Derek Vincent Smith, aka Pretty Lights, is a force to be reckoned with. As one of the most recognizable artists in the electronic scene, he has taken the music industry by storm. A unique electro soul sound crafted from years of musicianship, Derek has taken it to the next level. Derek has grown from his roots of collaboration; he started producing music early on via Listen, a project imagined with Michal Menert and Corey Eberhard. Since then he has grown on his own to create a unique sound. Recently, Pretty Lights has been touring with some of the most renowned names in the industry to form the Analog Future band. The name is fitting; the immense amount of live instrumentation on stage opens the eyes of the audience to the craftsmanship, technicality and skill put into every last track, note and detail. This dynamic force is composed of the man himself, Derek, along with Adam Deitch (Lettuce and Break Science) on drums, Borahm Lee (Break Science) on Fender Rhodes, Farfisa, and Prophet, Brian Coogan (co-producer of A Color Map of the Sun) on Hammond, Clavinet and Wurlitzer, Eric Bloom (Shady Horns and Lettuce) coming in with the trumpet and flugel horn, and finally, Scott Flynn (Elephant Wrecking Ball) on trombone. All of that raw talent, combined with a world-class light design by Lazer Shark, provides a multi-dimensional experience unlike any other.
Telluride was truly something to behold. Music lovers far and wide congregated for the event, driving hours through gorgeously indescribable scenery to the remote wonderland of Telluride. Home to the world’s best Bluegrass and Jazz festivals, expectations were high… but sure to be met. Attendees gathered at the top of the ski lift, excited clamor filling the air. The gondolas glided past endless rows of lush green trees as far as the eye could see, the anticipation building. As each gondola finally arrived to the bottom of the lift, gleeful cheers of friends new and old broke out. Finally, a short walk through the quaint little ski town brought you to the entrance. The stage setup was spectacular. Tucked away in the basin of Telluride’s phenomenal mountain ranges, two large flat screen displays surrounded an enormous stage with a top of the line light show. The lasers bounced off faces of the mountains surrounding the crowd, as if they were dancing right along with the rest of us; no matter where you looked, there was a spectacular sight to take in.
Night one was full of throwbacks. Derek kicked off the first set with Gold Coast Hustle, getting everyone pumped up slow and steady. Shoulders rocked side to side, swaying to the fresh beats, with verses from Kanye West’s Get Em High added in. The band transitioned into Press Pause, off of A Color Map of the Sun. With all the added instrumentation and horns, the mellow, haunting tune sent chills through the audience. Kicking it up a notch, the Analog Future band went on to So Gangster, then back into A Color Map with Color Of My Soul. Next, If I Could Feel Again took us back. The ambient mood continued with Lonesome Street, and rather than feeling alone, the audience was bound together at the nostalgia of these songs off Passing By Behind Your Eyes. Next, the band busted out some newer sounds with Whitness, Eric and Scott going crazy on the horns. Things got real funky with You Get High. Derek and crew showed us some love with If I Gave You My Love, the high-tempo groove infecting everyone’s souls. The crowd gave that love right back, the excitement and emotion in the song tangible. Finally, the Analog Future band wrapped up the first half of the night by jumping into Forever Lost into a finale.
Set 2 threw it way back with Listen’s Laserbox, the eerie, other-worldy synths blasting us off into a beach in outer space. Derek’s roots shined through brilliantly. The rarity of this set was kept up with Exodus, a unique reggae sound bouncing off the faces of the mountain. The band threw back another older track with Keep Em Bouncin’. The hip-hop-reggae feel of the previous track transitioned perfectly into this more amped-up track. The vibes became a little bit more downtempo with City of One, and the band really jammed out at the end of the track, putting an Analog Future spin on it. Telluride got real intimate with Future Blind, the chilling vocals resonating through the air. This chilling aura was followed with Cold Feeling, into the Prophet remix. The band amped the crowd with some brand new stuff, a new jam debuted at Telluride, fittingly referred to as Telly Jam. Next, Talib Kweli was given some respect with Around the Block, jazzing it up at the end with a remix. The horns were lovin’ it, the pure passion of sound flowing from their gleaming metal instruments. The band jammed out for a while after the remix, then followed up with Gazing At The Glare into I Can See It In Your Face, repping some oldies but goodies. Then they came out with My Only Hope into Finally Moving, a seamless duo. Derek was feeling the vibe of the crowd, and invited everyone to sing along to the track. The biggest smiles you’ve ever seen broke out throughout the mountain basin, and everyone sang their little hearts out while Derek and the band grinned eagerly back at their audience. Don’t Cost Ya Nothing took it up a notch again, getting down into the disco groove. Finally, the night came to a close with One Day They’ll Know, a fitting close to a magical evening.
The Analog Future band followed the message of the previous night’s closing song by dropping another hint with Change Is Gonna Come, a sweet beginning to the second portion of this magical weekend. The bittersweet beginning of an end was signified with Day Is Gone, but nobody was ready to throw the towel in just. The dynamic flipped when the band busted out Opiuo’s remix of Done Wrong. An intergalactic crunchy sound blasted the crowd off to another planet, and the crowd burst out with their best dance moves. The band then transitioned into the OG version of Done Wrong, giving the original every bit of the regard it deserves. Keeping up with the theme of remixes, the band followed up with OG Still Night into Gramatik’s remix of the classic. Telluride was welcomed into the next level with these bangers. It couldn’t get any better, until by some miracle it did. The Analog Future band Rocked Our Souls with 9 whole minutes of Rocks My Soul. Truly a highlight of the weekend, the swaying of the crowd intensified as the band put their own twist on the rarity. Bump N Hustle kicked up the tempo, making everyone want to groove. A disco vibe was definitely not lacking in night two, as it was strong with this track. World Of Illusion propelled us back into another dimension, the synths and the horns transporting us to the line between imagination and reality. Hypnotized by the sound and the rhythm of the beat, Spell On You felt like a perfect transition. What happened next was truly incredible. Michal Menert sat in for Coogan, coming out for Try To Remember. Everything came full circle; Derek and Michal’s raw talent metamorphosed in front of us. Their beginnings together apparent, they reconnected on stage. Even though they have taken separate paths and now flourished into fruition with their own projects, both Analog Future band and Menert’s Big Band, the two clearly have a remaining connection that cannot be broken. This special moment filled Telluride’s basin with so much love. Their roots were certainly remembered. Next, the band got back into the remixes with SuperVision’s remix of Always All Ways and then back into the original again. To close off set one, Derek and crew threw it back again with the Pretty Lights remix of Pink Floyd’s Time. The band’s live production of this song added an indescribable, incredible aspect, truly an awe to behold for such a dynamic track. Time stood still, but the crowd certainly didn’t.
The past three sets were hard to top, but if anyone could accomplish that feat it would be the Analog Future band. They eased into it with a sexy intro flowing into So Much In The Dark. The horns in the beginning of this track really setting the mood for the night. Love encompassed the town in all directions, lasers illuminating the night skies. Hot Like A Million Tomorrow’s revved up the tempo, a drum and bass feel with the signature Pretty Lights aura. The band slowed it down for a second to intro Fly Away Another Day before bringing it back up again. Out Of Time brought the hip hop feel back out, transitioning into an interlude of the lyrics from Hot Like Sauce before banging out the full track. Rustified flowed perfectly, adding another bit of other-worldly atmosphere. My Other Love brought some funk into our lives, into So Bright with a sexy outro. After a breath or two, Understand Me Now slowed things down before bringing them back to the edge, back into another incredible outro. Total Sunday School Fascination compiled a remix of Pretty Lights favorites, before finessing into Finer Jam and jumping into some brand new unreleased material. The audience psyched as ever, Analog Future band impressed with Drift Away, a peaceful feeling washing over the mountain town. They brought us back to life again with a quick intro of More Important Than Michael Jackson into How We Do. Flow artists in the back were going wild, LED hoops and poi flying in all directions. Mixed with the vibrant lasers flooding the skies, it was a technicolor dream world. To begin the close of the most phenomenal weekend of Pretty Lights possibly in history, the Analog Future band signified the beginning of the end with The Time Has Come with an extended outro, Derek impressing on the bass. Just when everyone thought the end was near, and our hearts were breaking, the band busted out with Let’s Get Busy with an extended intro. Arms flew in the air, the bass infecting deep in everyone’s souls. The original version flowed into heRobust’s remix. To conclude, the Analog Future band finished off with Yellow Bird ft. Nas, a serene and powerful close to an unbelievable set. The crowd cheered, begging for more. You ask, and you shall receive. We Must Go On appeased the masses. Friends and lovers turned to each other, greeting each other with warm embraces. The smiles were impossible to dim, tears even flowed from the faces of a few. The band thanked their fans for the weekend of a lifetime, and as if the close of an impossible dream, the lights subdued, and the faces of the crowd were left in awe and astonishment. Drifting on a cloud, the sleepless night dwellers made their way back to their campsites, off to dream of those lasers and beautiful sounds filling the skies once again.
For our full gallery of pictures from Telluride click below:
Click below to hear live audio from both nights of Telluride:
Article written by Hanna Danecker