By: Anand Harsh
Few artists in today's electronic and dance music scenes have backgrounds that read like screenplays. In fact, the day the Michal Menert biopic opens in theaters is the day half the beats and bass fans in the country simultaneously sigh "Finally."
Snuck out of the Soviet eastern bloc in the early 80's as a toddler, touring the country in live hip-hop outfits with Derek Vincent Smith, co-producing the first Pretty Lights album while simultaneously revolutionizing the free music model, before getting jumped, stabbed, and ending up in the hospital for months--we haven't even gotten to most of the Menert catalog we all know and love!
A central figure in the epicenter of the electro-soul movement, from his perch high atop the Mile High City, Menert now spends his days touring the country as the goodwill ambassador of bang-your-head-to-this-and-don't-stop-dancing-or-we'll-die beatsmithery, bringing smiles to the faces of his fans and leaving every ounce of sweat in his body on his MPC.
Having just jumped off the thrilling Pretty Lights Music Keepin It Crew tour with Paul Basic, Eliot Lipp, and SuperVision, he ran right into mixing down the Half Color album (his collab with Basic), and straight into rehearsals for the Michal Menert Big Band show, which brings his now 22-piece outfit to Denver, CO's Fillmore Auditorium this Friday, November 7th with Exmag, Mareclo Moxy, and Orchard Lounge.
To get us ready for the Big Band's arrangements of Menert classics, we decided to compile a list of our favorites, with much appreciated help from the Michal Menert Mafia who Tweeted and Facebooked their suggestions. Nay, demands.
We start with a classic from Michal Menert's debut album, Dreaming of a Bigger Life, the first official non-Pretty Lights release on Derek Vincent Smith's Pretty Lights Music label, which dropped during the summer of 2010. Electro-soul in its purest form, the hip-hop stylings and layered samples introduced PL fans to a new side of the old friends' signature sound.
9. The Keep On (with Paul Basic)
Michal Menert and Paul Brandt, better known as Paul Basic, have been buddies since school, and their collab project Half Color is close to getting another volume added to the collection. This standout from Menert's sophomore release, Even If It Isn't Right, shows you not just how well these guys know each other, but how well they work together, too.
8. Quiet Earth (with Mux Mool)
One of Menert's favorite partners in crime is beat music legend Mux Mool, who shared co-writing duties with the other double M on the former's second installment in the Elements series. Far from the mischievous antics of the Club Scouts, and now Super Best Records collaborators, "Quiet Earth" is a serious, brooding tune. Badass.