8:50am Thursday 2nd August 2012
By Robert James Owen
A PENARTH music star has emerged as one of the unsung heroes of the Olympic opening ceremony!
Danny Boyle may have taken the spoils as artistic director of the spectacular extravaganza - featuring an 18m-high Voldemort, a sky-diving Queen, and a speed-boat-driving David Beckham.
But local boy Lincoln Barrett - better known as world-famous drum and bass DJ and music producer High Contrast - supplied mixes for the 60-second countdown at the beginning of the show and for the athletes' parade, which he watched in the crowd at the Olympic Stadium.
The Penarth-raised DJ, son of humanist celebrant and former Assembly Member Lorraine Barrett, and rock'n'roll agent and former manager of Shakin’ Stevens and the Sunsets, Paul, was invited to get involved by techno supergroup Underworld.
Writing on his blog ‘Highly Contrasting’ he said: “Two and half months ago I got an incredible phone call from Rick Smith of Underworld. “I have been a huge fan of Underworld for many years and more recently had the honour of being musical collaborator with them. “It just so happened they were cooking up the biggest show on Earth - the London 2012 Olympic Opening Ceremony!”
The minute-long opening sequence was accompanied by a track off the former Stanwell student’s latest album, The Agony and the Ecstasy, called The Road Goes on Forever - and the mix for the athletes' parade involved several tracks he produced, along with several more remixes.
A billion people worldwide tuned in to see the spectacle.
The 32-year-old wrote on his blog: “I jumped at the chance to be involved and moved over to London for the duration, working relentlessly.
“3 Mills Studios in Bromley by Bow became my home, a film studio that was acting as the main space for opening ceremony planning and rehearsal and just a 15 minute walk from the stadium.
“There was music needed for the non-theatrical part of the show – the athletes' parade - and that’s where I came in. “After years of people telling me they listened to my music whilst running or in the gym, it seemed to make perfect sense!
“The parade has traditionally been the more dull part of the Opening Ceremony, and with so many countries to get through it can become a slog for the audience," he added. “We were keen that it should run a lot faster and the aim was to make it the best parade yet.
“The music needed to be driving but not relentless. Uplifting but not overwhelming. Consistent but not the same throughout. And it had to work not just for the athletes but for the 80,000 people in the stadium watching and the millions at home.
“It was a very specific brief, something as a lone drum and bass producer I’m not used to doing, but it was a wonderful challenge.” On the official CD of the opening ceremony ‘Isles of Wonder’, High Contrast is named 14 times.
“The enormity of what I was doing hadn’t really dawned on me,” he added.
“I was working on tunes on my iMac as I normally do, in my own little world. It was only when I visited the stadium that it really all hit me.”
And he was at the stadium again on Friday night for the ceremony.
“It was incredible to soak up the atmosphere and be involved with something so epic, with such a huge global audience," he said.
“It’s been an incredible experience.”
Mum Lorraine said: “I wasn't able to say anything previously as it was all top secret, but we’re very proud of him. This has been an amazing experience for him.”
For more information on High Contrast and to read more about his role in the Olympic Opening Ceremony visit www.highlycontrasting.com
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