Following hot on the heels of TC's decidedly lukewarm Watch The Ride compilation, Welsh drum & bass supremo High Contrast steps up to the plates to see if he can give back the buzz kick-started by hip hop aficionados, The Scratch Perverts, and fellow junglist-cum-breaks maestro, DJ Zinc, at the beginning of this new-ish Harmless series.
Those who know HC - a stalwart of the Hospital Records stable - or have at least heard his True Colour and Tough Guys Don't Dance albums, will know what to expect from this mix: a deep, spectral take on d 'n' b with a bias towards uplifting sounds and a deliberate avoidance of anything too jack-hammery and tech-edged.
Sure enough he gets things off to a euphoric start with a trio of party tunes, namely his own Oldskool Revenge remix of Axwell's Found You, Mitsabishi's She Lied and Agent Alvin's reggae-inflected Wicked Man.
These scene-setters pave the way for an emotive and deceptively diverse journey, as HC digs deep into his vocal vaults and springs free Matrix & Futurebound's Family and the Brookes Brothers' Open Your Eyes, (a catchy little number that uses the same Bobby Caldwell sample as Common's hip hop anthem, The Light).
The mix gets shadier with Commix's mix of Rufge Kru's Is This Real, Lynx's Disco Dodo and Coolhand Flex's Must Feel, and also explores a bit of nostalgia via Blame's appositely titled Hindsight, before exploding into vivid colour again with In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida (one of HC's own), Matrix & Futurebound's remix of Nu:Tone's System (featuring Natalie Williams) and Chase & Status' rollicking Hurt You.
Dropping the tempo and the vibe a little with his own Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, Monsieur Contrast builds things up again for a grand finale that includes EZ Roller's Devil To Pay, Danny Byrd's retro-junglist Shock Out and - the denouement- his own classic, If We Ever.
While not the most risqué or groundbreaking mix around, there's rarely a dull moment here, and it helps reinstate both HC's rep as a capable DJ and Watch The Ride's rep as a decent series, tailor-made for urbanite floor-wreckers. --Paul Sullivan
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