Producer Paul Basic released his debut EP “The Mirror” on Tuesday off the budding Pretty Lights Music label. Hailing from Colorado, one of today’s popular electronic music scenes (where PLM is headquartered), Basic’s first effort focuses on high energy electro hip-hop instrumentals sprinkled with manipulated samples. Packed with dynamic beats, gritty bass lines, sequenced synths and arpeggios, this 8 song, 27-minute album will keep your head bobbing and foot tapping. The first sample I recognized was in “Daydream.” Basic takes the chorus and violins (title too) from Belgian band Wallace Collection, a track also sampled by Lupe Fiasco. While this tune isn’t necessary dub-step by definition, it utilizes the standard wobbly, metallic bass lines frequented in the genre today.
The song “Cops” seems like an electronic take on Pink Floyd’s “Welcome to the Machine.” Hearing the familiar atmospheric pads, strummed guitar chords and harmonizing synth parts highlighted the feeling of drifting away to a faraway place, fueled by heavy bass and hip-hop rhythms.
One of my favorite tracks, “Jaded,” cohesively meshes high and lo-end layers with a nice touch of filter and added build ups. It’s an up-tempo tune suitable for a party or night time driving. Another strong composition from the EP is “Daylit”, showcasing Basic’s classic influences. This bright, mellow track is riddled with piano and guitar snippets sampled over a crunchy synthesizer and simple hip-hop beat.
Overall Basic’s drumming roots, production skills and early rock influences shine through on “The Mirror.” Although it’s an EP, it flows seamlessly like a mix-tape and is free for download off the Pretty Lights Music Label’s website. In addition to Basic’s debut, other talented up and coming producers such as Paper Diamond (Alex B, former bassist of Pnuma Trio) and Break Science (drummer Adam Deitch’s new project) are available for free as well. The PLM label was created by Derek Smith, the mastermind behind national touring sensation Pretty Lights, a festival favorite who gained popularity by giving music lovers his material for free. He continues to follow this free promotion model that worked for him in order to expose the newly signed artists of Pretty Lights Music. Keep on eye out for these guys as they embark on a PLM showcase tour this fall.