Continuing an unbroken streak of rock-solid remixes, the mix kicks off with HC's take on 'I Found U' by Swedish house producer Axwell, speeding up the original's bright soul vocals and splashing them over a simple, playful beat reminiscent of past productions like 'The Basement Track' and 'In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida'. The sunshine's gone as soon as track two though, with Mistabishi's whiny 'She Lied.' Not a great track, but a good foundation for High Contrast to build dramatic structure. Tracks like Agent Alvin's 'Wicked Man' and the Nu:Tone & Logistics remix of 'Family' by Matrix & Futurebound featuring Robert Owens provide the rising action, before blasting off with The Brookes Brothers' spectacular 'Open Your Eyes'. You might recognize the heartstring-tuggin' vocal sample on this one: Bobby Caldwell's '70s soul song of the same name, which was also used for chorus in rapper Common's 'The Light' from 2000.
After a steady wind-down, the mix then restarts in the primordial, stagger-step bass of Lynx's smash 'Disco Dodo', coupled uniquely with the crystal-clear jungle breaks of Cool Hand Flex's 'Must Feel (Serum Remix)' from waaay back in 1994 (when High Contrast was just 15!). The mix's second half is packed with fellow Hospital Records' jocks Danny Byrd, Nu:Tone, Blame and the best of the bunch, Logistics, whose tranced-out 'No Words' also happens to be the strongest track off his new artist album.
Repping your labelmates is certainly to be expected, but as Hospital's MVP it's hardly obligatory for High Contrast anymore. Especially considering the label's market saturation, it'd be nice to see High Contrast use his status to start bringing up smaller labels like Spearhead or Creative Source, who have been putting out some great dnb tunes lately. Clocking out after just 62 minutes, he could've certainly made room for another Freytag's pyramid comprised of more off-the-radar stuff. Better yet, another disc—what with such a short running time and the Watch The Ride CDs printed to look like blank discs, it's hard not to feel a little short-changed here.
Maybe that's being too nit-picky, though, or too demanding. The mixing remains top-notch: unlike most dnb DJs, High Contrast has mastered the art of pinching off a track at exactly the right time without hurting the flow of the mix. It sounds simple enough, but there are enough bad dnb mixes with agonizingly long between-track segues to prove it's not as easy as all that. The track selection is consistently strong, too: even the biggest on-sight groan 'If We Ever' (its third consecutive Watch The Ride appearance) is given a fresh coat of paint as a quasi-mashup with Danny Byrd's old-school jungle throwback 'Shock Out.' So there's inventiveness to spare even if it is all over too soon. If you're a fan High Contrast's productions, mixing or both, don't let this motherfucker sleep.
Sun / 6 Apr 2008
01 Axwell - I Found You (High Contrast's Oldskool Revenge Mix)
02 Mistabishi - She Lied
03 Agent Alvin - Wicked Man
04 High Contrast - Sleepless
05 Zinc - Twelve
06 Telmo A - Between 2 Worlds
07 Matrix & Futurebound - Family (Nu:Tone & Logistics Remix)
08 Brookes Brothers - Open Your Eyes
09 Logistics - Daybreak Sequence
10 Rufige Kru - Is This Real (I'm Not Sure) (Commix Remix)
11 Lynx - Disco Dodo
12 Coolhand Flex - Must Feel (Serum Remix)
13 Blame - Hindsight
14 Matrix & Shimon - Slipstream
15 Danny Bryd - Labrynth
16 Brookes Brothers - F Zero
17 High Contrast - In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida
18 Nu:Tone feat. Natalie Williams - System (Matrix & Futurebound Remix)
19 Chase & Status - Hurt You
20 Logistics - No Words
21 High Contrast - Kiss Kiss Bang Bang
22 EZ Rollers - Devil To Pay
23 Bungle - 25th Floor (VIP)
24 Danny Byrd - Shock Out
25 High Contrast - If We Ever