There hasn't been an album that has excited me this much, this quickly in quite a while. Derek Smith, aka Pretty Lights, of Ft. Collins, CO, has quietly released one of the best of the year, Filling Up The City Skies. Not since DJ Shadow's Entroducing... has a producer/DJ created something so compelling that is compiled solely of loops, drum machines and samples. While Pretty Lights production style and feel is very similar to Shadow's he's not simply aping his style. He's taken the blueprint and added his own touch and flare to create something that is uniquely his own and filled with soul.
The album is a double album and both discs are filled with great songs, they are like fraternal twins: similar but different. The first disc serves as the foreplay and the second disc as the bedroom action--slightly faster, but, just as great.
While the first disc is great for sure, for my money the second disc is the best (or at least my favorite) of the set. It starts off with heavy, glitchy funk and doesn't let up until the last song. "How We Do," "Hot Like Sauce," "Who Loves Me" and "More Important Than Michael Jordan" may be the best four songs to begin any album, anywhere, any genre. What I find interesting are the choices of samples. They come from every musical variety, he isn't stuck into using samples from one particular genre, they come from soul, rock, rap and blues--old and new are mixed together. "Hot Like Sauce" alone contains vocal samples Big Boi from Outkast and Led Zeppelin mixed up together. It's only one of the bangers lined up one after another.
The best part of this album... it's free. If you love the style of Entroducing... or The Private Press then you will love Filling Up The City Skies just as much or more. But, don't just take my word for it, get it here. It's free, so what do you have to lose?