Written by Zach Fetters
High Contrast’s newest album, Night Gallery is a rolling field trip of an album chocked full of D’n’B in all flavours and varieties.
Never skips a beat (unless he means to), and never keeps to the same pattern, both technically and conceptually. Each track has a different feel, which is okay for a album that doesn’t claim to be a conceptual album, and all are produced in the same high quality that is to be expected from a Hospital Records prodigy that is High Contrast. His signature style of featuring soulful and gospel-like vocals in every creation with a high melodic focus that is dead-set on creating a feeling, not trying to showcase any particular production element.
Highlighting the dichotomy of emotions from the tracks in this album is Shotgun Mouthwash, a song that feels as if old 70’s-era punk rock tracks were reborn into a modern-day pseudo-rock banger of a tune. It’s everything I didn’t expect from High Contrast, even including his own vocals. However, on the opposite end of the spectrum is Save Somebody featuring Callum Beattie.
This track that reminds me of early 90’s Drum & Bass tracks with a subtle and slow ‘Amen’ break in the background and a dreamy, subdued bassline with primary focus on the vocals, but with a twinge of modern production value. It pays a respectful homage to the classic style of Drum and Bass, but still stays fresh and different without being a nostalgia-fest.
To further spotlight the differences in moods, The Beat Don’t Feel The Same featuring Boy Matthews is a track most heavily separated from the rest, mainly for the fact that it’s a disco-inspired, 4/4 beat, Indie Dance groovefest, something I didn’t really expect from High Contrast.
To make sure I don’t sound too praiseful, and to reveal any sort of criticism I have for this album, if I had to pick a track I enjoyed the least, it would have to be I’ll Get High. I understand that the intent is to purposely make the song sound crazy and unorganized to make an auditory metaphor to getting high, but I simply can’t “get into” it. It’s too unorganized for my liking and a stark contrast to the melodic undertones in the rest of the album.
Overall, if you’re looking for a conceptual album with a clear message, this one probably isn’t for you. However, if you’re looking for an album that isn’t too worried about delivering one overarching, obvious message, but instead wants to tell you a story on a song-by-song basis, then this album perfect for you. Groovy, subtle (at times), classic D’n’B production (but with many surprises), but oh-so good.
Night Gallery is one of High Contrast’s best works to date, and is a standout album this year in electronic music.
Listen to the album in full below: