LAST YEAR, I attended the premiere of The Re:Generation Project, which followed DJs Pretty Lights, Mark Ronson, Skrillex, the Crystal Method, and DJ Premier as they collaborated with various artists to “re-imagine” traditional styles of music, from Motown to country.
Following the movie, Ken Jordan of the Crystal Method explained that they were all ultimately paying respect to common influences: “R&B, rock, it’s always been our inspiration. So we want to take this opportunity to show people that it all works together. The music we make, we never called anything. We call it electronic now, but it’s the music we come out with from all of these inspirations.”
Pretty Lights echoes this sentiment in this month’s cover story. “I viewed my style as sort of a collage of music of the last century brought together with techniques and production from the present, to create something new and fresh.” He takes this concept even further, however, on A Color Map of the Sun: For this record, he spent two years assembling groups of musicians in styles ranging from funk to soul to jazz, recording original material on vintage gear, to tape, pressing the recordings to vinyl, then meticulously layering these new “samples” into a work that can be best described as analog electronica.
Projects like this do more than pay tribute to their musical inspiration; by immersing in traditional methods, processes, their spirit of creation, they carry on the legacy in groundbreaking new ways. How do you express your musical influences? Tell us at ElectronicMusician@musicplayer.com.