Tag Archives: electronic

Pretty Lights @ CAMP (London)

11 Aug

For those of our readers the other side of the Atlantic, Pretty Lights is a reasonably well-known name on the electric music scene, inspired by a Pink Floyd concert poster that read “Come and watch the pretty lights!” A name able to command a festival crowd such as Coachella and Bonnaroo, and fill clubs. With his popularity soaring stateside he has turned his attention to the UK, something that got us all rather excited over here at Can You Hear This, as most of us are long term fans of Derek Vincent Smith, the man behind Pretty Lights. So you can imagine we had to seize the chance when invited to go to his gig at CAMP in London.

In a basement of the City Arts & Music Project, there is the throb of excitement and anticipation surrounding the arrival of Pretty Lights. I’m circled by a collection of people trickling in from the street outside. There is strong presence of young American fans, one rather loud and boisterous that assures me that “this is going to be awesome!” He’s a student from the states, who was a follower of Pretty Lights over there and like myself is seizing this chance to see him on the London music scene. He’s started telling me his life story almost relating it to the Colorado musician’s rise. By the time he’s explained how he’s currently living in Kensington, I’m watching a dance off between several other excited, avid followers. The atmosphere is far past buzzing and into some further state of anticipation.

Then the man himself walked up to the array of electronics on stage, hooded and ready to go. The room exploded. Derek Vincent Smith is a man who understands music. He seems to have a natural comprehension of how it works, and he doesn’t so much play the instrument but simply allows it to amplify the movements in his body. The sound is seamless, capturing the beat and the tune perfectly. Not a word has so far been sampled in his tracks and you are aware that you’ve been caught up in it all and swept along. There was no amazing light show that is often synonymous with Pretty Light shows, but there was no need.

As you can imagine and hear from much of Pretty Lights’ music, he takes inspiration from a very wide spectrum of sounds, sampling from all genres and doing so with flawless style. I would ask anyone to check out his tour dates and download his music (he notoriously gives it out for free on his website) because if the show here in London was anything to go by, the UK will be taken by storm by this young artist.


Holidays (Miami Horror & Cassian Remix) – Miami Horror

30 Jul

Here’s an awesome awesome awesome (that’s right) remix of Miami Horror’s already brilliant song Holidays. Cassian joined in and made this one an excellent summer jam. I recommend this on a long car journey or road trip. It will definitely make the time pass faster and put you in an great mood:

Hope you’re all having a great summer!

Believer – John Maus

22 Jul

American composer John Maus has a huge repertoire of underground releases from the beginning of his career in music. However, I’d like to focus on the closing track from his latest LP, entitled We Must Become The Pitiless Censors of Ourselves. Quite a mouthful, I know, but just sit back, relax, and let Believer charm your ears.

I dare you to find chiming more sugary than that. The synths in this are gorgeous, and when they’re paired with a constant, punchy bassline and echoing vocals such as these, you just really hit the jackpot. The video that goes with it is pretty cool also. It’s very… colorful.

Midnight City – M83

21 Jul

French musician and dream pop guru Anthony Gonzalez (stage name M83) just yesterday released the single Midnight City from his upcoming album Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming. M83 (named after a galaxy. Can’t get much cooler) look set to tour the United States in October to promote the new album. Take a listen to this beauty:

How’s that for awesome? M83 is, in my opinion, one of the kings of electro. If this song resembles the album in any way, then there is serious reason to get excited. There is even a saxophone on this track. What more could you ask for? A free download? Oh okay, here’s an answer to your prayers, as they’ve given it away for free off of their website.

Cannons – Youth Lagoon

14 Jul

Youth Lagoon (aka Trevor Powers) has shot into the spotlight after releasing two amazing tracks on his bandcamp page. Both July and Cannons are available to download for free. I have chosen to write about Cannons mainly because it was the first song of the two that I heard, and fell in love with. Ladies and gentlemen, this is beautiful, soaring electronic at its absolute finest:

The harmonies in this are beautiful, not to mention the actual melody itself. If you listen, you can almost hear it shimmer. This song is bursting with the sunny days and late-light nights of summer, and I will definitely be playing it over the next few months. Head on over here to download Cannons absolutely free of charge.

Half Light – Athlete

7 Jul

If you know Athlete, you probably know them for their utterly beautiful song Wires, which propelled the band’s second album, Tourist, to number one in the UK Album Charts after just a week. That song is was inspired when lead singer Joel Pott’s newborn baby was rushed to intensive care after a premature birth. Because of the colossal success of Wires, a lot of their other music has been outshone, and that’s why I’m here today to introduce you to Half Light:

Really love this song. It has so many different aspects, and I feel like it’s traditional rock but with a more electro twist. Tourist was really a great album, and I’d recommend going and buying the whole thing, because it’s one of those CDs where every song is strong.

You Know What I Mean – Cults

2 Jul

My apologies for the absence over the last couple of days. School has just finished, and so I was busy clearing up a few things before it all ended. The others have been doing the same (Michael has somehow managed to jet off to New York while missing school in the process).  Anyway, lets get back on track with a really nice Cults track called You Know What I Mean:

It’s very chilled out and really nice to relax to. A regulated bassline that manages to peek through the backing works really well, as do the short but sweet climaxes on the chorus. I have started to really like Cults and will definitely look out for them in the future.

Beautiful Youth – The Mouse That Ate The Cat

17 Jun
This is cartoon - they don't actually look like this

This is cartoon - they don't actually look like this

The Mouse That Ate The Cat, conveniently shortened to TMTATC (admittedly forced by Facebook who wouldn’t allow the long version!), are an electronic duo from the outskirts of Glasgow. Made up of Colin Keenan of Drive-by Argument and Brian Henderson of The Dykeenies. I’ll pause while that sinks in. Brian Henderson fronts the Dykeenies, a band which after only a quick search you will realise I’m quite fond of. You’ll also see that I’ve been wondering what they’ve all been doing and clearly this it. Thankfully this has been a long way from a waste of time.

The Dykeenies may have a second album all ready to go later this year but that doesn’t mean TMTATC should fade from our minds. The duo look set to tour across the country this summer and with a very good repertoire of songs already, I sincerely hope that this side project is one that goes on for a good while. My favourite of all the songs you can find on the web is unquestionably Beautiful Youth. Why? Because it just sounds like The Dykeenies. Don’t get me wrong I like it for other reasons, the dark lyrical content and the well placed synth but hearing Henderson’s vocals takes me right back to 2007. If you’re not a regular reader, 2007 was the zenith of music for me, so…

River – Hiatus & Shura

10 Jun

Here’s another gem from one guy in particular who I just cannot get enough of. Hiatus has gotten together with Shura and cranked out River, an ambient and softly beautiful track that builds over a period of time. The song is part of a collaborative EP that quite frankly, I am chomping at the bit to listen to. 

These two are just such a great team. As per usual, Hiatus orchestrates an irresistible backing that I would listen to and enjoy even without any vocals. However, Shura’s vocals are an absolutely awesome inclusion. Her voice matches the tone of the song beautifully, and it’s really interesting to hear the combination of the two artists’ work. Get ready for that EP! The video is below, and if you still can’t get enough, click here to see a live performance of the song.

Say Yes (Kahn Remix) – Floetry

29 May

Here’s a relaxing track for a Sunday. Kahn’s remix of Floetry’s Say Yes is a 5 minute masterpiece. The track starts to really get going after about 30 seconds, and then starts to get REALLY nice after about a minute and a half. Well worth the wait in my opinion.

Another great thing about this song is that you can download it absolutely free of charge by clicking here. So just put it on… And drift off…