the produced track, and the band would improvise using their electronic instruments. What resulted was a sound that maintained the integrity of the electronic nature of the music, but that still utilized the talents of the musicians and added a unique spin to the Pretty Lights catalog.
The YouTube flips playlist consists of 31 flips from 2016’s tour. They are a delight to listen to whether you’re familiar with Pretty Lights’ discography or not. Some are upbeat, some are haunting. Some are funky, some are glitchy. They are all a truly unique listening experience. Derek and the band are some of the best musicians working today, and it shows.
One of my favorite flips, to “Around the Block,” is below. But be sure to check out the whole flips playlist on YouTube. This is truly groundbreaking and I can’t wait to see where Pretty Lights Live goes from here.
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