Record Review - 3 July 31 2002

Not since Goldie’s Timeless in 1995 has a drum ‘n’ bass artist gained notoriety so quickly based on his debut. Looking back to move forward, Lincoln “High Contrast” Barrett’s True Colors is a collection of a consistency that lives up to his moniker, contrasting his jazz, disco and diva-inflected tracks with the dark, techy steppers so popular for so long.

After releasing tracks on the U.K.’s Hospital label — home to equally respected double-bass outfit London Elektricity and New York’s deep house-influenced Mathematics crew — High Contrast was snatched up stateside by Breakbeat Science, setting up another contrast: The Breakbeat Science crew — Dara, dB, Reid Speed, etc. — have never fallen prey to the prevailing (gloomy) mood of the day, nor have they always championed as immediately melodic almost mellow as High Contrast’s. Harkening back to the mid-’90s, True Colors is an album that sits on the same shelf — or coffee table, as the case may be — as LTJ Bukem, John B and Peshay’s best.

Yet several of the previously released tracks on True Colors have been peak anthems, making High Contrast one of those rare producers to successfully fuse the gap between ruff beats and smooth samples. __-- TONY WARE

__ High Contrast spins at eleven50 Thurs., Aug. 1.