Shapeshifting electronic musician and veteran performer Michal Menert has taken many musical roads in his long career, so it might not always be easy to know where to start. If you’re as intrigued as we are about Menert’s vast discography and numerous explorations into the worlds of nu jazz, electronic, and hip hop, then here are five things you should know before catching his show on Jan. 15 at Victory North.
He co-founded Derek Vincent Smith’s Pretty Lights
Derek Vincent Smith, otherwise known as Pretty Lights, has become known for making records with Rick Rubin and being a staple in the electronic community. Menert had a hand in the early days of that project, producing the first album and conceiving the project with Smith in the early 2000s. He left following that album to pursue his own musical endeavors full time.
Menert reunited with Smith a few years ago, playing together at a few shows that included a major gig at Red Rocks Amphitheater.
His latest releases are soundscape explorations
Menert’s last two releases, Slow Coast II & Slow Coast III, were inspired by living on the coast of Northern California. The EPs explore that vibe in a unique way that finds Menert creating captivating instrumentals. The musical pieces are sunny, groovy, and incredibly singular both melodically and sonically. Both releases stand out as important pieces in his body of work.
He’s had many different bands and projects
Among his many projects over the years, Menert has performed with backing bands like the Pretty Fantastics—with whom he’s headlined Red Rocks two times—as well as the Michal Menert Big Band. That project featured a startling 18-piece band, and played a variety of selections from Menert’s catalog.
He’s also been part of side projects like Half Color, and released the revelatory Space Jazz project in 2016.
Behind the scenes, he’s worked for Dead & Company
Menert has recently struck up an unlikely friendship and collaboration with Grateful Dead drummer Mickey Hart—with the two teaming up for Hart’s acclaimed RAMU album. He also joined Dead & Company on the road for several occasions, assisting with his famously monstrous percussion rig that used a whopping 48 inputs. He was also responsible for the sound design portion of Hart’s world on those tours.
He’ll be touring alongside Late Night Radio when he lands in Savannah
Menert, who was born in Poland but came up in Colorado, will be joined for his current string of dates by fellow Colorado act Late Night Radio. The project, led by Alex Medellin, similarly explores the boundaries of electronic, soul, and hip hop and has been a touring machine for quite some time. Medellin will be playing solo when he supports Menert at Victory North, and will also be joining Menert on a few other southeastern stops.