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  True Definition
by Sterling McGarvey

Does catching a world-reknowned producer just before breakfast yield positive results? Depends who it is. In this case, it happened to be Lincoln Barrett (aka High Contrast). Hailing from Cardiff, Wales, he is one of the hottest names in Drum n' Bass right now. With tracks such as "Return of Forever," "Make It Tonight," and "Global Love" rotating in tracklistings worldwide, his album, True Colours, has been released to an eager public, courtesy of Hospital Records and Breakbeat Science (in the US). Lunar got a chance to briefly speak with him during his stretch of the tour in Columbus, Ohio just before he was heading out of his hotel room to grab a bite.

Lincoln Barrett aka High ContrastLincoln began producing roughly four years ago in Cardiff. He studied piano and keyboard and has roughly eight years of musical theory under his belt. Having not listened to much Dance Music, he stumbled across a copy of Cubase and began sampling beats he found online. "The House beat never really got me going. I was looking for something that was a little bit stronger. I found it with Drum n' Bass," he says. The sounds that he was looking for came together within Drum n' Bass. "It just clicked. I liked the way you could use any sort of drum or any kind of bassline. You can touch on all sorts of styles within that one style."

He became part of Hospital Records' roster after Hospital founders London Elecktricity saw him spin in Cardiff. He gave them a demo, which wasn't quite what they were looking for, but his second CD has the track "Suddenly" on it, which was immediately signed to the label. However, only one of his early tracks besides that one has been released. "There's one track called 'Blue Muse,' which we ended up putting on Plastic Surgery 3, the mixed CD, as a bonus track. There are a couple of early tracks which I haven't come out with because I didn't really finish them."

Lincoln Barrett aka High ContrastHe cites Ennio Morricone and Quincy Jones as major influences outside of the realm of Dance Music. In terms of House production, he finds inspiration in "a lot of the old jacking stuff, the melodic tracks; I really like the classic Detroit (Techno) sounds, and producers like (Garage guru) Todd Edwards." Production-wise, he stays away from regional branding. While many people feel that American Drum n' Bass still hasn't caught up to it's British counterpart, Lincoln feels that the genre has moved beyond national borders. "It doesn't matter where it comes from; it doesn't affect the quality of the music. I think that the UK is obviously ahead in some respects (ie: dubplates and record releases), but it doesn't affect the quality of tracks."

When asked about the True Colours Tour, he replies, "It's been good. I'm getting to see a real cross-section of America (on the tour). I'm probably seeing more of America than most Americans get to," he says, chuckling. "Going from big cities like New York to smaller places like Phoenix has been really good. It's given me a lot of exposure to America."

Every year there is a producer or remixer who gets credited with it being "his/her year." In 2000, the name Timo Maas was ubiquitous. In 2002, people have been talking about High Contrast since the early parts of the year. However, he brushes it all off, saying, "I think I'm a pretty down to earth kind of person. I mean, it's really nice to hear my tracks played by other DJs, but I haven't let it get to my head."

Lincoln cites the Blade Runner Soundtrack, Goldie's Timeless, The Carpenter's Greatest Hits, and The Streets' Original Pirate Music among his Desert Island Five. However, the phone line was silent for nearly a minute around number five.

Still deciding?

"It could really go anywhere; I have such a broad taste range," he says, laughing. "I guess I'd have to be stuck between Carole King Tapestry and Wu-Tang Clan."

Finally, when asked about the name "High Contrast," he says, "I think it just describes my style. I go for a contrast of sounds; that's what I do. I'll bring in something dark and blend it with something light (sounding). I put things together that don't necessarily go together to make something different."

Be sure to check out Format—Atlanta's longest running monthly drum & bass event that features guests from the UK and across the country along with rotating local residents—on August 1st as Encore celebrate their one year anniversary with Lincoln, local talents and free giveaways!

Related links


True Colours from True Colours
by High Contrast

Disc 1:

  1. Return of Forever
  2. Music is Everything
  3. True Colors
  4. Global Love
  5. Exposť
  6. Passion
  7. Make It Tonight
  8. Remember When
  9. Savoir Faire
  10. Fools Gold
  11. Mermaid Scar
Disc: 2
  1. Music Is Everything
  2. Global Love
  3. Savoir Faire
  4. Suddenly
  5. Remember When
  6. Passion
  7. True Colors
  8. Mermaid Scar
  9. Return of Forever
  10. Exposť
  11. Full Intention
  12. Make It Tonight

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