High Contrast
Confidential


4.0
excellent

Review

by Daniel Incognito EMERITUS
May 6th, 2009 | 28 replies


Release Date: 2009 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A 2 disc album featuring Drum & Bass artist High Contrast at his best as both an artist and in song remixing.

As strong as the lineup on the Hospitality Records label is, few artists could pull off a ‘Best Of’ album in the Drum & Bass genre without looking a bit silly upon its release. Yet while certainly not in going with the trend, High Contrast comes out at the end of Confidential with his reputation very much in tact. The album covers the years from his Hospital Records debut in 2001 through to 2009. His full-length albums have for some people worn thin quickly due to a lack of variation across the album. Though that should not be taken as a knock on the sound itself, his energetic and animated approach has produced some stunning Drum & Bass anthems over the years.

The best of album format proves to be a nice solution to his past shortcomings, with the selection chosen providing a great overview of his whole career. As with most best of albums, it would be easy to nitpick over the song selection, focusing on the songs he failed to include. On the whole though, there are no glaring omissions. More importantly, the first disc captures a selection that proves strong enough to maintain the listener’s interest across the whole disc. To newcomers, the first disc of Confidential excels nicely in encapsulating his vibrant style of Drum & Bass.

Of more interest to existing fans is the second disc, a wild selection of song remixes. The chosen songs vary greatly, with songs ranging from his buddy London Elektricty to artists like Adele and Missy Elliott. In remixing artists wholly separate to the Drum & Bass genre, High Contrast succeeds immensely. Hometown Glory by British artist Adele sees a complete redecoration from its original slow and piano driven structure. Beautiful in its original format, High Contrast transforms it into a stuttering piece, the pitch of the vocals jittering as he kicks the song into gear. He gives Adele’s vocals great presence within the song, the drum and bass underlining the beautiful tone of her vocals. With great understanding of the content of the original version, High Contrast draws selectively from the song to create a piece that fulfills his own vision. With no discredit to the original, he really takes it and makes it his own. In this way the song reflects an incredible amount of skill on the part of High Contrast, and this is reflected throughout the second disc.

Even when taking on songs closer to home such as Omni Trio’s Renegade Snares, he shows a wonderful ability to draw on the essence the original in creating something totally his own. In This Feeling by Blue Sonix, he creates a high level of energy, the catchy vocal lines worked in over the action driving the song. Occasionally he misses, when remixing his buddy London Elektricity, he fails to really take hold of the song and give it a new content, nor create a new shine to it. More often than not though, the second disc delivers in taking his high-energy approach and the essence of other artists and creating an output that really does have a fascinating new spirit.

The conclusion is simple. For those unfamiliar with High Contrast, Confidential provides a fantastic overview of his best as an artist. To those familiar with him, the album is a worthy addition for the second disc alone. It provides a fantastic overview of a side many will be unfamiliar with, his talent in remixing. While his failure to adventure away from his signature sound has hurt his full length albums in the past, his remixes of artists such as Adele and The Streets do test the waters outside his comfort zone. Even if viewed as tentative steps, the utilization of new sounds does produce tantalizing results in the second disc. Fresh and lively, Confidential stands as some of the best Drum & Bass to come out in 2009.



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user ratings (22)
Chart.
3.6
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
poweroftheweez
May 6th 2009


1290 Comments


great review. I'm thinking I'll probably check this out.

kingsoby1
Emeritus
May 6th 2009


4950 Comments


will check out

StreetlightRock
Emeritus
May 6th 2009


3768 Comments


Oh this would be useful. I can never really get though an entire High Contrast album in one sitting, so I suppose I could just get rid of all my other high contrast albums and replace them with this. =D

Liberi Fatali
Emeritus
May 6th 2009


1588 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Oh this would be useful. I can never really get though an entire High Contrast album in one sitting, so I suppose I could just get rid of all my other high contrast albums and replace them with this. =D

Yup I would say so. After having this on my old Ipod video 30gb for one day I've decided that I may as well delete the rest of his stuff off there and just have this on it. Plus if you run into any High Contrast fans there is the added benefit of having his freshest tunes on there like the Adele remix. Which once again, is so so good.

Liberi Fatali
Emeritus
May 6th 2009


1588 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Here is a link to the Adele remix
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ozV_vWXZgZY

Also anybody who is a podcast nerd can check out Hospital Records Podcast #85 on itunes, which features a few songs off the album. Good listening.

illmitch
May 7th 2009


5429 Comments


im not very into drum n bass, but i love High Contrast and most everything on Hospital Records. excellent review!

HighandDriving
May 7th 2009


3288 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I've been meaning to get into D&B, is this a good place to start?

Liberi Fatali
Emeritus
May 7th 2009


1588 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Hard to tell as I can't really guess what style you will be into.

Probably best to start off in a couple directions. Might want to check out London Elektricity - Billion Dollar Gravy, and if you dig that then you will undoubtedly enjoy most stuff off the Hospital Records label (including High Contrast).

Otherwise you can start off with Pendulum - Hold Your Colour which is where most people start these days, and is quite an easy album for most to get into. I'd also recommend checking out Klute - The Emperor's New Clothes, which is a stunning album from a couple years ago and a great starting point for Drum & Bass.

StreetlightRock
Emeritus
May 7th 2009


3768 Comments


Just do some myspace sampling and get a feel for what you like, heres something I posted somewhere else:

http://www.myspace.com/evolintent
http://www.myspace.com/plumpdjs
http://www.myspace.com/highcontrastuk
http://www.myspace.com/londonelektricity
http://www.myspace.com/djnutone
http://www.myspace.com/stantonwarriors
http://www.myspace.com/soundpressurelevels

Skyler
May 7th 2009


1084 Comments


Could never really get into this style of dnb.

HighandDriving
May 7th 2009


3288 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Thanks negras.

defjaw83
May 8th 2009


1770 Comments


I've got all of his albums so first disc would be a bit of a waste of time for me. May get this for the remixes though

I've been meaning to get into D&B, is this a good place to start?


Very good place to start and also try Evol Intent and London Elektricity

Digging: Interpol - El Pintor

Liberi Fatali
Emeritus
May 8th 2009


1588 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I've got all of his albums so first disc would be a bit of a waste of time for me. May get this for the remixes though

Definitely, if you enjoyed his full albums you will enjoy the remixes.

defjaw83
May 15th 2009


1770 Comments


Kind of crazy how the Blue Orchid remix is not on this because that's one of my favourite remixes.

Guess he thought that everyone's a bit fed up of that due to it being overplayed when it came out... Hometown Glory is quality and kind of makes up for it thoughThis Message Edited On 05.15.09

Arucard
July 9th 2009


575 Comments


High Contrast would be good if he focused on his own productions instead of remixing top 40 hits.

OrganDonor
August 19th 2009


12 Comments


kiss kiss bang bang is pretty awesome.

clercqie
Contributing Reviewer
July 26th 2011


6450 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Although he's a fucking terrific remixer, I'd love to see him produce some original material again.

And his 2007 Essential Mix will always be the definite Contrast best of

Liberi Fatali
Emeritus
July 27th 2011


1588 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Although he's a fucking terrific reviewer, I'd love to see him produce some original material again.


Huh? I think you mean remixer??

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
July 27th 2011


31212 Comments


Haha

I agree though, he hasn't done anything since 'Tread Softly' last year. That I can think of anyway

Digging: LV and Joshua Idehen - Islands

Liberi Fatali
Emeritus
July 27th 2011


1588 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

And Tread Softly wasn't even a new release either.



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