This year marks the 20th anniversary of High Contrast‘s debut album ‘True Colours’ and to celebrate the heavyweight has enlisted some of the scene’s most promising talent to put their own spin on the originals he made 20 years ago.
To celebrate, a special 20th-anniversary edition of the LP will drop on vinyl on Record Store Day on 27th of May. June 24th will see the release of the full digital album featuring originals, remixes from the above, and even more killer reworks from the likes of Flava D, Marky, Winslow, Logistics, and more.
Big fans of High Contrast since (one of them even has a tattoo dedicated to him!), Pola & Bryson are undoubtedly two of the most exciting next-gen producers making moves in drum and bass of late. They’ve played the role of remixer to Moby, Wilkinson, and Camo & Krooked, as well as collaborated on an EP with the veteran DJ Marky. Now honored to do this for Lincoln, 20 years since its original release, the pair rework the already incredible release ‘Music Is Everything’ into a work of their own.
Words and photos by Pola & Bryson
Pola & Bryson
Intro The Approach
We’re both huge fans of High Contrast and being asked to remix one of the classics was a privilege. True Colours was a genuine turning point in Drum & Bass, giving it a stark dose of soul and Music Is Everything is one of the most head bopping-ly soulful numbers on the album. Despite the original having such an incredibly uplifting ‘summery’ feel to it, For the remix, we knew we had to bring a touch of energy to the track in the drums and the bass.
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We made a conscious effort to avoid bringing the original pianos into the remix project completely as they’re such a defining element of the original. This gave us more melodic freedom within the structure of our remix and for the iconic vocal to take the lead.
Dave Smith (Sequential) Prophet Rev2
We first got the prophet about 2 years ago, it’s been a game-changer and we’ve used it in pretty much every track since. It has quite a broad range of sounds that you can acquire out of it, from deep rich pads to distant melodic textures, but all with an organic sound and artifacts that you wouldn’t get with your average VST soft synth. We used about 4 or 5 instances of the prophet for the ravey stabs and pads sounds within our High Contrast remix.
We’ve been using Shimmer for a few years now, it can create some amazing atmospheric tails on pads, synths, vocals, and even percussion hits and bass stabs that can be bounced and resampled to create some incredibly unique and complex sounds. More recently we’ve found ourselves using it on our parallel bus channels and mixing the effect in and out of the track in places to create swelling tails.
Reason Studios: Pulveriser
Another go-to plugin for us, one that many have never even heard of, let alone used, is Pulveriser. Being Reason users, for many years we were reliant on the “in the box” instruments and effects included with the DAW due to its lack of VST support. Pulveriser was one of the last additions to be added before we had plugin support and swiftly became an irreplaceable tool.
It has its own distinct characteristic to its compressor, its distortion, and its filter and having all 3 of those in one tool is very handy. Being able to snap between different routing options between the 3 is also a great feature.
Cableguys: ShaperBox 2
ShaperBox 2 crops up frequently in a lot of our projects, as a precise tool for ducking and sidechaining but also as a creative rhythm tool. Adding it to a basic pad, synth line, vocal, or bass and scrolling through patches can birth waves of inspiration for new rhythmic elements within the track. The rhythm of the stabby synths from the Prophet in this remix was inspired by a pattern built within ShaperBox 2 using the level and noise tools.